I’m desperate to swap my council house for a bigger one, but they’re all small, loud or too ‘council estatey’

I’m desperate to swap my council house for a bigger one, but they’re all small, loud or too ‘council estatey’

April 20, 2022

A COUNCIL house couple who are desperate to swap their home for a bigger one are left dismayed at other options for being too small, loud or too “council estatey”.

Channel 5's new show Council House Swap follows tenants as they explore other's homes around the country and trade theirs in without spending a penny.

In tonight’s episode Dave and Fran are at their wits end in their two-bedroom Dorset flat with their two teenagers, two toddlers and a dog.

They currently spend £400 a month for a ground floor flat, but they are on the hunt for a bigger three-bed.

Fran says: “We wanted a baby and then we had two, so we have four girls between the two of us.

“Space is our trouble and storage.

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“We are looking for a bigger property to fit us all in. It is getting very urgent now.”

But their hunt is not plain-sailing.

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Their first viewing is a three-bed house in Harlow Essex, which costs £500 a month.

The pad belongs to professional cleaner Kate, who has swapped council homes 10 times, and it seems to go down well with former Essex lad Dave.

However, Fran worries the third bedroom is too tiny.

Looking at the room, which is currently an office, she says: “It’s quite small isn’t it.

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“I like it, the third bedroom is very small.”

Their next hope is 120 miles down the coast in Plymouth, but this home is definitely not a hit with Fran, who labels it “very council estatey”. 

Things turn from bad to worse when the current tenant Kerrie takes them into the garden, and the couple hear a nearby house blaring loud music.

By this stage, Fran is left emotional by the house-hunting experience, and hopes their third property will be the one.

Breaking down in tears, she says: “I feel like crying.”

This one is a spacious three-bedroom in Langport, Somerset, and although it fits the bill, the current tenant isn’t keen to swap for Dave and Fran’s house.

Fran tells the tenant: “I really like the house and the garden, the garden is absolutely massive, the house is big downstairs as well.”

The couple’s only option is to find another home and to create a “multiswap” which is like a property ladder for houseswapping.

Fran says: “I think we’ll get to a certain point and then snap and rent privately.”

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Council house tenants are able to switch their house to another rented council property, if the other person agrees.

The HomeSwap Scheme, formally Mutual Exchange, is now called HomeSwap Direct, and was introduced by Grant Shapps in 2011. 

Council House Swap is on Wednesday at 9pm on Channel 5

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