Homeless turn down council house offers due to ‘decor’ concerns

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HUNDREDS of homeless Scots have turned down offers of council houses amid complaints they don’t like the decor and the garden is too big.

New figures show out of 538 offers made to homeless people in Dunfermline, Fife, 242 were refused last year.

Nearly half of these were classed as ‘priority homeless applicants’ by the council.

Fife council’s housing team leader Alistair Black said applicants didn’t want to move into certain areas or streets.

The council has now changed its policy to combat applicants refusing their first offer to hold out for better accommodation.

He said their people on the housing waiting list had expectations which exceeded what the council could offer.

He said: “The reason for refusal might be the applicant may not want a property in the estates or street offered to them and refuse on this basis.

“They may also not like the type of property offered. It might be due to decoration or too large a garden or even no garden and refuse on this basis.”

“Also housing applicants expectations exceed what the council can realistically offer, generally flats or four-in-a-block accommodation.”

Fife council changed its policy on making offers of accommodation to homeless people in December last year.

It used to be the case that priority need homeless would recieve two offers of accomodation under homelessness legislation.

Mr Black explained: “Sometimes applicants felt that they could hold out for a better offer and refuse their first offer and refuse their first offer.

“As a result on December 5 council policy was changed and priority need homeless applicants can only receive one fair offer under homeless legislation and if this offer is refused they can still receive a second offer but only as a mainstream housing applicant and the homeless priority is removed.”

He said new schemes by supporting homeless people had reduced the need to house applicants by around 30%.

Mr Black continued: “It’s hoped that the project will have a similar impact on the Dunfermline area. There might be reduced pressure on housing lists.”

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