Citizens’ rights body intervenes to secure EU citizens’ access to local authority housing

Public bodies ,

The Independent Monitoring Authority for the Citizens’ Rights Agreements (IMA) has reached an early case resolution with Pembrokeshire County Council to ensure EU and EEA EFTA citizens with pre-settled or settled status continue to receive housing support by the local authority.

Earlier this year, the IMA received a complaint regarding Pembrokeshire County Council and how they were processing applications to join the housing waiting list.

The IMA was concerned that the council’s application process could pose widespread problems for EU and EEA EFTA citizens applying for social housing. Pembrokeshire County Council’s application of the regulations under the Withdrawal Agreement may have had the potential to adversely affect and discriminate against EU citizens within the UK who were applying to the council for access to housing.

As a result, pre-inquiry investigations were undertaken to seek clarity on these concerns. Pembrokeshire County Council was positive and approachable in its engagements with the IMA, and agreed in principle to introduce several changes to its application process, including;

  • updating the housing application form to include provision to include a share code or certificate of application;
  • changing the application form and supporting guidance specifically for applications from EU citizens under the new EU Settlement Scheme regime;
  • undertaking a review of its Allocations Policy as a result of the changes proposed in the housing application form;
  • confirming its ability to receive and check share codes and electronic evidence of certificates of application; and
  • facilitating training for staff involved in processing housing applications.

The IMA is pleased to establish the agreement in principle and bring about an early case resolution and will continue to monitor Pembrokeshire County Council’s compliance with these actions.

Pam Everett, Director of Operational Delivery at the IMA said:

“I am pleased that Pembrokeshire County Council has been cooperative in ensuring EU citizens continue to have the right to access housing support as part of the Withdrawal Agreement.

“I hope this cooperation will result in a positive difference to the lives of EU nationals living in Pembrokeshire, but also for other local authorities to learn from this intervention to ensure rights are upheld. The IMA will continue to work with all types of public bodies to help them understand their duties and ensure the effective implementation of citizens’ rights.”