Downsize for cash
What is the Downsize for Cash scheme?
Some people find themselves living in homes that are larger than they want or need. Perhaps their children have left home and they find that their running costs, such as gas, electric and rent are becoming expensive, or perhaps the property is too large to manage.
The Downsize for Cash Scheme helps Dartford Borough Council tenants who have spare bedrooms (under occupying), move to a smaller home.
If you are a Housing Association tenant different rules apply. Please contact us for further information.
What the scheme offers
If you qualify for the scheme, the benefits are:
- A payment of £500 for each bedroom you release
- An additional £100 to help towards your moving costs
- Payment of removal costs (please see paying for removals)
- Priority on the housing register
- A choice of property types and areas
Who is eligible?
You must be a secure or flexible Dartford Borough Council tenant and under occupying by one or more bedrooms.
Can I downsize if I have rent arrears?
You will only be eligible if rent arrears are below £500. In these circumstances although you qualify for most of the benefits mentioned in this leaflet, you do not qualify for the incentive payment. Instead, any rent arrears up to £500, will be cleared.
If you have a clear rent account but owe Dartford Borough Council any other debt, we will use the amount that you would receive to pay off any outstanding debt.
How much is the incentive?
The incentive payment is £500 per room that you give up plus £100 to help toward moving costs.
The table below shows how much you may be paid and does not include any additional payment made towards removals and packing.
|Property currently occupied||Property moving to||Bedrooms released||Payment for the bedrooms released||Plus £100 to help with moving costs||Total payment|
|2 bed||1 bed||1||£500||£100||£600|
|2 bed parlour*||1 bed||1 + parlour||£1,000||£100||£1,100|
|3 bed||1 or 2 bed||1 or 2||£500-£1,000||£100||£600-£1,100|
|3 bed parlour*||1 or 2 bed||1 or 2 + parlour||£500-£1,500||£100||£600-£1,600|
|4 bed||1, 2 or 3 bed||1, 2 or 3||£500-£1,500||£100||£600-£1,600|
|4 bed parlour*||1, 2 or 3 bed||1, 2 or 3 + parlour||£500-£2,000||£100||£600-£2,000|
* Please note that the decision on whether the room is a parlour will be confirmed by the officer who comes to inspect the property during the moving process.
Where can I move to?
Supported (sheltered) accommodation for over 55's
An area of your choice (where there is availability)
A suitably sized property that meets your needs, as determined by our Allocations Policy, and advertised on Kent Homechoice. This includes any advertised on a different local authority's section of Kent Homechoice which you have joined.
In some circumstances an offer of accommodation may be made without the need to 'bid' on accommodation (a direct offer).
How do I apply, and find a property?
In order to apply you will need to register on www.kenthomechoice.org.uk
Immediately after you submit your application, your Kent Homechoice reference number will appear on the screen. Please make a note of this, should you need to contact us.
If applying to Dartford Borough Council once your application is assessed you will be placed into either priority band B or C. You will be able to 'bid' on properties that suit your needs and an information pack regarding bidding will be sent to you. The Council will, at the same time, bid on your
behalf dependant on your preferences.
If you would like to update your preferences, or if you would like to know more information on how to 'bid' please contact us.
Once successful for a property we will contact you to see whether you are interested in viewing the property. After viewing the property you will be asked whether you would like to accept.
We want to ensure that your move is the correct one for you, so if you do not wish to view the property, or at the viewing you decide the property is not suitable, you may refuse the property without penalty, as you are under no obligation. If the property is suitable, you will then need to start arranging your removals.
If applying to another local authority you may wish to contact them first to see whether you are eligible to join their housing register. If you are successful for a property please ensure that you contact us so we may make the necessary arrangements before your move.
Do you have a list of local removals firms that I can contact?
Yes, we do have a list of local removal firms that we can give you but we do not work exclusively with any of them. You are also free to contact other removals companies of your own choice.
Paying for removals
There are two ways removal costs may be paid:
1. You organise the removal and pay the removal company. You will need to keep any receipts and submit those to us, and we will reimburse up to £400
2. You will need to provide us with three removal company quotes. The Council will then contact the provider who has 'won' the contract and will ask that company to make the necessary arrangements directly with yourselves. Dartford Borough Council will then pay the removal company directly.
What if the new property requires decoration?
If you are moving to a Dartford Borough Council property, the property may qualify for decoration vouchers, which can be spent on buying materials to decorate your new home. However, this will depend upon the condition of the property you are moving to.
Is there any extra help with moving available?
The Council recognises that some people, for example older people or those with a disability may need some additional help with moving, for example by offering advice or practical help. If you think you need additional help, please let us know when you apply and we will let you know if we are able to help.
How will I get paid?
Payment is made by BACS payment directly into your bank account. It is therefore essential that you have a bank or building society account.
When is the payment made?
The payment is made after you have moved into your new home. Although no exact timescale can be guaranteed, payment will normally be made within two weeks of the move taking place.
What if I need to dispose of unwanted furniture of household appliances?
We understand that downsizing to a smaller home could mean that you may have to dispose of some unwanted furniture. If the furniture is of good quality, there are local charitable organisations that can collect it for free and recycle it to others in need.
If this is something that you would be interested in, you can contact Thamesmead Furniture Recycle on 0208 312 9191.
What if I need help with removing carpets from my old home?
Although it is not part of the Downsize for Cash scheme rules, if you are having difficulty removing your carpets, contact us and we may be able to help.
For more information on the scheme please call the Housing Allocations Team on 01322 343907.