Louth County Council should engage in a pilot project that would allow social housing tenants to transfer to another home in the county via an online system that matches them with properties to their liking.
Dublin City Council and Cork City Council are currently partaking in a pilot project with HomeSwapper.ie, a website designed to help tenants find a mutual exchange. Tenants in the two participating local authority areas can also move between Cork city and Dublin city, should they choose.
Tenants can register on HomeSwapper.ie with details of their existing property and they property they will like to move to. The website provides a list of matches which the allows tenants to contact other swappers. The landlord, the local authority in this instance, can they oversee any swap.
Speaking at the July monthly meeting of Louth County Council at St Gerard’s Hall in Dundalk on Monday, Sinn Féin councillor Joanna Byrne said the council should consider taking part in the online scheme, originally on a pilot basis.
So far in 2020, just seven social housing transfers have been approved in the county – four in Dundalk and three in Drogheda. There are currently 239 applicants on the list for transfer within social housing – meaning just 3% of transfer applicants have succeeded in moving property.
“It’s setup pretty similar to the Choice Based Lettings system – people’s category of need is registered, the specific size of hours and the area you want to swap is registered. It’s like online dating – they match people who are willing to swap,” Cllr Byrne said during Monday’s meeting. “Can we pursue this?
“Louth was one of the first few council’s to introduce Choice Based Letting. This could go a long way to alleviating the pressures. I think this would work really well.”
Director of Services Paddy Donnelly said that the housing department staff can look into the idea but warned that Dublin City Council and Cork City Council have more resources at their disposal. Cllr Byrne’s party colleague Kevin Meenan was among those who supported the idea.
In a statement, Cllr Byrne added: “Louth has a very stringent policy of approving people onto the Transfer List, some of these are due to change in family sizes but others need to have legitimate reasons to be successful in their applications so to me anybody that is approved has a genuine case for moving.
“People are languishing on our Transfer Lists for years with no indication of timelines as to when their wait may end. I am aware of the financial complexities in transfers and of limited funds but as I’ve said before on numerous occasions, this issue is not going away and is only going to increase. This online system could be the answer.”