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£1,500 incentive to move to a smaller council home
Basildon Council tenants could be offered £1,500 to help them move to smaller homes and free up family housing for those who need it.
The council is being recommended to agree the £50,000 scheme, which it says will help tenants who need a bigger home and those who would like to move to somewhere more compact.
The borough currently has 4,728 people on its waiting list for homes and Phil Turner, councillor responsible for housing, feels many of its homes are not being put to the best use.
He explained: “We want to ensure there are homes available for families who need them the most. We have more than 300 households that are currently underoccupied.
“Downsizing not only helps families which need the extra room, but it can also help meet the personal needs of those who no longer want a large property.
“Moving can be expensive, but if this scheme is approved the council will offer £1,500 to each household participating.”
Financial help will be offered to anyone looking to move from family sized homes to one-bedroom homes, or from four or five-bedroom homes into two-bedroom ones.
Aidan McGurran, Labour councillor for Pitsea South East, a member of the housing and community safety scrutiny committee, offered qualified backing for a scheme.
He said: “Given the pressure on housing in Basildon, something has to be done.
“I’m not against this completely. My only concern would be if people felt pressured into having to move.
“We have a severe housing situation in Basildon. There’s a lot of demand for the few properties. What we need are more suitable properties, but that won’t happen in the short term.”
The council also plans to offer advice about the options open to tenants who are thinking about moving,
Councillors are due to discuss the plans at a council cabinet meeting tonight.