Armed forces personnel and volunteers will get priority in Havering Council’s proposed housing register changes
�Volunteers and armed forces workers will be rewarded in changes to the way council housing across the borough is allocated.
The proposals also include a new rule that only residents who have been in the borough for at least two years can qualify for Havering’s housing register.
The moves are due to be discussed by the council on Wednesday. If approved, they will be implemented from April.
The strategy will see more emphasis on providing local homes for local people. It will also take into account the contribution people make to the community.
Applications from serving or former armed forces personnel will be prioritised. Those with disabilities will be given additional priority.
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There are also new government-implemented rules on the length of tenancies.
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All new tenants will be given a fixed-term tenancy to be reviewed after five years – rather than one for a lifetime.
The council will assess whether there is still a need for continued tenancy and if the family could afford a private house or needs a larger home.
Tenants’ behaviour will also be taken into account.
Havering’s cabimnet member for housing, Cllr Lesley Kelly, said: “These changes will not affect people who require emergency housing.
“We have finished refurbishing Abercrombie House and work is being done to Will Perrin Court and we still have the same amount of hostel space.”
She added: “If you are not fussed about where you live, you could be housed quicker. It takes between three to five years to rehouse someone depending on their circumstances and what they need. We currently have 11,000 applications on the waiting list.
“We have about 3,000 people on the list for band D and E properties – the majority don’t live in the borough.
“This is a chance for us to be honest with all the people waiting who are not in the borough so we don’t give false hope but they realise they have to do something else to move on.
“We have far fewer council homes than we have people on the housing register. So we need to do all that we can to make sure that the homes go to the people who most need them.
“That includes making sure that people who no longer need the council to put a roof over their heads make way for those who do.”