Cabinet to Consider Housing Policy for Bereaved Families
A policy allowing a grace period for payment of rent following the death of a tenant will be put before South Tyneside Council's Cabinet next week.
The policy sets out what bereaved families can expect after the death of a loved one, and how the council would deal with the termination of a tenancy.
A two-week grace period will be recommended, during which time families will not be responsible for paying any rent for the property.
Cllr Jim Foreman, Lead Member for Housing and Community Safety, said: "When a tenant has sadly died, it takes two weeks on average for families to return the keys to a property.
"Discretion is already used in some cases, however without a policy, there is some inconsistency in how this is applied, which can bring unnecessary stress and worry at an already difficult time.
"This policy would ensure that bereaved relatives had the reassurance of support without additional financial burden, whilst still allowing much-needed council homes to be re-let without undue delay."
The policy has been developed following a motion to full Council in July 2021 requesting a procedure for a grace period of 28 days. This was passed in an amended form, whereby a financial assessment would take place to gauge the impact on the Housing Revenue Account.
The implementation of the two-week policy would result in a loss to the Housing Revenue Account of approximately £25,000 per year.
The policy would also waive the four-week notice period that is required to terminate a tenancy and rent for this period would not be payable.
Cllr Foreman added: "This policy strikes a balance between ensuring that families are treated with compassion, without significant impact on the already-pressured Housing Revenue Account."