Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Possible changes to Rotherham council homes tenancies

New tenants in larger council houses in Rotherham may no longer be offered life-long tenancies in an attempt to cut the number of families waiting for accommodation.

A council report shows that 45% of the town's council houses with four or more bedrooms are occupied by just one resident.

The issue was discussed at a recent cabinet meeting.

The authority said it may put the plans out to a public consultation.

Dave Richmond, the director of housing and neighbourhoods at Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, said that recent government changes in the law meant the council had to develop a policy.

'Desperate need'

He said: "It's generally where people have had a larger family and the rest of the family have left and they've been left alone in a large house.

"You can understand that people have lived there all their lives and are very committed to that and we don't want to impact on those people at all.

"However, at the same time we've got all these properties occupied by just one person. We've got 350 families with four or more kids who desperately need those properties, that are crammed into smaller properties, and does that make sense?

According to the council, it has 261 properties with four rooms or more, 117 are occupied by just one person.

The government introduced the change in the Localism Act 2011 which allows councils to introduce tenancy contracts of just two-years duration.

New legislation beginning in April 2013 will also reduce the amount of Housing Benefit to working age tenants where they have more bedrooms than the family needs.

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