Increase in 'house swaps' due to lack of social housing
Significant numbers of people are looking to switch to a smaller home
Alex Johnson has been part of The Independent's online team since 2007. He has been writing about microarchitecture on his internationally-acclaimed Shedworking blog since 2006 and is the author of Shedworking: The Alternative Workplace Revolution. His latest book is Bookshelf, published by Thames & Hudson.
Tuesday 26 March 2013
Website houseexchange.org.uk matches up social housing tenants looking to switch homes. It received a record quarter of a million visits last month and says it is prepared for an increase in demand following the introduction of the under-occupation penalty (or 'bedroom tax') next month.
Mike Ward from Circle Housing Group which runs the website said that a lack of social housing is driving more people than ever to swap their homes. "Many social housing tenants are desperate to move so they can find work, save on costs, or get the right property for the size of their household," he said.
The site facilitates home swaps between councils and housing association tenants with the right to mutually exchange. It has seen a significant rise in the percentage of visitors using the site to switch to a smaller home, up to 16 per cent compared with 9 per cent two years ago.
660,000 people living in social housing will lose an average of £728 per year as a result of changes to the benefit system according to estimates from The Department for Work and Pensions.
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