Council offers incentive to downsize

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Angus Council is to introduce a financial incentive to downsize to tenants who under-occupy their homes to make better use of housing stock.

The Downsizing Incentive Scheme is aimed at encouraging tenants with more bedrooms than they need to move to a smaller property and was initially run from April 2011 to March 2013.

According to Angus Council it had a positive impact on both under-occupation and over-crowding levels within the authority’s housing stock.

An analysis of the scheme found that 86 per cent of participants had moved as their property was too big, 14 per cent moved due to mobility issues, a total of 53 households successfully downsized and that there were further tenants who could benefit from the scheme.

At the neighbourhood services committee meeting yesterday (Thursday) it was agreed that changes would be made to the scheme in order to allow more tenants to downsize

As a result a sliding scale will be introduced, with £1,500 given to those downsizing three or more bedrooms, £1,250 for two bedrooms and £1,000 for one bedroom. There would also be an additional £500 allowance to cover removal and relocation costs per applicant.

Councillor Donald Morrison, convener of Neighbourhood Services committee, hoped tenants would take advantage of the scheme saying: “This scheme gives a financial incentive for tenants to give up homes which are too large for them and which have bedrooms they rarely or never use and move to a smaller property where the rent is cheaper and heating bills are lower.

“By doing so they are freeing up larger properties which are increasingly in demand by those on the council house waiting list.

“The council cannot, and would not wish to, force tenants who are under occupying their homes to move against their will.

“What the council does wish to do is to encourage those tenants who are under-occupying properties to move, with assistance both financial and practical.”