Mutual Exchange Policy Review

Closed 4 Dec 2018

Opened 1 Nov 2018

Feedback Updated 10 Jan 2019

We Asked

Winchester City Council are reviewing the Mutual Exchange policy that allows council tenants to complete a mutual exchange to a property with one bedroom more than their assessed bedroom need. We wanted to get tenant’s views on the current policy and the proposed change. 

The questions asked were split into different categories;

  • The Policy, how you as tenants feel about the current policy and the possible change.
  • Your Mutual Exchange experience, were you kept up-to-date and how you felt about the process.
  • The HomeSwapper service, are you aware of the service, have you used it, did you find it useful?

You Said

We had 357 completed responses representing a wide selection of all tenants.                

Age breakdown of respondents.

16 - 34

15%

35 - 44

15%

45 - 54

19%

55 - 64

22%

65 - 74

20%

75+

8%

Prefer not to say

0.6%

Below is a summary of some of the responses.

The Policy

Do you think it’s fair that you can complete a mutual exchange to a property which has more bedrooms than the tenant needs, when applicants on the Council’s housing register don’t?

Yes

47%

No

52%

Not Answered

1%

Do you agree with the council taking away the option of mutual exchanging to a property with more bedrooms than are needed?

Strongly Agree

23%

Agree

17%

Neither Agree nor Disagree

20%

Disagree

16%

Strongly Disagree

24%

Not Answered

0.60%

It is clear from the questions relating to the policy that tenants opinion is divided evenly.

39% either agree or strongly agree to the proposed policy change, whereas 40% either disagree or strongly disagree.

There were 142 responses in the free text box. Again, these responses were very mixed. A lot of the comments said that it depends on individual circumstances, for example; family taking on caring responsibilities for other family members, someone with a disability needing the room for equipment, medical supplies or a carer to stay, a family planning for their future need for more children. While the opposing view made it clear that the shortage of social housing should be a factor and that there are families who need the extra bedroom immediately.

Your Mutual Exchange Experience

Were you kept up to date during the exchange process?

Yes

84%

No

14%

Not Answered

2%

Would it have been useful to be able to track the progress of your application from start to finish online?

Yes

90%

No

8%

Not Answered

3%

The majority of tenants who have completed a mutual exchange felt they were kept up to date during the process. But the majority would have found it useful to be able to track the progress online. This is not currently something that is available.

Some of the comments that were given in the free text box suggest that the process took longer than anticipated. Comments also suggested that the rights of the incoming tenant when alterations have been made to the property by the previous tenant needs to be made much clearer.

 

HomeSwapper Service


If you answered yes to having used the HomeSwapper service, did you find your exchange partner and move by using the HomeSwapper service?

Yes

32%

No

66%

Not Answered

3%

If you answered yes to having used the HomeSwapper service how would you rate it?

Highly Satisfied

12%

Satisfied

34%

Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied

27%

Dissatisfied

17%

Very Dissatisfied

9%

Not Answered

0.70%

While 66% of respondents did not find their exchange partner through the HomeSwapper service, when it is used 46% of people were either satisfied or highly satisfied with the service compared with 26% dissatisfied or very dissatisfied.

We Did

As stated above there has not been a clear view one way or another to the questions regarding the policy and potential change. The current policy is still being reviewed and the results of this consultation will be taken to the Housing Cabinet for further discussion.

The possibility of being able to track your mutual exchange online throughout the process is being looked into.  

Further consultation will take place in the New Year to discuss process mapping. This will all go towards making the whole process smoother and clearer for tenants.  

A meeting has been planned with a representative from the HomeSwapper Service to discuss the results from this consultation.

When analysing the responses, if a tenant has made a comment that requires further investigation, they are being contacted via the email address supplied in the survey.

Overview

Currently Winchester City Council's mutual exchange policy allows council tenants to move to a property with one bedroom more than their assessed bedroom need.

Winchester City Council is currently reviewing this policy. The Council’s allocations framework was amended in 2015 to ensure that properties allocated to applicants were in line with their actual housing need.  Also in 2013, Housing Benefit changed under the Social Sector Size Criteria. This means those households who are under occupying their home have a reduction in their housing benefit entitlement and pay a rent charge for any extra bedrooms.

Why We Are Consulting

We are considering amending our policy to bring it in line with these legislative changes and also mirror what other local housing providers offer.

We want to get tenant’s views on our current policy and the proposed change. 

Please give us your views by completing the online survey below by Tuesday 4th December 2018.

As a thank you for taking part in this survey, we would like to offer a randomly selected Winchester City Council tenant a £50 ‘Love2Shop’ shopping voucher for participating & submitting their details.

 

Areas

  • All Areas

Audiences

  • Council Tenants

Interests

  • Social Housing