Home swapping to avoid being hit by benefit cuts
- 22 Feb
A house swap scheme has been set up by social landlords to help tenants avoid the full impact of the welfare reforms.
They are hoping for this to be part funded by the government, to help landlords move tenants from high demand areas to lower demand areas in order to avoid benefit cuts.
The Communities and Local Government (CLG) department is considering part-funding the scheme, and it has secured support in principle from around 15 social landlords following a meeting in London on Tuesday.
It is hoped the scheme, which will build on a number of existing projects, will lead to 150 moves a year initially and 1,000 a year in later years, and landlords in high-demand areas will work with those in areas of low-demand to see whether tenants can be moved.
A proposal document by housing association Circle and non-profit company Home Connections suggests the service could help those hit by the bedroom tax and benefit caps.
It could also help people who want to move for work or are homeless or living in overcrowded conditions.
Patrick Odling-Smee, service director of housing needs and strategy at Islington Council, which is backing the project, said welfare reform is the ‘driver' behind the scheme.
This will allow tenants to move out of expensive areas into cheaper areas without moving out of social housing.
Mr Odling-Smee said that under one proposal being discussed, 15 landlords would put in £10,000 each. This would be matched by around £160,000 from the CLG.
Other landlords backing the scheme in principle include Ealing Council, Peabody and Family Mosaic. Further talks are due to take place in Birmingham on 13 March.
Supporters of the proposal believe tenants could be willing to move as a result of increased pressure on their finances due to reforms such as the bedroom tax and caps to local housing allowance.
A spokesperson said the CLG is committed to making it easier for social housing tenants to move and is ‘considering the proposition'.
Source: Inside Housing
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