“There are more opportunities for tenants of local social housing to move to smaller or bigger homes than most of us realise,” said MP Peter Lilley, after obtaining previously unpublished figures. “These show that despite the removal of the spare room subsidy there are more tenants wanting to move from small properties to large than vice versa.”
Peter Lilley said, “Many social housing tenants seek my help to move to more suitable properties. It is heartrending when neither I nor the council can find them the home they need. Most have wanted more rooms because of growing families, but all the publicity recently has been about people who want smaller properties because of the spare room subsidy. So to find the facts I asked HomeSwapper, whose service is available to tenants in St Albans, how many local people were looking to swap homes on their website.
“It turns out 119 households are currently seeking larger properties – slightly more than the 114 looking to downsize. And at least 62 (probably far more since most successful swaps are not reported) have swapped homes in the last year. A total of 918 St Albans residents are registered on the site – including many looking for similar sized properties nearer relatives, work or schools.
“I confess I had not realised this online service was available, and I suspect many people who would like to move don’t know either. So I shall draw it to constituents’ attention in future. A successful swap means two families are better housed. And it saves the council money.”