Thursday 21 February will see what is likely the first event of its kind – property speed dating.
The Merlin Housing Society, based in South Gloucestershire, is giving housing association tenants in the Cadbury Heath and Kingswood areas of Bristol the chance to attend a Speed Dating for Houses event, in order to meet people who would like to swap homes.
The event is an unconventional response to the controversial benefit cut threatened to social tenants deemed to have a ‘spare bedroom’. Nicknamed the ‘bedroom tax’, the reform will be enforced from 1 April 2013 and will affect an estimated 660,000 working-age people, according to the National Housing Federation.
More than 550 of those are residents of the Merlin, United, Knightstone and Solon housing associations, and have been invited to meet and mingle between 12 noon and 2pm at the Cadbury Heath Youth Centre at Park Road, Warmley, Bristol, BS30 8EB.
Social tenants deemed to be under-occupying stand to lose up to a quarter of their housing benefit unless they find somewhere smaller to live, whereas other families might be hoping to find somewhere larger – perhaps due to their family growing. The hope is that tenants who meet ‘the one’ will, subject to their landlord’s approval, simply be able to swap homes.
Merlin Housing Society’s financial inclusion manager, Rob Hawkins, has said that the event will be rolled out across other areas if it proves successful.
Residents who receive an invite should book a place with their housing office before 18 February.