22 October, 2010
In recent announcements the Coalition Government has announced its intentions towards making changes to social housing tenancies. The proposed adjustments are significant and could potentially alter the working practices of social landlords.
It is expected that there will be a consultation taking place on the issue of council housing tenure before the end of 2010 in which interested parties would be able to make comments on the proposals.
In August 2010, it was announced that council tenants may be required to transfer into the private housing sector if their circumstances changed, causing their income to increase noticeably. It is said that this is part of a plan to tackle the number of individuals who are presently on the waiting list for council house accommodation: the Department for Communities and Local Government has said that the waiting list currently stands at 1.8 million people.
An additional proposal was for tenancy reviews to take place at 5-10 year intervals as to whether the tenancy should continue. It has been reported that this suggestion could result in, for example, tenants moving into a smaller property when their children have moved out.
The National Affordable Home Swap Scheme is also to be introduced, as announced by the Housing Minister Grant Schapps. It will give tenants the opportunity to see the details of every council and housing association tenant across the country looking to exchange homes. The 'freedom pass' would allow tenants to move home for work purposes, family reasons or any other objective. It has been said that over 250,000 households live in overcrowded accommodation and around 430,000 households are unable to downsize from large properties. The new scheme is designed to tackle this problem.
The intended changes could have a drastic effect upon how social tenancies operate. With the consultation expected to take place before the end of the year, social landlords are advised to be aware of the potential alterations and, if desired, submit their views to the consultation.