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Number of social housing tenants swapping homes due to bedroom tax up by a quarter

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Number of social housing tenants swapping homes due to bedroom tax up by a quarter

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Published by Jon Land for 24dash.com in Housing

Number of social housing tenants swapping homes due to bedroom tax up by a quarter Number of social housing tenants swapping homes due to bedroom tax up by a quarter

The number of social housing tenants using home-swapping services as a result of welfare reform has risen by a quarter in the last 12 months, according to new figures.

The statistics from Housing Partners, the comapny behind the mutual exchange platform HomeSwapper, show that the number of tenants successfully swapping homes has risen by nearly 6,000 in the past 12 months - an increase of 25% on April 2013, the month when the bedroom tax was introduced.

The data also shows that there are almost 200,000 one and two-bedroom social housing properties available through HomeSwapper for those looking to downsize.

Richard Blundell, chief executive of Housing Partners, said: “The number of successful swaps has risen significantly from 21,725 for the year ending in April 2013 to 27,152 at the same point this year.

"With many tenants looking at ways to manage with the added rent costs, it is clear that mutual exchange is fast becoming the best solution to find them a more appropriate home.”

“Despite recent reports of a lack of smaller social homes, we have noticed a consistently high number available through HomeSwapper.

"Of the 305,685 properties registered on the site, there are a total of 55,158 one bedroom and 140,182 two bedroom homes, so housing choice is there for people who need to move. It is important that those looking to downsize are aware of the options available through mutual exchange.”

“We believe that registered providers should do everything they can to encourage and support their tenants in using mutual exchange services more. The benefits are clear for both sides. Landlords can make valuable cost savings by limiting void costs and rent arrears, while tenants can avoid paying for bedrooms they don’t use. Ultimately, this supports properties being allocated to those most in need.”

Mutual exchange services allow tenants to swap homes with another social housing resident. Any council or housing association tenant can swap homes with any other in the UK providing they have the right to mutual exchange and it is agreed by the landlord.

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