Teenagers and young adults in families on the housing waiting list may have to share bedrooms under plans being considered by Bracknell Forest Council.

Currently, families waiting for housing through the council are allocated a separate bedroom for each child. But council leaders are considering new rules that say children, teenagers and young people will have to share with a sibling.

Council plans say the change is aimed at reducing the waiting list for larger homes. The plans say waiting times for larger homes are “disproportionately longer for families with 3+ children, compared to smaller properties.”

If the new rules are approved siblings of the same sex aged between 10 and 20 will have to pair up and share two to a bedroom. Pairs of children under 10 will also have to share regardless of their sex.

Non-dependent adults aged 21 and older will have to apply for housing in their own right.

READ MORE: Plans revealed for homeless accommodation in Bracknell

Proposals say this will reduce the waiting list for three and four bedroom homes, speeding up the wait for larger families with the greatest need.

They say: “The proposals are justified as they will ensure that overcrowded households with dependent children who are most likely to suffer negative impacts on their health, welfare and education, will be prioritised for rehousing.”

But the plans also acknowledge that the change will most affect families headed by people aged between 24 and 44, female-headed households, and “women in maternity” as these are “over-represented among households with two or more dependent children.”

They also say the plans to exclude “non-dependent” household members from housing applications could “impact more on ethnic or religious groups where extended households that include non-dependent adults are more common.”

The plans do not suggest that families already in homes provided through the council will be forced to move. But families already housed through the council that want to downsize will be given priority on the waiting list. The council hopes this will encourage families to move, freeing up larger houses.

Other changes in the works include reducing the length of time people need to have lived in Bracknell Forest before they are eligible for housing from four years to two.

This is aimed at reducing the number of families who apply as homeless, as rules say homeless people only need to have lived in the borough for six months before being eligible.

Households in work will no longer have priority over those who are unemployed, and an income cap will be introduced to exclude people “who can potentially resolve their own housing need.”

Bracknell Forest’s leading group of councillors – its executive committee – will vote on the plans on Tuesday, November 14.