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Cash incentive schemes

This content applies to England

Schemes that provide cash incentives to tenants who move out of social housing to buy or lease a private sector home.

Some social landlords give grants to their tenants to give up their home and buy or lease a home in the private sector, and/or to carry out works to a property to provide additional accommodation.[1] These are discretionary schemes that are referred to as 'portable discount' or 'cash incentive' schemes. Tenants do not have a right to be given a grant under a cash incentive scheme.

An individual registered provider of social housing can decide what rules to have in its scheme; there are no model rules to be followed. However the scheme is subject to approval by the Secretary of State for the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions.

Rules vary according to the individual scheme, but may include:

  • restricting eligibility for the scheme to certain tenants, eg tenants who have not claimed Housing Benefit in the past 12 months or who rent a two bedroom property or larger
  • a limit on the number of grants available
  • fixing the period within which the scheme will apply, for example, the scheme may only operate from one financial year to the next
  • varying the size of the grant depending on whether or not the tenant is acquiring a property inside the local authority's area.

More information about local schemes is available from individual local authorities.

The information on this page applies only to England. Go to Shelter Cymru for information relating to Wales.

[1] s.129 Housing Act 1988.

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