Axe could fall on lifetime tenancies

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Lifelong tenancies for people who move into social housing in Central Beds in the future could end, if new proposals go ahead.

But Central Beds Council says current tenants would not be affected.

Changes in the system would apply to new applicants from April 2013.

Views are now being invited. The plan is to bring in “fixed-term” tenancies, for five years at a time.

The council says that after five years, a fixed-term tenancy would only be extended if a tenant still needed the accommodation.

Consultation is under way on the council’s new “draft tenancy strategy”.

Executive councillors will consider feedback in March 2013, before making a final decision on the ideas.

The council team says lifetime tenancies have meant that in some cases, people have continued living in social housing long after their need to stay there has passed.

And they say in the meantime, other people have remained on a waiting list, unable to obtain the home they desperately needed.

Once a fixed-term five-year tenancy ended, tenants would be faced with a range of options.

Those options would include staying in their current home, moving to private rented accommodation, switching to a more suitable type of social housing, or buying a home.

According to the council, the presumption is that a tenancy would be renewed except in cases where one of these factors applies:

> A property becomes “under-occupied” because some household members have moved.

> The household’s finances have substantially improved and social housing is no longer needed.

> It is an adapted home no longer suitable for the tenants.

> The tenancy “has not been conducted satisfactorily”.

> The tenant has allowed the home to become severely overcrowded.

> The tenant refuses to take part in the renewal process.

Executive councillor Carole Hegley said: “We know that social housing makes a massive difference to the lives of many people in Central Bedfordshire.

“What we are proposing here will ensure that local social housing will be there for those people who really need it.

“Fixed-term tenancies will give us the flexibility to make the best use of the local housing stock.

“We’ll be able to offer settled accommodation for those people who need support to turn round their lives, as well as tackling under-occupancy and overcrowding.”

The consultation runs until January 28.

Comment online at

Or pick up a paper copy of the consultation at the Central Beds Council offices in High Street North, Dunstable.