DownsizingAre you worried about the cuts to your benefits or struggling to afford to live in your home with rising fuels costs?

Is your home the ‘Perfect Fit’?

As of April 2013 the Government started to make changes to Housing Benefit, for anyone of working age considered to be under occupying their homes.

Check to see if your home is a perfect fit

Household Number of bedrooms *
Single person or couple with no children 1 bed home
Lone parent or couple and 1 child 2 bed home
Lone parent or couple and 2 children of same sex both under 16 2 bed home
Lone parent or couple and 2 children of same sex of which one is 16+ 3 bed home
Lone parent or couple and 2 children of different sexes where both are aged 9 and under 2 bed home
Lone parent or couple and 2 children of different sexes where one is aged 10 or over 3 bed home
Lone parent or couple and 3 children 3 bed home

 

*An additional bedroom is allowed if a non-resident overnight carer is essential (evidence required) to provide care to a disabled household member.

If you are aged 61 or over then you will not be subject to under occupancy housing benefit cuts.

Are you struggling to afford the rising fuel bills?

If you are finding it difficult to make ends meet, have you thought about downsizing to a smaller house that could be cheaper to run?

Potential Savings

This table give some example costs for water, gas and electricity over a year and shows what savings you could make from downsizing:

Property Size Water
(per year)
Gas
(per year)
Electricity
(per year)
Total
(per year)
4 bedrooms £460 £1,302.10 £863.40 £2,625.50
3 bedrooms £471 £1,122.50 £791.45 £2,384.95
2 bedrooms £403 £673.50 £575.60 £1,652.10
1 bedroom £361 £449 £359.75 £1,169.75

Water rates taken from www.whatprice.co.uk. Figures for gas and electric are taken from The Energy Saving Trust and are an average as prices vary according to which utility company and how much fuel you use.

How do I look for a smaller home?

There are a number of ways to look for a smaller home.

RFH Transfers

If you let us know that you are looking to downsize, we can add you to our Downsizing Register.

Where possible we will contact tenants on our Downsizing Register and offer them first refusal on a smaller property, on a first come first service basis.

Moving to another Housing Association or Local Authority Property

You can register with your local ‘Choice Based Lettings’ scheme which will allow you to “bid” on properties that are owned by different landlords as well as RFH. We can help you with the process.

Please remember that although this will give you access to a larger choice of properties, there will be lots of other people looking for homes, some of whom may have a higher priority than you.

Mutual Exchange

You can look for other people who would like to exchange homes. See our Mutual Exchanges policy.

mutual exchange

The best way of doing this is to register with Homeswapper, which is a free on line national website that helps match you with a new home that will be a perfect fit.

The process is quick and easy. If you need help registering with Homeswapper, please come into our offices and we will be able to assist.

Remember – If you are looking to exchange with a tenant from another landlord, that landlord also has to agree to the exchange taking place.

Before helping you we would need to carry out an inspection of your current home. If you are liable for any repairs they would need to be completed to our satisfaction before your move. We would not authorise the exchange if you had rent arrears or a sundry debt. These would need to be cleared first.

Costs associated with moving

There are various costs associated with moving house, we have outlined the average costs below:

Service Average Cost
Removals £350
Redirect Post (3 months) £24.99
Telephone reconnection £30

Should you be worried that the cost of moving will outweigh the savings of downsizing, we are able to provide advice and support and may also be able to help with some of the costs involved.

You may also be able to get some help through Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP). Click here for more information on Discretionary Housing Payments

How can we help with the cost of moving?

We may be able to help if you are under occupying your home and want to move to a smaller property. We can offer help in a number of ways, ie:

  • A one off cash payment of £500
  • Part cash payment and assistance
  • Assistance only

Assistance will be to the value of the total eligible cash payment and can include for example:

  • Removals
  • Disconnection and reconnection of kitchen appliances
  • Provision of a skip to enable you to dispose of unwanted belongings

In order to qualify for this payment you need to:

  • Have a full assured tenancy of your current home
  • Keep a clear rent account for at least three months
  • Have a clear rent account when an offer of a smaller home is made
  • Have kept to the terms of your Tenancy Agreement
  • Be moving to a property that is a ‘perfect fit’

Please speak to your Housing Officer for more information about moving to a smaller property and how we can help.

Please be aware that we will not accept applications to move if it would result in your household becoming over crowded or, in the case of a mutual exchange, the exchange would result in the incoming tenant under-occupying the property.