New agreement for council tenants may include “probation” and “demotion”

TOP Thurrock councillors welcomed the latest proposals for tenants when they met on Wednesday (10 April) evening.

Discussing the Tenancy Policy – for council tenants only – portfolio holder for housing, Cllr Val Morris-Cook explained it would introduce “probation tenancies for up to a year for new tenants which can be extended to 18 months”.

She said that tenants had to learn their responsibilities and a “demoted tenancy” system would mean the council could take action short of eviction to “give tenants an opportunity to play ball and become a good tenant”.

The policy also looks at succession and took into consideration the possible needs of someone who had been a full-time carer for five years as well as spouses or civil partners.

She said: “We’re not going to fixed-term tenancies here – that is the wrong move, although the registered social landlords will be.

“This gives our tenants the security to understand where we are going and how we expect them to behave.”

Cllr Morris-Cook added that the department understood tenants’ issues with health and safety and the rules would be enforced with understanding – “if there’s no trip hazard there’s no need to enforce. It needs to be read it in the spirit in which it was written.”

She said: “This is a good living document and we are happy to change it if needed.”

Speaking afterward, Cllr Morris-Cook said: “The key objectives are to meet the housing needs of the most vulnerable, as well as create and support sustainable communities within Thurrock.

“The probation tenancies will automatically revert to a secure tenancy after a year, provided the individual has conducted themselves in a satisfactory manner.

“Demoted tenancies can be sought by court orders to deter any anti-social behaviour among secure tenants that will affect their security and restrict their options such as mutual exchanges or the Right to Buy.”

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