Sunday, 24 January 2021

Questions are asked as Brent's key worker housing in Wembley Park opens for applications

 Still from Virtual Tour (see links below)

I've long been an advocate of key worker housing provision in the borough having seen young teachers forced to move out of Brent as soon as they start a family because they can't afford high local rents. I am sure the same applies to health workers police etc and the result is a loss of valuable staff and recruitment problems.

Developments in the borough did not include key worker housing and in the infamous Willesden Green Library case were marketed by agents (in Singapore!) with the selling point that buyers  DID NOT have to share with affordable or key worker tenants. LINK

I welcomed the news that Brent Council had purchased a block in the Wembley Park development from  Quintain for key worker housing despite a deal in which details were not readily available.  That housing is now open to applications.

However doubts have been expressed in emails to Wembley Matters about the affordability of the units to key workers as well as questions over inclusions and exclusions in the list of eligible workers. Why for example are some of the workers now seen as key in the face of the pandemic not included - refuse workers, delivery workers and those working in essential retail?

One correspondent pointed out a current Brent advertisement for Home Care Assistants well outside the income level needed. LINK

In order to assess the offer here are two tables for background:

Weekly council house rents under the current HRA budget proposals in consultation


London Mayor's definitions of affordable housing

The monthly rent for one bedroomed keyworker housing is £992 (including service charge) and the equivalent average council rent is £450. For two bedroomed keyworker housing the comparison is £1,122 and £519.30.

The London Housing Allowance (To calculate Housing benefit and the gap between that and local rents can be accessed here - just type in you post code) LINK

The Key Worker offer from Brent Council website LINK


Brent Council’s wholly owned housing company, i4B, has negotiated the purchase of a brand new apartment block in Wembley Park which will provide much-needed affordable accommodation for key workers across the borough and beyond. 


The building is due to open in January, and applications are now open for our 1- and 2-bed apartments for those that are eligible. 


Virtual tours

Please see the links below to go on a virtual tour of the apartments. These are best opened in Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge. Please note that not all apartments are the same layout or size.


Rent levels 

Monthly rent levels will be £992 for a 1-bed apartment and £1,122 for a 2-bed apartment. This includes service charge, but does not include bills such as electricity, broadband or water usage.


Eligibility criteria 


As part of the process, supporting information will need to be submitted to confirm the eligibly of tenants on the below areas. We will be carrying out independent verification and referencing checks to confirm the information provided. 


Key Worker Status 


At least one member of a household must be in a key worker post, and at least one eligible key worker must remain on the tenancy at all times.


The nomination policy, agreed by the Council and the i4B board, identifies two tiers of key worker roles. Tier 1 roles are the key worker roles that are most in demand for recruitment and retention. Tier two roles are key worker roles that are still in demand, but not to the same degree as tier one roles.


Applications from people in Tier 1 roles will be prioritised. However, if you are in a Tier 2 role you should still apply. 


Details of eligible key worker roles are below, the roles are listed in no particular order. 


 Tier 1

  • Qualified Social Worker (excluding ASYE)
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Educational Psychologist
  • Planner
  • Commissioning Employee (Adult Social Care)
  • Surveyor
  • IT Architect
  • Public Health Specialist
  • Specialist IT Engineer
  • Health Visitor
  • Nurses – Bands 5 and 6
  • Midwives at Band 6
  • Physiotherapist
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Speech and Language Therapist
  • Doctors in the following specialties:
    • Acute Medicine
    • Haematology
    • Pathology
    • Anaesthetics / Critical Care
    • Dermatology
    • Cardiology
    • Care of Elderly
    • Respiratory
    • Medicine

Tier 2

  • Armed Forces
  • Council/Government Staff
  • Fire Officers and Retained Fire Fighters
  • NHS Staff
  • Police Officers
  • Prison Service and Probation Service Staff
  • Social Worker
  • Teachers in schools, further education or sixth form colleges
  • Any other worker agreed in writing by the Council (this will be reviewed yearly to reflect the needs of the Council and the list will be published online) 


Contract Status

The key worker in the household must be employed on a permanent contract or be employed on a fixed term contract where:

  • They are due to remain in employment for a further 6 months from the date the tenancy is due to commence and;
  • The initial term of their contract was at least 12 months. 


Household Income 


The Key Worker Housing scheme is designed to provide accommodation to households who may otherwise have difficulties affording to rent in London. Therefore, household income limits have been set. Please note that this is based on household income i.e. the total annual income of all household members over 18, not the key workers annual income. 

  • To be eligible for a one bedroom property household income must not exceed £65k a year.
  • To be eligible for a two bedroom property household income must not exceed £90k a year.
  • Household income must also be a minimum of £31k. 




All household members must be either a British or EU/EEA citizen with a Settled Status by December 2020 or have indefinite leave to remain in the UK. 


Property Ownership


No household member can own or part own a property.

One eligible key worker must remain on the tenancy at all times


Before applying 


Make sure you have the below documents to hand as you will not be able to complete an application without them. 


You will also need to collect all of the below information for any household members who are over the age of 18:

  • Passport or documents proving an indefinite right to remain in the UK
  • You last 3 months payslip
  • Contract of Employment
  • Contact details for current landlord (if applicable)
  • Birth certificates for children under 18 


Please read the above information carefully on the eligibility criteria for the scheme and have the supporting documentation ready before starting your application.  




Pete Firmin said...

If I didn't know better I would think this a piss take. Surely we have learnt the value of many undervalued - and underpaid - workers during the pandemic. And they don't include such as planners and architects, but they do include delivery workers, refuse workers, supermarket workers. Very few of them would qualify with earnings sufficient for Brent's laughable "affordable" housing - with rents more than twice as high as council rents. We're told that 40% of Brent's residents can't even afford social/council rents, but Brent pretends it is addressing that problem with schemes like this. They ought to be embarrassed, but unfortunately they won't be, they will claim they are addressing the housing crisis. Far from it.

Anonymous said...

Well said Mr Firmin.

Anonymous said...

There will be many important key workers who if they are a single parent, or with only one partner working, will not earn the minimum requirement of £31k to qualify, even to apply for one of these homes.

But with rent at nearly £1k a month for a one bedroom flat, I suppose they would need to earn that much to be able to afford to live there. What a crazy world we are living in!!!