The council is considering new plans to ban antisocial tenants from accessing affordable housing for up to ten years.

Currently, tenants who have been evicted due to antisocial behaviour are banned from accessing the housing register for three years.

But Reading Borough Council (RBC) is now considering increasing this to a standard of between five and 10 years.

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The proposal is one of several that is set to be consulted on, with the council to vote on whether to approve the schemes for public consultation next week.

The report, ahead of next Wednesday’s (March 10) Housing Neighbourhoods and Leisure committee, states: “Since the introduction of this sanction a number of individuals have been identified that have been previously evicted due to serious, threatening or violent behaviours which have not been addressed, who have now seen this sanction expire and are now able to re-join the register.

“It is proposed that a review process is introduced that considers whether individual applicant behaviours are likely to make them unsuitable to be a tenant subsequent to serious antisocial behaviour, and that the length of time for which they should be sanctioned from accessing the housing register should be consulted upon with a proposal of a standard between five and ten years.”

If the plans are approved next week, there will be an eight-week public consultation and the council hopes to publish a new scheme this summer.

Greater priority for key workers

Another plan being considered is to give key workers greater priority for affordable housing through the creation of a quota queue.

RBC says it wants to “ensure that this group have access to affordable homes, whilst supporting the creation of more mixed communities, as such addressing the long-term sustainability of neighbourhoods”.

Key workers are classed as essential workers, such as social workers, teachers, health, and care workers, police and fire officers, where there may be skill shortages in the local area.

The changes could include making an exception to the three-year residency criteria required to join the housing register and fixed-term tenancies for specific key worker housing schemes such as the development at Arthur Hill to ensure that properties remain available for key workers in the longer term.

Reading Chronicle: PICTURED: The former Arthur Hill swimming pool, where key worker homes are being builtPICTURED: The former Arthur Hill swimming pool, where key worker homes are being built

At the end of the fixed period they would be assisted to move on into alternative accommodation such as shared ownership.

Making it easier to move

The council is also considering making it easier for its tenants to move to a new house.

It is proposing that all RBC tenants are given a level of priority should they wish to move and access the housing register, to ensure the council is supporting tenants to live in the most suitable home for their household.

Reading Chronicle: Moving House

RBC also wants to increase the priority further for severely overcrowded tenants.

It says improved tenant mobility can support local economies and tenant outcomes by improving tenants’ physical access to work and services such as hospitals and schools.

It would also make better use of stock, by reducing under-occupation, and would improve satisfaction and quality of life and give tenants a greater sense of fairness and investment in their home and community, the council added.

Clear and fair housing allocations

The council also wants to make allocations of social housing clearer and fairer by reducing the number of bands to simplify the system and creating a separate register for those that require adapted homes.

It says a separate Adapted Housing Register will help the council to better identify what the need is for adapted properties in Reading.

Other plans

RBC is also looking to carry out a review of its current local lettings policies across the town to determine whether they are meeting the needs of their community, residents and prospective tenants.

And it is considering introducing pre-tenancy workshops to help tenants to be better able to cope with the demands of managing a tenancy.

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These plans will not be part of a consultation.