Building Community Capacity
Modern and Efficient Council
The Localism Act 2011 introduced a power for local authorities to offer flexible tenancies however it is not a mandatory requirement.
Deputy S.151 Officer
The costs of implementing the recommendations are expected to be cost neutral with the reduced costs of no longer managing flexible tenancies met by an increased cost of enhanced mandatory visits.
Councillor Griffiths introduced the report. Flexible tenancies were introduced by the government and were compulsory. At the time, it was deemed a sensible approach with limited housing stock. The government has changed the rules and it is now up to individual councils whether they revert back to secure tenancies. After reviewing tenancies, it was found the flexible ones were not doing what it hoped it would do. This report recommends that the council revert back to secure tenancies for April 2020. There is now also a mandatory requirement for officers to visit every home owned by the council so issues can be kept on top of. Some council homes have never been visited because there hasn’t been a reason too.
Councillor Elliot said he fully supported the proposal. Visiting all tenants will allow the council to identify any vulnerable tenants or that need any assistance.
Councillor Anderson said he fully supported the proposal but would like to know how many introductory tenancies have failed.
F Williamson said introductory tenancies last for a year. The review looked at 337 flexible tenancies in total. 299 have been granted another tenancy, in the majority of cases the tenants circumstances had not changed dramatically. 18 were identified as living in a home that was too small so they have been allocated additional points based on the allocations policy. 11 were identified as living in a home that was too large so the team have worked with them to find them a smaller home through transfer or mutual exchange. Two had savings over £16k or have a joint income over £60k resulting in one tenant putting in a request under the Right to Buy and the other tenant appealed the decision due to medical conditions and equalities issues so have now been allowed to stay. Seven were joint tenancies where one tenant has now left the home and legal work has been undertaken to create a sole tenancy.
Councillor Tindall asked if all officers visiting the homes of tenants are given domestic abuse training to spot the signs.
F Williamson said all front line staff were trained in safeguarding which includes domestic and financial abuse. In a joint tenancy, both signatures are required to convert to a sole tenancy.
Councillor Birnie asked about those families who lived in a house that was too large and if they had been given new accommodation or were still waiting and what the status of their tenancies is.
F Williamson said they were granted a new tenancy. They have been given points so they can apply for a new home under the choice based lettings system.