Glasgow brings forward tenant downsize incentive scheme
Glasgow City Council has agreed to progress its plan to offer housing association tenants incentives to downsize so homeless families can move into large properties.
The Glasgow Housing Transfer Incentive Scheme aims to make the best use of the city’s existing housing supply and meet the needs of the increasing number of large homeless families in temporary accommodation.
The scheme will allow the council to work with housing associations in the city to help existing tenants to move into the right size of property for their housing needs and release larger properties within the social rented sector for homeless families to access.
The promotion of the scheme was approved by the local authority yesterday.
A key priority in the council’s Glasgow Housing Strategy is the identification of the needs for a large family home - four bedrooms or more, for a family of six people or more - as the demand for larger family houses is increasing due to the number of larger homeless families living in temporary accommodation, living in the private rented sector and affected by welfare reforms and overcrowding.
The Housing Transfer Incentive Scheme can help release large housing association homes by encouraging people in ‘under-occupied’ (by two rooms or more) housing to downsize to appropriately-sized homes, with households supported - if this is their choice - through this potential process.
The council’s decision will now see discussions taking place between the council and housing associations in Glasgow on the promotion and implementation of the ‘test for change’ city-wide incentive scheme that promotes the following:
- identifies large housing association properties (four bedrooms or greater) that are currently under-occupied;
- encourages and helps people to move to a home that meets their needs in terms of size whilst ensuring that such moves are an independent choice;
- identifies a suitable support provider to provide information and advice to tenants to make the right decision and signpost residents to get the practical help and support they need when moving to a property more suitable to their housing needs; and
- provides a cash incentive to tenants by assisting tenants with the housing removal costs, decoration and floor covering costs of the new property.
Research shows that there are a number of health and wellbeing benefits for people moving to a property more suitable to their housing needs.
These include positive health benefits and making it easier for the residents to maintain independent living; reduced housing costs if moving to a smaller home i.e. lower rental charge, council tax and less expensive energy costs; and potentially tackling loneliness and isolation issues as moving home can feel like a new start (particularly if friends or family are nearby).
It is thought that savings of up to £59,000 for each larger household could be made by implementing the scheme, as this will be achieved through the significant reduction in the length of stay for larger families residing in temporary homeless accommodation and will also prevent larger families from overcrowding in temporary accommodation.
The scheme will be funded through the Glasgow City Council Second Homes Council Tax budget, with this funding being made available to the city’s housing associations, who will meet all removal, decoration and floor covering costs for residents through this support.
Councillor Kenny McLean, city convener for neighbourhoods, housing and public realm at Glasgow City Council, said: “The Glasgow Housing Transfer Incentive Scheme could not only help larger families find homes that meet their needs, reducing homelessness and bringing savings, but also allow older people and others who wish to downsize to a more appropriate home to gain socially and financially.”