Yarlington Housing Group asks tenants to downsize

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A housing association in Somerset has begun asking its tenants to consider downsizing to free up larger family-sized houses.

Yarlington Housing Group has estimated that about 3,700 of its tenants have a spare bedroom in their properties.

Chief executive Gary Orr said: "In Somerset, there's about 20,000 people on the waiting list for family-sized accommodation."

Cash incentives are being offered to tenants who downsize to smaller homes.

The housing association has 8,000 properties in total, mainly acquired from South Somerset District Council.

"We see changes in family make-up, people were housed 20, 30 years ago, had their children, raised their family and now their children have moved on."

'Very pleased'

A flat rate of £1,000 is being offered to tenants, with an additional payment of between £2,000 and £750 depending on the downsize.

Tenants are also given priority on Homefinder Somerset, which is a county-wide housing list scheme for social housing.

Another housing association called Magna West Somerset also started a similar scheme last October.

Tenants with Magna West Somerset are paid £1,000 per bedroom for downsizing and so far 10 people have chosen to move to smaller properties.

Christine Boland, from Magna West Somerset, said: "It's been a nice steady flow that's manageable but we expect that to continue.

"Some of the feedback we've had is that people are very pleased, you're talking about people who've been in their homes for a very long time, but I think it will gain momentum."

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