Hundreds of Hull council tenants swapping homes on Facebook
HUNDREDS of council tenants are swapping their houses with each other on Facebook.
Users of the social networking site claim the council's bidding system is out of date, prompting them to arrange their own moves.
Councilexchange Hull has more than 1,000 subscribers on Facebook who use the page to advertise their house and tell others what type of property they are looking for.
The group was set up by council house tenant Rachel Smith, 22.
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She said: "I've been looking to move for six months and I've tried everything but wasn't getting anywhere so thought I'd set something up on Facebook.
"I lived in Hawthorne Avenue but my house got knocked down and I got moved to Longhill.
"All my family and friends live in west Hull and now I've got to spend two hours a day on a bus to get to work and back, which isn't ideal."
Once a swap has been agreed on Facebook, tenants would have to contact the council to authorise the exchange officially.
Hull council tenants can sign up to an official swapping website called Council House Exchange to arrange official house swaps.
The service helps tenants who want to move by matching them with others who are looking to swap – either within Hull or in other parts of the UK.
However, Miss Smith said the site is slow and out of date.
She said: "There's not a lot of information on there, I e-mailed more than 50 people and didn't get one reply but on Facebook, it's instant replies."
Lisa Garrod, 38, who is trying to swap her two-bedroom house in west Hull for a three-bedroom house, said: "It's great that this page was created independently. This is what it comes to. Someone has to take matters in their own hands to try to get something sorted.
"In the area I live in, it is mostly pensioners living in three-bedroom houses because they have lived there all their adult life but now their families have grown up and left they no longer need that room.
"I've got my one-year-old daughter in my bedroom with me because my 14-year-old son is in the other room and he is too old to share with her.
"I bid for houses every fortnight and use the council exchange website but don't get anywhere.
"It's easier on Facebook because it is instant and you can message people straight away."
Hull City Council's head of physical regeneration Laura Carr said tenants are welcome to find their own swaps.
She said: "We recommend tenants use the House Exchange website however, tenants are able to find matches themselves if they wish by advertising in shops or, as in this case, on Facebook, but would still have to follow the council system once they had found someone to exchange with."