New legislation has been proposed by Moray Council to help combat the 3,500-strong waiting list for council houses in the region.
Changes to the housing allocations policy are being consulted on at the moment, with the public invited to offer their feedback on the issue.
One of the biggest differences being suggested is extra priority being given to applicants who want to downsize.
This would involve additional housing points being offered to those who want to give up their multi-bedroomed house if they do not use it fully.
The allocations policy is in place to prioritise applicants for housing based on their circumstances and level of need.
Councillor Louise Laing, chairwoman of Moray Council’s communities committee hopes these changes will help to reduce the waiting list.
She said: “We hope these ideas will help a lot with housing in the region and that was exactly why we decided to come up with these changes, to help with the housing list.
“I think the extra priority given to people in underoccupied homes will help to promote downsizing, especially because we will offer extra points for doing that.
“People living in three-bedroom houses, but not using all the rooms, can be moved to smaller houses while overcrowded households can be helped.”
Other suggestions included placing applicants aged 70 and over on the list for ground floor properties and giving increased priority to households needing institutional/supported care.
Ms Laing believes that the proposed changes will help address some of the pressures on social housing in the area identified in the Moray Housing Need and Demand Assessment.
She added: “This assessment found evidence of significant overcrowding and under-occupancy in social housing, so changing the allocation policy could help us to allocate the right property to the right applicant.
“There’s also growing demand for accessible housing, and for one and four-bedroom houses.
“But it’s important for people to have their say before the consultation closes on October 21.
“Feedback will be used to put together a draft allocations policy, which councillors will consider at the communities committee in November.”
The full list of changes is available on Moray Council’s website.
If the proposals are accepted, the policy will be rolled out next April and May.
Ms Laing said: “I expect the public to be behind the changes, most of them seem to be commonsense and I’m hoping to get positive feedback.”