The Tenant Incentive Scheme (TIS) was introduced at the beginning of 2022 with the aim of helping tenants downsize to a smaller property and freeing up larger homes for families. This also helps tenants move to smaller homes to reduce on heating costs and avoid spare bedroom tax. This has benefitted several tenants struggling financially, some had been in rent arrears that have been paid with the incentive payments and lowed bills moving forward that they can now manage.
It has now been in place for just under a year with the first tenant moving last March. Since that time, fifty-three households have been assisted to downsize freeing up seventy-three bedrooms in the process. Thirty-nine of the moves have been three bedrooms or more. Nine have accepted flats in Sheltered accommodation.
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 one or more spare bedrooms
- 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 £1,000 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 £1,000 for the arrangement and payment of removals
- A grant of up to £2,000 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.
- Tenants will then bid for properties that become available, and it is the tenant’s choice whether to move or not. It is important to point out that no pressure will be placed on anyone to move, it is the tenant’s choice.
- The TIS Support Officer will support the tenant throughout the process, help with the various aspects of the move and arrange the relevant payments, with carpet and removal expenses paid directly by the Council plus any fixed payments made once the move has taken place, minus any rent arrears on the previous property.