Council urged to write to three-bed tenants and encourage downsizing

MORAY COUNCIL SHOULD write to every tenant currently occupying homes with three bedrooms or more and urge them to move to smaller properties.

That radical solution to the council’s 3500-strong waiting list was put by Speyside Glenlivet councillor Louise Laing at a meeting of the Communities Committee on Tuesday.

Councillor Laing pointed out that no three-bedroomed council property had become available in Aberlour for six years – but the Council’s head of housing, Richard Anderson, responded by saying that no residents could be forced to move.

Moray Council offered an incentive last year to encourage occupants of larger homes to downsize, paying £1500 for those who did so along with a £400 addition for each bedroom ‘feed up’ and a further £400 ‘disruption payment’.

The committee was told that the budget for that scheme was currently underspent by £17,000 and that new plans to promote the incentives were being drawn up by officials.

Councillor Laing said: “I think more needs to be done to promote it [the scheme] – so tenants know how it works, even if it is just a general letter to all three-bedroom tenants.”

Mr Anderson said that housing officers were trying to get as much information as possible out to tenants, adding: “At the end of the day, I don’t know how much more we can do – perhaps we could sit down with the tenants’ forum and ask them what information is missing.

“There was a big upturn in the first two years but since then there has been a downturn – we want people to downsize, but we cannot force them, all we can do is make incentives that are available as clear as possible.”