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Would up to £5,000 cash help you move to a smaller home?

7 January 2022

An image of cupped hands holding a set of house keys

West Devon residents are in line for a cash payout worth up to £5,000 if they downsize and free up their home for a family that is struggling in cramped conditions. 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.

It is hoped that a bigger cash incentive and practical support will help more people to make a move to ease the current housing crisis where there is a shortage of larger three- and four-bedroom homes available for local families.

The scheme is designed to help tenants to downsize to smaller homes as their household needs change. For example, when children grow up and leave home.  This, in turn, helps the Council to free up some of the larger homes in our area for younger families in need.  

The council has introduced an extra 'High Demand Area' payment of £2,500. This has been introduced due to the current shortage of larger family homes in the area. The total amount of money local people could receive depends on how many bedrooms are released by the move.

Downsizers will receive:

  • A fixed payment of £1,000
  • An additional 'High Demand Area' payment of £2,500
  • £500 per bedroom released.

For example, if you move from a four-bedroom property to a two-bedroom property you will receive  £4,500. The maximum total amount you can receive is capped at £5,000.

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.

"Our team can give practical support with things like filling in forms for making the move. You'll be given priority, so you can choose a new home in the location you want - including brand new homes on the most modern developments. Because of the current high need for family-size homes, we're now offering an even bigger cash incentive to help those people who are thinking about making a move. You can spend the cash on anything you want - from a new TV for your new home and curtains to carpets or even a holiday! The choice is yours. But best of all, you'll know that by moving to a smaller home, you're making sure that another young family will be able to enjoy living in a home with the space they need." 

The local overcrowding situation according to current Devon Home Choice figures:   

  • 21 families are severely overcrowded - that means they need a home with two or more extra bedrooms than they currently have or there are at least two children in the home lacking a bedroom
  • 138 families are currently waiting for a home with an extra bedroom to meet their needs

Nearly two million children in England are living in overcrowded, unaffordable or unsuitable homes, research has revealed.

The report from the National Housing Federation shows the biggest single housing issue affecting children in England is overcrowding. It found there are 1.1 million children living in overcrowded homes, which is having a detrimental impact on their health and development.

There are also a million children whose families cannot afford their rent or mortgage payments, while 293,000 children live in homes that are unsuitable for their needs or health requirements.

A further 283,000 children living with their families in other people's homes, the report found. 

The National Housing Federation said the research shows 1.3 million children are in need of social housing as this is the only suitable and affordable type of home for their families. It is calling on the Government to prioritise long term and sustained investment in social housing as part of its 'levelling up' agenda.

Who is eligible?

The Tenants Incentive Scheme is available to applicants who met the following criteria:

  • Are an 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  - 2 bedrooms or larger
  • Want 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

How to apply

The scheme is limited and subject to change. Email devon.homechoice@swdevon.gov.uk or call 01822 813600 to find out more and to apply for the available funding. 

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