Angus Council’s decades-old housing waiting list rules are to be radically overhauled in a bid to ensure more properties are occupied.
The local authority will shortly be introducing a new choice based letting system, pioneered in the Netherlands, which will let prospective tenants “bid” against others for available homes.
An Angus Council spokeswoman said: “There are various reasons why tenants may refuse offers of accommodation and that is their right to do so in terms of exercising choice, however this may mean that they remain longer on the waiting list.”
She said the choice based lettings system was more transparent and allowed the tenant to take a more pro-active role.
“It puts more control over decision and choice with the customer, in that they can bid for properties from all that are available themselves, instead of having to wait for us to offer particular properties that we think meet their needs,” she said.
Bill Bowman MSP.Figures released under freedom of information found applicants in Angus turned down 1,668 offers in the past three years despite an apparent housing crisis.
The majority didn’t bother to reply while others refused because the location of the property was “unacceptable”. Reasons given included lack of a garden and wrong type of heating.
North East region Scottish Conservative MSP Bill Bowman said: “Tastes may change but the majority of council housing is solid and built to last.
“It should be snapped up because there is overwhelming demand.
“Housing lists must ensure a steady supply of homes for those who need them most.
“If they stall because housing isn’t wanted, councils need to look at the reasons why.”
Choice-based lettings was introduced in the UK in the early 2000s.
Statistics show many properties are subject to hundreds of bids.
Last year it emerged that almost 800 people were chasing a single council property in Leeds before it was awarded to a tenant.
Across Scotland there are 76,000 people on local authority waiting lists with just over 2,000 of them in Angus.