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Tenants swapping homes on Facebook group

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Tenants renting council houses who are looking to downsize, upsize or move closer to family are using a Facebook group to swap homes.

While most local authorities facilitate mutual transfers of council houses, tenants are finding it quicker to source people on social media.

The practice of swapping homes isn't a council scheme as such but has proven quicker than people waiting on a list for a more suitable home to become available.

Lynn Finnegan has been renting a house in Finglas, Dublin, through Co-operative Housing Ireland and is looking to upsize as she is expecting her second child.

She recently posted in the Facebook group 'council house swap', which has 18,794 members.

There are hundreds of posts from tenants looking to swap homes all over the country.

"I'm looking to swap from a two-bed apartment to a three-bed house as I'm pregnant for the second time after 14 years," she told the Irish Independent.

"I'm a legal secretary so on my salary I could never afford a mortgage so my only alternative was social housing."

Downsizing

Dublin City Council has approved 114 house transfers in the past five years. It also set up the site, homeswapper.ie, to help facilitate the transfer of homes.

A spokesperson for Wexford County Council, one of the local authorities which allows transfers, said it was relatively unusual and "not a common occurrence".

"In general, the council only approves transfer applications for a reason of serious overcrowding, downsizing or exceptional medical reasons," the spokesperson said.

No fee applies to house swapping, each tenant must agree to accept the house in its existing condition and no pre-letting repairs are carried out.

For a house swap to occur, the tenants must have clear rent accounts, no history of anti-social behaviour and the house must be suitable to meet their needs.

The council's approval is required before any transfer is accommodated.

Some of the grounds cited for the swaps include medical reasons such as needing wheelchair access and people looking to move due to a new job. House swaps are widely used in the UK and are proving increasingly popular here.


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