5 December 2014

Seven households swap homes in time for Christmas

More and more local families are swapping their council homes to combat the government’s under occupation rule, with one family negotiating a seven-way swap before Christmas taking them from a 4-bed house in rural West Sussex to a 3-bed flat in central Brighton.*

More than 100 families have swapped their council homes this year freeing up their much-needed homes. The word is spreading with a number of council lead community ‘swap shops’ planned throughout the city after the success of the first event in 2013.

Potential swappers are invited to St Joseph’s Hall, Milton Road (bottom of Elm Grove) between 12 noon and 4pm on Tuesday 9 December.

Staff from a range of council teams will be on hand to offer advice to help people finding it difficult to identify the right home or person to swap with. There is no obligation for anyone attending. The event is for all council tenants, whether they just want to find out if Mutual Exchange is the answer for them or if they are ready or to move.

All those attending will have the opportunity to enter a free prize draw to win Argos vouchers. Tenants can advertise their home at the event even whether they are not able to attend in person.

Councillor Bill Randall, Chair of Housing, said:

“Brighton & Hove has 19,000 on the waiting list for a home. Anything that can improve the situation is more than welcome. Because of the government’s under occupation rules many tenants are struggling to pay their rent.

“The council’s Mutual Exchange Scheme and the Tenant Incentive Scheme offers some the chance to downsize, while others living in over- crowded conditions can to move to bigger homes.

“For seven households to swap homes in time for Christmas is wonderful.”

*Case study

Janice (not real name) moved from a 4 bedroom house in West Sussex to a 3 bedroom flat in Brighton this year.

Janice has always loved Brighton and has many friends here, so when the opportunity arose to swap she jumped at it. Janice registered her 4 bedroom fully adapted home with her local ‘home swappers’ website,  and within a few days Frankie, a homeowner from Durrington, contacted her to swap.  

However Janice wanted to move to a 3 bedroom flat in Brighton, so now she began the incredible journey involving seven households ending with her move. What must be one of the longest housing chains started and ended in Brighton with households from Manchester, Borehamwood, Bexhill, Shoreham, Durrington and East Preston in between.

Janice said: “It was quite a process but such a wonderful relief when it all worked out in time for Christmas. I had set my heart on this flat. It’s central with great views, I have very close friends here, and the kids love it too. Brighton & Hove council were very helpful: they really helped to make the move as smooth as they could.” 

More information:

Mutual Exchange:

Tenants or housing association residents can register for a mutual exchange with the council on the Brighton & Hove Residents and Tenants Facebook site, where there are all sorts of useful groups including people advertising their property. There are many other sites including Exchangelocata . Once a property has been found and both sides want to swap it will need to be agreed by the council

The Transfer Incentive Scheme (TIS)

Tenants need to be living in a family home with one or more bedrooms that are no longer needed, or an adapted home that is not required. The scheme offers a maximum cash incentive of £2,500, and will be used to pay any existing housing related debts first.  The payment can take up to 6 weeks to process after the move has happened. The Homemove Team are on hand to support tenants throughout the process.