'Speed dating' homes swap event for Oxford tenants

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A 'speed dating' event is being held for council and housing association tenants in Oxford who want to swap their homes.

People who want to downsize to avoid a penalty for under-occupying their home or find a bigger property are invited to the event at Oxford Town Hall later.

Tenants who find suitable "matches" can then apply to swap homes.

Housing benefit for eligible social housing tenants with spare bedrooms was cut by an average £14 a week in April.

More than 70 people have registered an interest in swapping properties with Oxford City Council's Welfare Reform Team since the changes to housing benefit came into force.

Save costs

Each participant in the event must wear a badge containing details of their home and the type of property they want to move to.

They are also asked to take two photographs of their home with them.

City councillor Scott Seamons said: "We know that many people in Oxford are desperate to move to get the right property for the size of their household and to save costs.

"The speed dating event will hopefully show how swapping homes could be the answer they've been looking for."

Applicants must get permission from their landlord before applying to exchange their home.

The 'speed dating' event is one of five being held for tenants in Oxford.

James Pickering from the council's Welfare Reform Team said: "It does offer something different.

"It won't change the world but it might help a number of families who are wanting to move."

The government wants to end what it calls the "spare room subsidy" for social tenants, but the move has been branded a "bedroom tax" by critics.

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