CBL (Choice Based Letting) is a system used by some councils to allocate some of their housing to those on the social housing list. It involves applicants checking available properties online and expressing an interest in those that they wish to be considered for. Once applications close, the property will be offered to the applicant who has expressed interest and is on the housing list longest. Some counties use the scheme more than others.
Some people like the scheme and some are wary. Unless you have been told directly by the council that you must use the scheme, you will have the right to wait for other housing options to be offered to you if that’s what you prefer. However, you should be aware that if you do not use the CBL scheme, that this could result in you waiting longer to be allocated housing. I don’t know much of their housing Meath County Council allocate through the CBL scheme, but obviously if they allocate a significant amount of housing through CBL, then those properties will not be available for those who chose not to use it.
You should also be aware that the problem you have identified with CBL also exists with other housing that is offered by the council. It is not always possible to view a property before the council make an offer to you, and therefore it can be difficult to know whether to accept it or not. A property may look fine outside, but there may be some fundamental problems inside. All council properties are supposed to meet minimum standards, but unfortunately that is not always the case. And even if the property meets minimum standards, it may not be suitable for you or your family. It is a very difficult situation to find yourself in, especially if you have been waiting years to get to the top of the housing list and are offered property which you feel is not suitable. I would recommend that anyone who finds themselves in this position gets advice immediately.
If you refuse two offers within one year, you will be suspended from the housing list for 1 year. This can impact on your ability to access other housing supports. At least with the CBL system, you have the opportunity to express an interest in a property, and make some enquiries about the property before you do so and you have some control over the matter.
I would recommend to anyone interested in CBL to make detailed enquiries about the property from the council, but also from neighbours and others who might know about the condition of the housing before expressing an interest.
Richie MacRitchie is an information officer with Welfare Appeals, who provide information and representation on social welfare, housing, employment and other issues. Regular clinics are held in Russian language in the Larkin Unemployed Centre, North Strand Road, Dublin 3 and by zoom (Appointment is required)
For details, visit http://www.welfareappeals.ie/index.php/en/russian-info .
If you would like further information or help with their circumstances please phone 085 7630328 (Russian) or 083 4001658 (English) or email firstname.lastname@example.org