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Fixed Term Tenancies for Public Sector Housing 24 January 2013

The Department of Social Care is announcing a change to future public sector tenancies. From April 2013 all new tenancies awarded will be for a fixed period of two years which will provide more flexibility to public sector landlords in managing their stock effectively.

Tenancies will be renewed wherever there is an ongoing housing need. Where there has been a change in circumstances, for example a significant rise in income, then the tenancy terms can be changed and the rent increased accordingly. This is an enabling provision for public sector landlords to review tenancies regularly and is also the first step towards the subsequent introduction of means testing.

Minister for Social Care Hon Chris Robertshaw MHK said:

“The way that we currently provide our social welfare is no longer sustainable. Increasing levels of need with diminishing resources means we have to think differently about how we deliver public services and ensure those services are targeted at those most in need.

Public sector housing is one such service that is subsidised by the Isle of Man tax payer. Turnover across the sector is very low - less than 10% per year and there are people in severe housing need with little chance of ever accessing a public sector home under the current tenancy arrangements.

A fixed term tenancy will provide a natural contract break where the terms of the tenancy can be re-evaluated according to the tenants housing need and eligibility at that time. It gives all public sector housing providers the opportunity to update the details of the households and check on the continued eligibility of those tenants for public sector housing.

All tenancy reviews will be carried out with sensitivity by the public sector landlords. Tenancies will be renewed wherever there is an ongoing housing need. Where there has been a change in circumstances for example and increase or decrease in household then the terms of the renewed tenancy will be adjusted to reflect this.

Introducing a fixed term to new tenancies from April this year means all new tenants coming in to the sector will be aware their tenancy is not for life, and continued occupancy will depend on their individual needs and circumstances when reviewed.”

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