Council tenancy change approved

New council tenants will be subject to a five-year, fixed-term tenancy after councillors approved the move last week.

After the five years are up, the council will review the tenancy and decide either to end the agreement or to renew it – or convert the tenancy to a tenancy for life.

Babergh District Council’s strategy committee agreed for the new scheme to be introduced from next April. It will not affect existing council house tenants.

Babergh says it has made the changes against the background of national changes to council house tenancies.

Councillors were told that the Government believed changes were necessary because people, granted a home “in a moment of crisis”, were able to continue to live in it long after their need had passed.

David Clarke, corporate manager for business improvement, said under the current tenancy arrangements, councils were only able to grant lifetime tenancies. Councils have never had the freedom to grant fixed tenancies before.

In a report, he said: “There are people waiting for a home who face much more difficult circumstances. This is perceived as being unfair and an inappropriate use of valuable resources.”

He said the council acknowledged the new type of tenancy could be “unsettling and stressful” for tenants. “It is important to note existing secure tenants, including those who transfer from one council home to another, are protected in law and will not form part of the proposed arrangements,” he said.