Tenants wanting to move home are being invited to Barnet Homes’s first ever match-making event to help them find their perfect move.

Council and housing association tenants who have outgrown their present home or want to downsize are encouraged to come along to the event on Thursday 15 November between 7.15pm and 8.30pm at Barnet House,1255 High Road, Whetstone N20 0EJ.

During the evening, staff will be on hand to talk residents through the options they have to achieve a move. Tenants who have successfully moved using these will be there to share their experiences and encourage others.

The match-making event comes ahead of the government’s welfare reform changes, many of which come into effect from April 2013, and support Barnet Homes’ awareness campaign about how the benefits changes will impact on tenants.

Barnet Homes Chief Executive, Tracey Lees, said: “I’d like to encourage every tenant who would like to move to a smaller or larger home to come to our matchmaking evening – the more tenants who attend the event to hear how, the greater the chances of everyone finding their perfect move.

“We hope by holding this evening it will make it easier for many families who are looking for a home with more bedrooms, and help those who may want to downsize, maybe because of the new housing benefit rules coming into effect in April 2013.

“Moving to a smaller home by swapping homes with another tenant is one option for our residents affected by the new rules on spare bedrooms and the amount of housing benefit they receive.”

From April 2013 new rules mean council tenants of working age who claim housing benefit will see their benefit reduced if they have spare bedrooms.  Barnet Homes staff are visiting more than 1,600 Barnet council homes where tenants are known to be ‘under-occupying’ and thought to be affected.

The rules state that housing benefit will only pay for one bedroom for each of the following people from April 2013:

  • an adult couple
  • anyone else aged 16 or over
  • two children under 16 of the same sex
  • two children under 10 regardless of sex
  • any other child
  • a carer who needs occasionally to stay overnight.

This means some tenants could struggle to pay their rent, which may ultimately lead to some facing eviction. Staff have been discussing the options with tenants to avoid this.

Tenants who downsize may also be entitled to receive a cash grant under Barnet Homes Fresh Start scheme. More details are available on our website www.barnethomes.org or by phoning our call centre on 0800 3895225.

As well as the match-making event on Thursday, there will be a housing surgery beforehand for any resident who would like to talk to housing staff about other housing matters. It begins at 5.30pm and runs until 7pm.