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Allocations: legislation and guidance

This content applies to England

The key legislation regulating the allocation of social housing is contained in part 6 of the Housing Act 1996.

Part 6 of the Housing Act 1996 regulates the allocation of social rented housing by local authorities. Part 6 was amended by the Homelessness Act 2002, and, with effect from 18 June 2012, by the Localism Act 2011. The Localism Act gives local authorities greater power to decide which categories of person they will allocate accommodation to, see in particular the page Qualifying persons.

Code of Guidance

In the exercise of their functions local authorities must have regard to guidance issued by the Secretary of State. The current code of guidance on allocations, Allocation of accommodation: guidance for local housing authorities in England, was issued on 29 June 2012. 

Three additional statutory codes of guidance have been issued since then:

The three codes above replace the three codes of guidance previously in force, namely:

  • Allocation of Accommodation (2002)
  • Choice Based Lettings (2008)
  • Fair and flexible (2009), which had amended and partially replaced the 2002 and 2008 Codes.


The information on this page applies only to England. Go to Shelter Cymru for information relating to Wales.

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