In a move to tackle a shortage of affordable housing for families, West Devon Borough councillors have backed a move which would give those living in rented properties thousands of pounds if they downsize.
What could downsizers recieve?
The plan is to give tenants who move to a smaller house:
- A fixed payment of £1,000
- An additional 'High Demand Area' payment of £2,500
- £500 per bedroom released.
So for example, a couple downsizing from a 3 bed to a 1 bed would receive £2000. This applies to housing association tenants on assured tenancies and only to those downsizing from a two bed or bigger.
Who is eligible for the Tenant Incentive downsizing scheme?
The scheme is open to anyone who currently rents a home that is bigger than they currently need through a housing association or social housing registered provider, and also meets the following criteria:
- Existing Housing Association tenant on an Assured tenancy, living in the West Devon Borough area and whose Housing Association landlord confirms that the nomination rights for the property being vacated will be given to West Devon Borough Council
- Are in a family sized house with 2 or more bedrooms
- Wants to move to a property that is at least 1 bedroom less
- Are registered on Devon Home Choice
- Where the move will not result in overcrowding
Why is the downsizing scheme needed?
The Devon County Council leader has said there was a housing crisis in Devon as a result of rising house prices and a lack of rental properties.
Cllr Barry Ratcliffe, West Devon Borough Council's Lead Member for Housing said, "We desperately need to make some of our larger houses in the Borough available for the local families who are currently struggling in homes that are too small. That's why we've decided to give as much help as possible to anyone who is thinking about moving to a smaller home, for example because their own family has grown up and moved away.
Stephen Burtchaell, Head of Tozers’ nationally recognised Affordable Housing team commented, "Whilst this step shows a proactive approach being taken by the Council which mirrors similar moves taken by other councils in the country, it highlights the very serious shortage of affordable homes in the region for local families. It has been recognised for a long time that the prices of homes to purchase and rent in Devon and the West Country is disproportionate to the salaries paid in the region and the latest boom has only increased that. There are various ideas as to how to improve the housing crisis including using new building methods to cut the cost of construction and improving the private rented sector but the most fundamental remains the need to build more genuinely affordable homes for local people."
Find out more
Our Affordable Housing team have over 25 years’ experience in this sector, forming close working relationships with their housing clients. To find out more about the areas they advise on and their bespoke services please visit their hub page or contact a member of the team.