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Cash incentives for downsizing at Lewes District Council

Lewes District Council has a limited supply of family sized accommodation and disability-adapted properties. This scheme is currently not available within Eastbourne. We recognise that a number of our homes are under-occupied, whilst at the same time we have families living in temporary accommodation, (including bed and breakfast), and others living in properties which are overcrowded. We have therefore adopted an under-occupation incentive scheme in order to free up some of these properties and maximise the use of our housing stock.

Under this scheme council tenants who give up larger accommodation, and some tenants who mutually exchange to smaller properties in our district may be eligible for cash incentives and in general are given the highest priority for re-housing in the allocations scheme.

You will qualify if:

  • you are a secure tenant of Lewes District Council    
  • you are transferring or mutually exchanging to a smaller council or housing association property within our district that meets your needs
  • you currently occupy a general needs family property with two or more bedrooms
  • if you are currently in arrears on your rent account the circumstances of your application to move will be considered by the council
  • if your transfer or exchange is approved under this scheme and your rent account is in  arrears, the council will use part or all of the grant to ensure your rent arrears are cleared

You will not be able to qualify if:

  • you are not the tenant of the property being released
  • you have been served with a Notice of Seeking Possession for anti-social behaviour
  • you have been served with a Demotion Notice
  • you fail to provide the required documentation for your Housing Register Application
  • you hold an Introductory Tenancy or a Non-Secure Tenancy
  • you have previously received a Tenant Incentive Scheme payment
  • you are a successor (following the tenant’s death) who is under occupying the property and are a family member (This excludes partners or spouses)
  • you may not be eligible if you are subject to a court order
  • you are transferring or mutually exchanging to a property with the same number (or more) bedrooms than your current property

We will pay you the grants below if you move from family sized accommodation of two or more bedrooms to a smaller property.

Incentive grant payments
Current property size New property size Maximum grant Payable removal expenses Total grant
4 bedroom house Sheltered studio £4000 £500 £4500
4 bedroom house 1 bedroom flat £3000 £500 £3500
3 bedroom house 2 bedroom flat £1000 £500 £1500
3 bedroom house 1 bedroom flat £2000 £500 £2500
2 bedroom house 1 bedroom flat £1000 £500 £1500
  • £1000 to be paid per bedroom as a result of downsizing
  • An additional £1000 if a tenant moves to a studio in a sheltered scheme
  • £500 towards relocation costs (if required we may be able to pay your removals direct to the removal company and this will be deducted from your final payment)

Where you are moving from a general needs property into a Sheltered Studio an additional £1000 will be granted. Sheltered Housing is purpose built accommodation for people over 60 years of age. This is because the demand for such properties is lower and there are more vacancies. The amounts are payable once you have moved and returned the keys to the property you are leaving, which we would ask you to leave in a clean and tidy condition. You should expect to receive your grant within 28 days of handing in your keys.

  • the council will reduce the payments above by:
  • the amount of rent arrears owed to the Council at the time of transfer; and/or
  • any outstanding debt owed to Housing Services; and/or     
  • the cost of any works that the Council has to undertake to the vacated premises as a result of damage or neglect on the part of the tenant (this does take into account fair wear and tear), including the cost of any rubbish clearance; and/or   
  • any outstanding court costs
  • any removal costs paid in advance
  • applicants must be registered on the scheme before a move takes place for a payment to be authorised.

If you need additional support to move, help with arranging removals, or help with bidding for a property on the Homes First Lettings website you should contact the Senior Caseworker for your area.

Payments will be subject to budget limits and grants will need to be prioritised. If there are more requests for transfer incentive grants than there is funding available, the council will give priority to those moving from accommodation that is more urgently needed.

If you would like to transfer you will need to download and complete the Housing Register application form for the Lewes district PDF on the apply for housing page. Once you have been accepted onto the Housing Register you will be given a band A priority and sent a welcome pack with details of the size of property you are eligible for. Once we have received all the relevant documents to support your application you will then be able to ‘bid’ for available properties on the Homes First Lettings website with assistance being available where needed.

If you would like to mutually exchange you can register on the Homeswapper website and advertise your property on the scheme. You will be able to view details of properties of other tenants wanting to move. There is no charge to advertise. You may also wish to use other methods such as advertising in local shops or magazines in the area you want to move to. Once agreed, both parties are required to complete a mutual exchange application form. If the person you swap with has a different landlord you should ask them to supply their landlord consent form.

If you don’t agree with any decision relating to your Tenants Incentive Scheme application please contact us and we will arrange a review of the decision.

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