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.
Housing association tenants living in the Dartford Borough will not be eligible for the Downsize for Cash Scheme. If you are registered on Kent Homechoice, you may receive priority to move to a smaller property, please call 01322 343907 if you require further information.
Who is eligible to apply?
- You must be a secure tenant (Includes those on a flexible tenancy) of Dartford Borough Council
- You must be under occupying by a minimum of one or more bedrooms
What the Dartford 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 towards your removal and packing expenses up to a maximum of £400. Please note that if your removal costs are less than £400 we will only pay the total amount that you have paid to the removals company, or for van hire, if you decide to move yourself. Valid receipts must be produced in all cases
*Providing that you do not owe any monies to the Council including rent and Council Tax arrears. This will be checked at the point of application.
The table below shows how the bedroom release payment is worked out:
|Property currently occupied||Property moving to||Bedrooms released||Payment for the bedrooms released|
|2 bed parlour*||1 bed||1 + parlour||£1,000|
|2 bed||1 bed||1||£500|
|3 bed parlour*||2 bed||1 + parlour||£1,000|
|3 bed||2 bed||1||£500|
|3 bed||1 bed||2||£1,000|
|4 bed parlour*||3 bed||1 + parlour||£1,000|
|4 bed||3 bed||1||£500|
|4 bed||2 bed||2||£1,000|
|4 bed||1 bed||3||£1,500|
* 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.
How do I apply for the Downsize for Cash Scheme?
You will firstly need to register on line at www.kenthomechoice.org.uk. Once you are registered please call 01322 343907 to speak to an officer regarding making an application.
Where can I move to?
- A suitably sized property that meets your needs (see Bedroom Need Changes PDF, 1165.39 KB to see what size property you can bid for)
- A housing scheme unit for people aged over 55
- A suitably sized property through a nomination to a housing association or a private rented property
- A suitably sized property in a different borough or district
Can I downsize for cash if I am in arrears with my rent, council tax or any other money owed to the Council?
Although tenants in arrears can apply for the scheme, any money owed to the Council must not exceed £500 at the time of application. Tenants with arrears up to £500 will be accepted but any arrears will be taken off the payment due. However, removal costs will still 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.org.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.
Paying for Removals
There are two options available to you:
You can contact any removals company that you wish and make your own arrangements with them. In this case, you will need to supply us with two independent quotes. Once we have received the quotes we will instruct the least expensive removals company to carry out your removals up to a maximum of £400.
Removals can include packing but the total costs must not exceed £400.
Please note that if the least expensive quote is in excess of £400, or if the actual costs exceed £400, regardless of the circumstances, it will be your responsibility to pay the balance.
You can carry out the removals yourself and send a claim for the cost of van hire to us. These costs must be backed up by valid receipts and must not exceed £400. Once the costs are agreed and verified by us, the Council will pay these costs into your designated bank account 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.
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.
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 for the first 15 minutes, and £15 for subsequent 15 minute periods. For more information on this service, please visit the bulky household collection page.
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?
If you need further information please speak to your Housing Officer or call a member of the Allocations’ Team on 01322 343907, or contact the Housing Allocations Team Online.