STRICTER penalties for council house tenants looking to move property are to be considered by the council.

Currently, 1,359 people are on the Housing Register and 98 bids were made for each vacant home between September and December, 2017.

At a cabinet meeting on February 1, Epping Forest District councillors will decide whether to adoptt punitive measure designed to reduce the wait.

Under the current scheme, home seekers who refuse two offers of suitable accommodation after expressing an interest have their application deferred for 12 months.

Under new rules, any applicant who refuses two suitable offers faces deferral for two years.

Council tenants looking to downsize who refuse three offers of suitable accommodation currently face a year of deferral.

In a bid to encourage tenants to move into smaller homes, officers have recommended that figure be increased to four.

In 2016/17, 130 applicants rejected one downsizing offer and 15 applicants turned down two.

If councillors vote through the proposals, they will come into effect on July 1, 2018.