Behave or face eviction

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LEYTHERS who cause anti-social behaviour will be shut out of social housing.

A review being undertaken by Wigan Council could see yobs convicted of anti-social behaviour, tenants who damage their rented properties or those who have persistently failed to pay rent on time barred from council properties.

The proposed changes will also see:

l People who have only recently moved to the borough given low priority on the Housing Register

l Anyone who refuses three reasonable offers of accommodation will have their application suspended,

l Leigh’s soldiers will continue to be given top priority in being found somewhere to live.

The suggestions are part of a consultation being undertaken after the Government’s Localism Bill gave councils more powers to decide how they allocate social housing and who can be disqualified from becoming a tenant.

The council’s head of housing, Peter Layland, said: “We can now consider getting tougher with people who cause problems on our estates.

“The proposals mean people previously involved in anti-social behaviour would not be accepted onto the Housing Register until they could demonstrate that their behaviour had improved.”

The changes follow revisions to the council’s housing policy in January 2011, which marked the local authority and Greater Manchester Police working together to take a much tougher line against anti-social behaviour.

Over the past 12 months 144 people have been excluded from the Housing Register, compared to 28 in 2009/10.

Wigan Council is also keen to hear the views of as many people as possible, and is urging residents to submit their opinions to the consultation.

Wigan Council cabinet member for housing, Coun Chris Ready, said: “I’m well aware of a selfish minority who cause nuisance for the vast majority of our tenants.

“It’s reasonable to ask why we should automatically rehouse who act in this way. The changes suggested also send a very clear message to those who owe us for rent arrears or for damaging our properties – pay what you owe or forget about being rehoused.

“We’re getting tough with those who are selfish and irresponsible and make life a misery for others through their anti-social behaviour. I want to see fairness and common sense in the process.”

Coun Ready also praised the continued commitment to supporting former military personnel in the housing policy.

He said: “I am pleased to see that the proposed Housing Allocations Policy continues to support our ex-servicemen and women.

“Wigan Council was one of the first in the country to give veterans top priority for re-housing and we are delighted to see that this policy will continue.”

To view the policy changes and comment on them, visit the Wigan and Leigh Housing Property Shop on Market Street in Leigh or log on to www.propertyshop.walh.co.uk