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DCLG issue Equality Impact Assessment on use of fixed term tenancies 13/05/2016

The DCLG has issued their Equality Impact Assessment of the policy to require councils to grant future tenancies on a fixed-term basis and carry out a review of the tenants' circumstances at the end of the fixed-term.

 

The Housing and Planning Bill contains provisions to deliver on the government's commitment, in the summer Budget, to review the use of lifetime tenancies with a view to limiting their use. The DCLG carried out an review to assess the impact of this policy.

 

The government has made a number of amendments to their proposals as the Housing and Planning Bill has passed through Parliament. The legislative changes as they now stand will:

 

  • Require councils to grant future tenants fixed-term tenancies and carry out a review of the tenant's circumstances at the end of the fixed-term
  • Guarantee that existing lifetime tenants who are moved by the council (at the councils behest) into a new council home are granted a further lifetime tenancy
  • Require councils to grant existing tenants who choose to transfer to another council home a fixed-term tenancy except in limited circumstances such as where they're having to move for work or downsizing to a smaller home
  • Where councils decide to terminate a tenancy at the end of the fixed-term, they must offer advice on buying a property or other housing options as appropriate so that tenants have sufficient time to consider their options and plan accordingly
  • Tenants will have a right to require the council to reconsider any decision taken as a result of the review.

 

Fixed-term tenancies will have:

 

  • A minimum fixed term of two years
  • A maximum permitted term of ten years or longer to cover the period that a child is in school education (up to the time the child turns 19 years old)

 

Five year fixed-term tenancies will be the maximum (for households without children of school age). However, the government intend to issue statutory guidance to set out the circumstances in which council landlords will be expected to grant tenancies of different lengths, with up to ten years applicable for those with longer term needs, such as the elderly or people with disabilities and their carers. 

 

The Equalities Impact Assessment suggests there is no evidence that the proposed changes would have a substantial adverse equality impact on any of the protected groups, but recognises that: "there could be adverse impacts on individuals where a council landlord decides not to renew a fixed term tenancy or where the individuals are concerned that this may not be the case".

 

The Assessment makes it clear that the government anticipate that over time: "tenants who no longer need social housing will move out at the end of the fixed term and those who are under-occupying their homes will be assisted to move into more appropriately sized accommodation".

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