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Social housing residents in Bedfordshire are being offered the opportunity to move into a new home anywhere in the country through a new online exchange service that matches tenants to homes.
Aragon Housing Association, along with bpha and Luton Borough Council homes are running a new scheme through the Bedfordshire House Exchange, which offers Bedfordshire residents a much greater choice of properties to move into and features properties from throughout the UK.
Aileen Evans, Managing Director of Aragon, said that housing associations also benefited from the new system as, by offering a wider choice of homes, more residents are able to find something that suits their needs.
“We would all love to be able to provide our residents with the home of their dreams, but of course, that isn’t always possible. Because it’s available throughout the UK and people can choose the type of home they’re looking for, the new system just makes it so much easier for our residents,” she said.
Judith Pakora, who is the director for customer relations at bpha, said that the introduction of the new site offered many benefits to people looking to change their home.
“This new system makes it much easier for residents to make sure their home meets their needs when it comes to both location and lifestyle,” said Judith.
“For instance, if one resident can no longer cope with stairs in a home or look after their garden, they can exchange property with someone that does want these features – everyone wins.”
“Of course, this doesn’t replace the Choice Based Lettings scheme we have where residents can bid on properties, but what it does do is give everyone that is registered a much wider choice in where they live and the kind of property they live in.”
The new service is free to use for residents of bpha, Aragon, and Luton Borough Council homes, and all they need to do is register their details. Once they have received their login details, they can look for potential homes to swap with someone else.
Aileen Evans added that the ability to swap homes meant waiting lists were shorter and cut down the time it took many people to find a new home.
“It just makes sense to give residents options and let them swap into a new home if they want to – and it saves the organisations involved money too. It can also be so much quicker than waiting for something suitable to come up that they can apply for through the usual methods.”
Judtih Pakora said that all residents are eligible to join Bedfordshire House Exchange site and that there were minimum things they needed to do before they could swap a home.
“As long as a resident doesn’t owe any money on their rent account and they are happy with the condition of the home they are going to move into, we make sure that they get into their new home as soon as possible.”
“All they need to do is complete the forms – get the person they’re swapping with to do the same – and then pass the information to us. We take care of the rest. It really is one of the easiest ways to move.”
Any resident interested in registering on the new site can do so from at http://www.bedfordshire.houseexchange.org.uk?