Incentives encourage tenants to downsize
SOCIAL housing tenants in Torbay are to be given incentives to downsize.
But some may find they have to move because of changes to the housing benefit system next spring.
Changes in legislation means that priority for new homes could be given to those existing tenants wishing to move to smaller accommodation.
Cllr Alan Faulkner has questioned whether Torbay Council is discussing with housing associations if they are relocating residents from larger properties who find they are too big to cope with.
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This would make the properties available to larger families who need them, he said.
Deputy mayor David Thomas said that under new Government legislation councils are encouraged to give appropriate priority to tenants who want to downsize.
Torbay is developing a local downsizing initiative and the Devon Home Choice allocations scheme already gives a higher priority to those wishing to downsize.
Devon Home Choice social housing scheme is also reviewing the recommendations that all under-occupiers are put in the high priority band for new properties regardless of how many bedrooms they are freeing up.
Cllr Thomas added: "We will also need to consider how assistance is offered to those who under-occupy in the light of the measures in the Welfare Reform Act 2012 which will reduce housing benefit entitlement for working age social sector tenants who under occupy their property from April 2013.
"We have started conversations with our housing partners about how they can support tenents to transfer or move and access financial and debt advice."