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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

South Hams 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 Judy Pearce, South Hams District Council's Executive Member for Housing said:

"We face a housing crisis here in the South Hams with too many families living in cramped conditions and we want to change that. By helping people to move out of homes that are now bigger than they need, for example when their family grows up and leaves home, we can make sure the next generation also have a suitable home to enjoy.

"This scheme is all about looking at the homes we have in the South Hams and making sure they are allocated as effectively as possible - that means doing what we can to make sure residents live in homes that are the right size for their needs. If people are interested in moving, our team can give you practical support. We'll help you find a suitable alternative property in the location that you want and with everything you need close to hand. As a downsizer, you will be awarded a high priority band for bidding on properties on Devon Home Choice - including priority for brand new homes on the latest developments. We're also increasing the amount of money you will receive to make that move easier. Maybe you'll choose new items for your kitchen or a new TV to fit your new home. Maybe you'll spend the money on new carpets or curtains. Or maybe you'll treat yourself to something completely different. You can spend the money however you want and know that by moving, you're helping a young family to have the best start in life." 

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

South Hams:     

  • 25 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
  •  172 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 South Hams area and whose Housing Association landlord confirms that the nomination rights for the property being vacated will be given to South Hams District 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 01803 861234 to find out more and to apply for the available funding. 

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