A HOUSING provider said there is a 'high' and 'increasing' demand for social housing in and around Hexham.

Karbon Homes said it is facing an 'ever-increasing demand' for homes with three or more bedrooms in the town.

The provider said its properties are allocated based on the needs of the main tenant, and even if the tenant's circumstances change over time, they have the right to remain in that property if they wish to do so. 

A pathway called the Homeswapper or Mutual Exchange system offers Karbon Homes tenants the opportunity to swap homes with another tenant, which is based on their desire to downsize or upsize. This is reciprocal based on the desirability of the homes involved.

Hexham resident Robert Ellerby, who is training to be a social worker, claims social housing should be allocated based on 'need rather than want'. For example, single occupants can decide to remain in their allocated three-bedroom home despite not needing the space.

Mr Ellerby has lived at the same two-bedroom Karbon Homes property for more than 10 years with his wife and now four children. They cannot afford a mortgage so rely on social housing.

He is on the waiting list for a three-bedroom home which is scarce in the area, according to Karbon Homes, and has bid for properties using the Homefinder system.

However, Mr Ellerby claims the Homefinder process is 'unfair' as his house is deemed 'unattractive' to potential home swappers as it is small and located in the east end of Hexham.

Kelly Taylor, assistant director of Housing at Karbon Homes, said: “We’re sorry to hear about Mr Ellerby’s current situation but unfortunately there is a high and ever-increasing demand for social housing properties with three or more bedrooms in and around the Hexham area.

“Mr Ellerby has been given a band 1 priority need for new housing through the Northumberland Homefinder choice-based letting system, however, due to the number of other applicants with higher priority bandings, the properties he has bid on have been unsuccessful.

“We would encourage Mr Ellerby to continue bidding for properties through the choice-based letting system and if necessary, contact the local authority to reassess his housing situation.

“With mutual exchange, if both tenants involved in the swap have the right to a mutual exchange and the swap meets the eligibility criteria, we have no grounds to prevent it, as mutual exchange is laid down in housing legislation.

“The same goes for single occupants living in properties with multiple bedrooms. A property is allocated based on the needs of the main tenant at the time of allocation and even if their circumstances change over time, if the main person tenant wants to stay in their home they have the right to do so.”