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Relaxing rules restricting children living above ground floor

Comment 22nd July 2010

To relax the rules that prohibit families with young children from living in accommodation above the ground floor if they so desire to.

It could ease the duration of time spent on waiting lists for social housing with regards to overcrowding and help to sustain communities of similarity, as well as potentially provide more suitable living for children in many properties.

At present in many social housing areas, families with children under 10 years old are refused accomodation above the ground floor, thus massively limiting their options.

However, families / persons without children under 10 years are still have the option to live in those precious few ground floor properties – thus making demand extremely high and availability extremely low.

Relaxing this rule would enable many houses & gardens to be shared by several families with children and not just with other adults.

The reason for the rule at present is given as:

a) Health & Safety issues (due to potential falls one assumes).

and/or

b) Consideration towards the neighbours already living in the property.

It would seem that the Health & safety issue is there more for the defense of the Housing Associations in case they were sued, due to a fall down the stairs or out of an upstairs window rather than the welfare of the children, as surely sharing gardens with strange adults (an assumption) who are not CRB checked, is less safe than sharing with other young children & families?

This obviously doesnt matter if the stairs or windows are internal because the same rule does not apply to individual houses.

Housing associations have many 3+ bedroomed properties that they currently cannot allocate to families who desperately need them because of this rule, instead letting them out to people who do not need such an amount of space.

This is a waste of valuable resources. Housing associations are obliged to attempt to provide suitable housing, so having this extra choice for families would be a good thing.

This request to relax the rules is taking into consideration that some families do not want to live above ground floor, but for those who would choose this option it should be made available.

Why does this matter?

If this rule were to be relaxed families could choose to live above ground floor in properties with other young children.

Children could share communal / garden space. Parents could feel more secure knowing there were also other young parents around with similar social considerations.

Common anti-social problems with noise levels could potentially not be such an issue within the buildings. (e.g, kids playing making noise annoying neighbours, late parties keeping children awake, etc)

Housing associations could better allocate properties within buildings with regards to physical needs of space / bedrooms.

Its all based around the families right to choose living upstairs in a building that has everything else to offer – secure gardens, familiarity with immediate neighbours, similar agendas, potentially ideal living.

Families should be able to choose to not do this also. It should be about the families judgement call not the housing managers, or customer service agent, or housing officers choice.


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