5 January 2016

‘Downsizing’ council homes scheme set to be extended

More family-sized council homes in Brighton & Hove could become available to families in need through a new scheme.

Brighton & Hove City Council already offers tenants in larger homes financial incentives to ‘downsize’ to smaller homes through its Homemove scheme.

At a meeting on Wednesday 13 January councillors will consider a recommendation to extend this scheme to tenants who would instead prefer to downsize through a mutual exchange.

The proposal follows consultation with tenants that gave very positive feedback to the plan.

Mutual exchanges can be a faster process than a Homemove transfer. They can also save the council money that would otherwise be spent on empty property repairs, and make better use of the council’s housing stock.

Similar moves elsewhere have proved successful. In Cambridge exchanges between 20 families needing larger homes and 20 downsizing households have taken place in the first year of their scheme.

The chair of the council’s housing and new homes committee, Councillor Anne Meadows, said: “We have more than 400 overcrowded households but also more than 700 under-occupying households.

“I think this is a very sensible, common-sense proposal that could benefit all parties.”

See here for the reports for the housing and new homes committee. The report relating to mutual exchange incentives is Item 55.