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May 01 2013

Harrow Council’s Mutual Exchange event is big success

harrow_council_logo2Harrow Council and housing association tenants looking for new homes were given vital advice during a Mutual Exchange event.

The event, which proved very popular, offered Council and housing association tenants the chance to swap to smaller or larger homes. More than 130 tenants visited the drop-in session at Harrow Civic Centre on Tuesday (April 23).

They were able to look at details of properties that people wanted to move out of, which were advertised on notice boards, register their interest in swapping that house with their own and get advice from housing experts.

In a mutual exchange, two or more tenants exchange their homes and take on the terms of each other’s tenancy. It can be a good option for a family looking to move to a larger property, and a couple or single person who want to move to somewhere smaller and more manageable, or in a different location, due to a change in personal or financial circumstances e.g. arising from welfare reforms.

Tenants attending the event also found out about other schemes that are being considered to help Council tenants who want to find new homes, either in the private sector or elsewhere, including incentives to move to a smaller home.

Other organistations on hand at the event include Exchange Locata, an online social housing exchange service for tenants and landlords; the GLA, who were promoting their Housing Moves and Seaside and Country Homes scheme; and Girlings lettings agency. Harrow Council’s sheltered accomodation service also had a stand offering information.

Harrow Council Portfolio Holder for Housing Cllr Bob Currie said: “I was pleased to see this event so well attended. Tenants in Harrow are being faced with huge changes to their circumstances at the moment, we need to make sure they know what options they have. I hope that following this event some tenants are able to find the ideal property that they have been waiting for.”

Joanne Akoto from Stanmore said: “I’m looking for a larger property and have been on the waiting list for eight years. This event has been really useful for me, particularly seeing what other people’s preferences are and the types of properties available. There seem to be a few people looking to downsize – bedroom tax is forcing people to move into smaller properties.”

Tenant Asha Wall has been waiting 10 years for a new property. She said: “There are a number of options that have been made available to me through this event and I have definitely found out about things I didn’t know about before. Its hard being on the waiting list for 10 years and getting nowhere so having the option of getting an exchange or incentive to buy your own property is good.”

Tenants will find out whether their exchange can go ahead in the coming weeks. Harrow Council hopes to hold another similar event later this year.

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