Kettering Council brings back lifetime tenancies after fixed term rentals were causing anxiety for tenants

Councillors on Kettering's executive committee approved the new policy last night.
Councillors on Kettering's executive committee approved the new policy last night.

Kettering Council is reintroducing a lifetime tenancy for renters after its fixed-term scheme was causing anxiety and had become too ‘bureauratic’.

The former five years fixed policy introduced by the Conservative-run council in 2013 will be scrapped and most tenants who rents a property from the council will be able to call the house a place for life.

The move, which was rubber-stamped by the council’s executive committee, was welcomed by leader of the Labour opposition Cllr Mick Scrimshaw who said his group had foreseen the problems when the scheme was introduced six years ago.

A report put before the meeting by tenancy services manager Leona Mantle said the council currently had 580 five-year fixed term tenancies and monitoring them was taking up a lot of resources and had not produced the benefits the council sought.

It was also found that the fixed-term contract was confusing for tenants, creating anxiety and stopping tenants from making their house a home.

A survey of 25 fixed-term tenants found that 17 responded to say they were concerned or very concerned about the stability of their tenure.

She said: “The reason for doing this is that it will reduce the bureaucratic approach and allow neighbourhood management teams to give more support to a family who needs it.”

As part of the new policy, tenants will have to pass a 12-month probation, before being granted the lifetime tenancy.

Exceptions will include tenancies of large family accommodation, such as three-bed parlour houses or four or five-bedroom homes and homes which are fully adapted. The reason for this is because this type of accommodation is in short supply.

The council currently has 3,700 homes in its housing stock. About 150 of those are currently being used for temporary accommodation for households which have become homeless.

At the meeting, head of housing John Conway said the numbers of people in temporary accommodation was falling and was now at 206, down from a 234 high three weeks ago.

The authority is currently in talks about buying former homeless shelter Wellington House, which was closed down in the spring.