Greenwich offering cash incentive to persuade more council tenants to switch to smaller properties

A range of new and improved incentives to help Greenwich tenants downsize to a smaller home that meets their current housing needs were agreed at a cabinet meeting.

Last year, the council undertook a statutory 12-week public consultation to decide how to allocate council and housing association social rent homes and, from more than 1,200 responses received, 76 per cent said higher priority should be given to all tenants seeking to downsize.

And 60 per cent said the council should allow those of pension credit age who ‘under-occupy’ to downsize to a smaller home, but with one additional bedroom more than they are assessed as needing.

As a result of this feedback, the council agreed to give the highest banding priority to council tenants and in-borough housing association tenants who wish to downsize to a smaller home to free up more larger homes for those families living in temporary accommodation or overcrowded conditions.

The council also agreed to increase the payment made to a tenant for each bedroom given up when downsizing to a smaller home.

Under the new changes, under-occupying tenants can receive £1,000 per bedroom released to downsize to a smaller property. This is an additional £650 more than the current payment of £350.

An additional £500 will also be offered to those who downsize by mutual exchange. To help ease the pressure of financing removal costs, the council can also arrange and pay for reasonable removal costs for those who agree to downsize to a smaller home.

Older tenants who want to downsize will now be eligible for a room for themselves plus one extra bedroom. This would only apply to those who have reached pension credit age and are exempt from the bedroom tax and could mean that some older tenants could benefit from a carer or family support overnight.

Other changes include the ability for a non-dependent adult living with an under-occupying tenant who wants to downsize, to be offered their own one-bedroom flat, providing the council can gain back an additional bedroom.

If you are a council tenant and want more information on downsizing, please email or call 020 8921 2941. If you are a tenant of a housing association and want more information on downsizing please contact your Housing Officer.

Pictured top: Greenwich town hall (Picture: Google Street View)

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