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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)
  •  We can also pay for your removal and packing expenses if required up to a maximum of £400       

The table below shows how the payment is worked out (includes a maximum of £400 removal and packing costs):

Property currently occupied Property moving to Bedrooms released Payment for the bedrooms released Plus up to £500 to help with moving costs Total payment
2 bed 1 bed 1 £500 £500 £1,000
2 bed parlour* 1 bed 1 + parlour £1,000 £500 £1,500
3 bed 1 or 2 bed 1 or 2 £500-£1,000 £500 £1,000-£1,500
3 bed parlour* 1 or 2 bed 1 or 2 + parlour £500-£1,500 £500 £1,000-£2,000
4 bed 1, 2 or 3 bed 1, 2 or 3 £500-£1,500 £500 £1,000-£2,000
4 bed parlour* 1, 2 or 3 bed 1, 2 or 3 + parlour £500-£2,000 £500 £1,000-£2,600

* 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.

Who is eligible?

  • You must be a secure tenant (Includes those on a flexible tenancy) of Dartford Borough Council
  • You must be under occupying by one or more bedrooms

Where can I move to?

  • A suitably sized property that meets your needs (see Bedroom Need Changes at the back of this leaflet to see what size property you can bid for)
  • A supported housing unit for people aged over 55
  • A suitably sized property through a nomination to a housing association

Has your housing benefit been reduced because you have a spare room and you are under 61 years of age?

The Government has made changes to the benefits system and housing benefit has been reduced (for those of working age who are under occupying their property) by 14% for one spare room and 25% for 2 spare rooms.  For example, if your rent is £100 per week and you have one spare bedroom, your housing benefit will be reduced by 14% meaning that you may have to find an extra £14 per week yourself to pay your rent. If this is the case, downsizing for cash may help you to keep your rent payments up to date.

Can I downsize for cash if I am in arrears with my rent?

Although tenants in arrears are not usually eligible to take part in the standard scheme, in certain circumstances, the Council will allow a tenant to downsize, if this will assist a tenant in meeting their ongoing rent payments.  Such tenants will not qualify for any payment but may benefit from a maximum of £500 being removed from their existing arrears.  Reasonable removal costs will also be paid.

How does a suitable property become available and allocated to me?

You can find and bid for a property through Kent Homechoice, the Kent-wide choice-based lettings scheme and you will be placed in priority band B or C, depending upon whether you are under-occupying your property by one or more bedrooms.  Please visit www.kenthomechoice.co.uk for information on how to apply or speak to your housing officer.

How will I get paid?

Payment is either made by BACS payment directly into your bank account or by cheque.  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 four weeks of the move taking place.

How do I arrange for my removals and packing costs to be paid?

Payment of removals and packing will be included in your overall payment up to a maximum of £400. To process this payment, we do ask that you supply us with a copy of your invoice as soon as possible.

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.

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 have any responsibility for any arrangements you make with these firms.

What if I need to dispose of unwanted furniture or 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 Respond Furniture Collection on 0208 316 1099.

Alternatively, the Council can arrange for a Contractor to collect and dispose of bulky household waste such as furniture and large appliances (available only for Dartford residents). There is a charge of £30 including V.A.T. for the first 15 minutes, and £15 including V.A.T. for subsequent 15 minute periods. For more information on this service, contact the Environmental Contracts Department on 01322 343290.

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.

What if the new property requires decoration?

If you are moving to another Dartford Borough Council property, the property could 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.

If the property does qualify for decoration vouchers, details of these and where you can spend them will be given to you when you move.

How do I apply for the Downsize for Cash Scheme?

Speak to your Housing Officer or call the Housing Options and Advice Team on 01322 343114, or contact the Housing Options Team Online.

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