30 May 2013

Trade places for the perfect housing match

Get the right home for you, avoid benefit cuts and help house an overcrowded family.

More than 950 Brighton and Hove council tenants face reductions in their housing benefit under the government’s under-occupancy rules. But tenants facing the reduction could benefit by swapping their homes for a smaller ones that match their needs. The move could also help another household move from an overcrowded home to one more suitable to their needs.

Brighton & Hove City Council and local housing association tenants can find out more at our mutual exchange scheme information day on Wednesday 29 May at Sloane Court, Park Street, Brighton, BN2 0DG (10am-2pm).

Normally the council will agree an exchange for secure tenants (see pages 8 and 42 of our tenant handbook for more information about secure tenancies) where:

both properties match the needs of the exchanging tenants (if you receive Housing Benefit it is important that you read about the changes being introduced from April 2013), and
neither tenant is having legal action taken against them for breaking the terms of their tenancy e.g. for rent arrears

Cllr Bill Randall, Chair of Housing, Brighton & Hove City Council said: “Our mutual exchange scheme is one of the ways we are helping tenants adversely affected by the Government’s welfare changes.  We have actively contacted the 972 households affected by phone and letter to advise them on how we and our partners can help. We have also made home visits that have been very effective in ensuring that we are speaking directly with those people most affected. We will continue to do everything we can to help tenants facing hardship.”

Case study – mutual exchange of an under occupied three bed house (BN2) for a over occupied two bed flat in a more central location (BN1)

Andrew Mundy, married with three children

We had two children in a two bed flat and my wife was pregnant with our third so we were overcrowded. We moved to a three bedroom house with a garden and driveway which is much more spacious and a bigger kitchen.

Most days we use the garden and the kids have a trampoline out there so they love the garden and the driveway is great because I need a car for work.

 Ian – Father of Mr Mark Patrick

I lived in the house with my son and daughter but my daughter left and because my legs were deteriorating I struggled with the stairs and couldn’t take care of the garden.  So we exchanged our house for a flat and I am much happier now.

It’s a lovely flat in a lovely area with very nice neighbours. I am also happy that the family we swapped with are not trapped in a flat without a garden, but have space to live in and play.

The work in the flat has been excellent – the workmen were very tidy and friendly. My son and I were apprehensive about it at first but when we saw the flat we loved it. I would recommend this scheme to anyone.

Notes to Editors

Check out the mutual exchanges Facebook page www.facebook.com/groups/councilexchanges