Reducing housing benefit may increase demand for houseswaps

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House swapping in the Borders should become a lot easier in future for tenants of the four Scottish Borders registered social landlords.

Berwickshire Housing Association, Eildon Housing Association, Scottish Borders Housing Association and Waverley Housing have joined up with the UK wide mutual exchange service, HomeSwapper, to make it easier for their 11,000 tenants to search for a new home of the right size and type located anywhere in the country.

From April 1, this year, working-age tenants living in social rented housing will get less housing benefit if they are living in homes which are considered too big for their household needs. Some tenants have already indicated that they would move to a smaller home if one was available, Berwickshire Housing Association’s chief executive, Helen Forsyth explaining: “About 70 per cent of tenants would like to move to a smaller property once their family has grown up.” Other tenants indicate that they will be unable to make up the shortfall in their rent as a result of reduced housing benefit.

Jean Gray, customer services director with Berwickshire Housing Association said: “HomeSwapper is not only a hugely popular service across the UK but it is achieving results for both its tenant members and landlord partners - more than 29,000 households are swapping every year through the service – so it really is helping to improve social mobility across the country.”

“By joining HomeSwapper, all four landlords have extended the housing options provided to their tenants – tenants now have the option to find new homes not only in this area but across the whole of the UK. Finding a new home through HomeSwapper can be much quicker than waiting on a housing list.”