COUNCIL chiefs have launched a new attempt to ease the shortage of social housing in the New Forest.

New tenants will be handed five-year, fixed-term contracts in a bid to reduce under-occupation and encourage better off families to explore other housing options.

Tenancies will not normally be renewed if householders are found to be living in the wrong type of property, can afford private sector accommodation, or have repeatedly breached their tenancy conditions.

The strategy will come into force early next year – but only for new social housing tenants.

Existing tenants will still be allowed to occupy their home for life. Householders over the age of 65, people with significant learning difficulties and those with a serious disability will also continue to have a lifetime tenancy.

The council’s cabinet members also approved changes to the Homesearch allocations scheme.

People with no connection to the Forest, or those with a history of antisocial behaviour, will be removed from the housing waiting list.