A scheme which encourages Moray’s council tenants to downsize from under-occupied houses is to be promoted more widely.
The move follows the success of the incentive scheme since it was introduced two years ago for tenants living in properties with three or more bedrooms.
The council’s communities committee heard yesterday that 27 tenants had taken the opportunity to downsize under the scheme, with another 19 awaiting a transfer.
The bulk of applications to downsize came from tenants over the age of 60 and most were either single occupants or couples with no children.
Incentives for tenants volunteering to downsize include a £1,500 flat payment plus £400 for each bedroom given up. Practical assistance is also available to help tenants move, such as arranging removals.
The committee heard that despite its success in the first two years, there were areas where the scheme could be improved.
Housing services manager Mike McClafferty said: “These include streamlining procedures to speed up payments to applicants, and continuing to raise awareness of the scheme.
“However, given the potential of the scheme to assist the council to make best use of its housing stock, a more targeted marketing plan should be developed aimed at those tenants who may benefit from the scheme – for example, single person households in larger properties.”
Communities committee chairman Councillor Eric McGillivray said the scheme had already benefited tenants who had transferred to properties more in keeping with their needs.
“I am delighted at the success of the scheme and we will be making every effort to ensure that other tenants who may benefit are aware that it is available to them.
“Already the scheme has released a number of larger properties which were previously under-occupied and which have now gone to families on the waiting list with the need for more space.
“I’m sure that in addition to the incentive payments they have received, those tenants who have moved into smaller properties will also be seeing the benefits of reduced utility bills.”