John Medway

Who invented choice-based lettings? I stake my claim!


About me

Back in 1976, when I was even younger than I am now, I had a couple of articles published under the title Letting the unlettable in which I advocated a new approach to the allocation of council housing, including what I called a "property supermarket". The idea was primarily a response to growing concern about "hard-to-let estates". However, a key principle was the idea that applicants should be actively involved in the allocation process and be in a position to exercise choice.

My articles were met with a resounding silence from the world of housing management - I remember receiving one phone call in response. Only a few fellow researchers and an assistant director of housing at the Greater London Council (remember that?) saw any potential in the idea.

However, about twenty years later, the idea re-surfaced as "choice-based lettings".

Here are the articles. You will see that the context in which I was writing was very different from now. In Southwark, where I worked, we were concerned about population decline and we were wondering what we would do with all the spare council housing we would have if trends continued!

Download Letting the unlettable as a single pdf file (716kb)

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