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THOUSANDS of families could be eligible for up to £12,000 from their local council just to move house, The Sun can reveal.
Many councils have schemes in place where they will pay you to move somewhere smaller if you’re renting a house that is bigger than what you actually need.
Here’s how much you could get from your local council JUST by moving house
That’s in order to tackle a crippling housing shortage in some areas of the country that has left larger families no choice but to live in cramped conditions.
Latest research from the English Housing Survey suggests 3.5% of ALL households are living in overcrowded conditions, but renters are being hit the most.
To tackle the problem, some local authorities offer free cash to renters to downsize their home and free up space.
A Sun investigation can reveal councils have dished out MILLIONS over the years through these schemes – but whether you can access ANY cash at all depends on where you live.
Of the 91 councils across the UK who responded to The Sun’s freedom of information requests on their respective downsizing schemes, 55 had dished out £1.71million alone last year.
Although that’s up 13% from the £1.5million that was handed out over 2020, it’s 16% lower than the £1.99million that was awarded in 2019.
We also found that while you could get up to £12,000 in some areas, some councils don’t even offer a scheme at all.
Of the 91 councils who responded to The Sun, 36 (40%) didn’t offer any financial incentives for households to move house.
We explain how much you could get paid just to downsize your home and who can apply.
How does it work?
How these downsizing schemes work will vary depending on who your local council is.
But in general, each authority will give you money for the number of rooms you give up in order to downsize.
For example, Croydon Council offers £2,000 for every bedroom you give up, capped at £8,000, which means you would receive £4,000 if you are moving from a three bed to a one bed. Home.
While Slough Borough Council also offers £2,000 per bedroom given up, and Oxford City Council offers up to £4,000 depending on the size of the home you are giving up compared to how small the house you’re moving to is – plus £1,500 for moving costs.
But as it is up to each council to decide whether to have a scheme in the first place, or what incentives to offer, you should ask your local authority for more information.
You can find out who your local council is using the gov.uk’s online tool checker.
Who is eligible?
This will vary, once again, on who your local council is.
Each one will have different eligibility requirements.
But in general, the scheme is open to those who rent their home from their council.
However, some councils – like Wandsworth Borough Council – may consider your application if your landlord is a housing association.
Many councils – like Oxford City Council – will still let you apply to the scheme even if you are in arrears on your rent.
But, it will take the rent you owe out of the amount you’ll be awarded.
Some councils – like Exeter City Council – will pay for your removal costs.
How much could you get?
What you can get depends on factors such as how big the house you currently live in is, how small the house you are prepared to move to is, and what your council is willing to offer.
The Sun has found that Brent Council has dished out the biggest awards to renters looking to downsize.
The council pays you £5,000 for every room released, plus a bonus 20% extra for a four bed property and a 10% boost for a three bed property.
The single highest amount it gave out was £12,000 to one family last year.
That’s over £8,900 more than the average highest payment that was divvied out over the past three years – which stands at £3,077.
Meanwhile, Camden Council was the local authority which awarded the MOST cash in total over the three year period.
It has awarded £901,643 between 2019 to 2021.
But not every council has been as generous dishing out cash.
While 40% don’t offer a scheme at all, some have only given out a few thousand pounds over the years.
Selby District Council has awarded £5,964 over the past three years, with the highest amount awarded to one family standing at £790.
While Gosport Borough Council handed out just £1,150 over the same period, with the biggest cash award given standing at £575.
Downsizing schemes aren’t the only council-run schemes you can apply to in order to get free cash.
Councils have welfare assistance schemes in place that offer up to £1,000 in help for furniture, bills, food and more.
While the Household Support Fund means you can get free cash if you are struggling to pay your bills, rent and groceries.
You can see what benefits you are eligible for as well here.
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