Fife Council said there are more than 15,500 applicants across all sectors of the housing register and a major imbalance between supply and demand. 

And John Mills, head of housing services, has suggested undertaking a review of the allocation system and putting more emphasis on allowing Fifers to make choices about their housing. 

The current policy was implemented almost two decades ago in 2006 and he argued it's time for an update. 

“The current pressures on the housing access system, coupled with the need to upgrade current IT systems, provides the environment for reviewing the policies and approaches to housing access,” he stated in a report. 

Allocation rules determine how applications for housing are prioritised.

There are two primary approaches local authorities use to allocate their properties – needs-based or Choice-Based Lettings (CBL). 

The first is the most frequently used in Scotland. Councils evaluate the needs of housing applicants then offer them a suitable property.

The fundamental premise behind choice-based allocations is that the applicant themselves takes the initiative in securing a property. 

“Landlords who use a choice-based approach tend to do so because they believe it offers greater choice for applicants and can help support tenancy sustainability,” his report explained. 

READ MORE: Fife Council is on the brink of declaring a housing emergency

Councillors on the Cabinet Committee unanimously agreed to create a cross-party task group tenant and resident engagement to review the housing allocations policy on Thursday. 

Labour councillor Judy Hamilton, the spokesperson for housing and building services, said it will act like a policy advisory group with a “clear focus” on looking at choice based allocations. 

Mr Mills explained that moving towards a choice based system would not eradicate a needs based approach to social housing. 

“We’re not suggesting that we replace the needs based system,” he said.  “What we’re suggesting is that we look at a different way of allocating properties.

"It’s a different way of allocating property that we’re talking about, not about the changing policy of the needs based systems.” 

According to Mr Mills, the key word behind the housing allocation review is simplicity for both housing applicants and housing staff alike.