Ipswich Borough Council recognises that some tenants may be under occupying and for whatever reason, they may find it difficult to cope with managing a larger property and garden, paying higher costs in regard to utilities and rent; and that an option of downsizing can enhance their lifestyle and independence. In doing so, this may then release much needed larger properties for families in housing need.
While tenants do not need to seek permission from the Council to downsize, they do however have to meet certain criteria as detailed in this procedure to qualify for the Tenant Incentive Scheme
How does the scheme work?
For a tenant to be considered eligible to meet the Tenant Incentive Scheme (TIS) they first must be able to meet the following criteria:
- Be a secure tenant of Ipswich Borough Council (does not include tenants who have succeeded to a tenancy and are required to move to a smaller property)
- Currently occupying a property with two or more spare bedrooms
- Currently occupying a property with one or more spare bedrooms but are facing financial difficulties due to the “Under Occupancy Charge”.
- Alternatively, may be living in a wheelchair-adapted or accessible property which is no longer required, and the tenant wishes to move to general needs accommodation.
- Moving into a property within the Gateway to Homechoice sub-regional area which includes Babergh, Braintree, Colchester, Ipswich, Maldon, Mid-Suffolk, Suffolk Coastal and Waveney District Councils that has at least 2 bedrooms less and matches their housing need, or facing financial difficulties due to the “Under Occupancy Charge”.
- The Tenant has adhered to the conditions of their tenancy.
- Have under £500 housing related debts with the Council and a payment plan in place
A tenant who wishes to mutual exchange will only be eligible for the TIS if:
- They are a secure tenant of Ipswich Borough Council with 2 or more bedrooms, and;
- They are moving into a property that has at least 1 bedroom less than the property they currently occupy and matches their housing need
- They are exchanging into a property within the Gateway to Homechoice sub-regional area which includes Babergh, Braintree, Colchester, Ipswich, Maldon, Mid-Suffolk, Suffolk Coastal and Waveney District Councils
- They are exchanging with a tenant who has an assessed need for that size of property and will not be under-occupying it
- The mutual exchange is completed according to the landlords’ procedures.
In summary, a fixed payment of £500 will be made for each spare bedroom given up. However, tenancy recharges may apply if the property is not left in a satisfactory condition and will be deducted from this payment.
- An increased priority will be awarded to a tenant’s application in line with the current Gateway to Homechoice Allocations Policy
- Fast tracking disabled adaptations where required – IBC property only
- A grant of up to £500 for the arrangement and payment of removals
- A grant of up to £500 per bedroom for carpets for the new property
- Clearance of any unwanted furniture from the property
What else can the team help with?
- Practical advice and support from a dedicated TIS Support Officer
- Support to arrange redirection of post
- Disconnection and reconnection of cooker and washing machine
- Support to contact utility companies, change of address and reading gas, electric and water meters
- Support to Notify change of address for housing benefit, universal credit and council tax
- Notifying HEARS where there is an alarm installed at the outgoing property and need for relocation to new property – IBC property only.
- Tenants interested in the TIS will need to contact their Housing Officer who will refer to the TIS Support Officer.
- The TIS Support Officer will contact a tenant to confirm eligibility and assist tenant to register with Gateway to Homechoice if they have not done so already.
- The TIS Support Officer will confirm acceptance into the scheme and ensure the appropriate banding has been given on Gateway to Homechoice.
- The TIS Support Officer will support the tenant throughout the process, help with the various aspects of the move and arrange the relevant payments,
- Where the tenant is moving to sheltered housing, the TIS Support Officer will liaise with the Scheme Manager to ensure that that they are aware of the tenants care and support needs.
- Fixed payments will be made once the move has taken place.