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Drop into Home Swap on Wednesday 25 May - 16/05/17
Hull City Council tenants and people who live in housing association properties in the city, and are interested in moving home, are invited to Home Swap, which takes place at Hull City Hall on Wednesday 25 May from 10am – 4pm.

The event is being held in association with HouseExchange, a national mutual exchange website which is exclusively for social housing tenants, who may be considering a house move through mutual exchange. The Council and representatives from housing associations which are active locally will be there, as well as specialists who can advise on how mutual exchange works, provide financial advice, and give you tips on how to make the best of marketing your home for exchange. Short talks covering these topics will run throughout the day.

People will be able see homes already on-line for exchange or register their own home for exchange onto the Home Exchange. Tenants who register their home at Home Swap will automatically be entered into a prize draw to win one of two pairs of tickets for the Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott concert at KCOM Lightstream Stadium on Saturday 3 June, courtesy of Hull 2017.

HouseExchange will show its newly launched app which gives direct access to its website either through a mobile phone or tablet so people looking to exchange can check out the latest homes registered from home or on the move, and at any time. Visitors should make sure they bring their mobile phone.

As well as offering the chance to find out more about a mutual exchange, there will be information about properties which are currently available to rent from the Council and local housing associations. Quids In, specialists in helping people to manage their money will be there as well as Energy Champions, and there will be information about Hull's new extra care properties and homes in the city which are currently empty and to let.

Encouraging mutual exchange can free up homes suitable for growing families, as “empty nesters” opt for a smaller property, which frees up much needed bigger homes for growing families. For downsizers who claim Housing Benefit and trade down to not having a spare bedroom means that they don’t face having the "Bedroom Tax." This is payment taken out from their benefits when they are classed as having a spare bedroom that is classed as additional to their needs. Downsizers also pay less rent because they are swapping to live in a smaller home.

Paul’s home swap beats the ‘Bedroom Tax’ and he pays less rent.
Bransholme resident Paul Reynolds is one of Hull City Council’s tenants who has downsized through House Exchange.

Due to a change in circumstances, Paul found he was subject to paying the "Bedroom Tax" on his two-bedroom, mid-terrace house. He is active in his local community and very happy living on Bransholme so he wanted to stay local. In fact, using the mutual exchange service offered by House Exchange Paul found the ideal one bedroom flat less than half a mile away. The flat’s tenants needed a bigger home and wanted a garden (something Paul hated doing!) so they mutually agreed to swap homes. A great result for both parties.
As soon as the agreement was made, each party contacted their local housing team at Hull City Council. Various checks were made to each property, including financial, repairs, gas and electric supplies. Within three weeks of the initial agreement to swap homes, keys were exchanged and they moved into their new properties the very same day. Paul downsized thereby freeing up a larger home for a family.

“Overall,” said Paul, “I found it a simple and painless process. I read an article in the Council’s tenants’ newsletter Hull Housing News, about the "Bedroom Tax" and how a mutually agreed housing exchange may be the answer to avoid having to pay it. It gave the House Exchange website, so I registered my property. Straight away, I had two inquiries and viewings and swapped with the second couple who came along. With help from the North Carr area housing team to sort out the paperwork for both parties, the exchange went ahead very smoothly.”

Paul added, “It’s a win-win all the way for me! I stay living on Bransholme. I don’t have to pay Bedroom Tax and by downsizing to a one bedroom my rent is cheaper saving me over £500 a year.”

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