Downsizing scheme

Tenants Downsizing

The Tenants Downsizing Scheme offers tenants cash incentives to move to homes more suitable for their needs. The aim of the scheme is to free up more homes suitable for families on the housing register.

Under the scheme, transferring tenants of the council could qualify for a payment of up to £1,500 towards help with moving costs. Tenants who undertake a mutual exchange could qualify for a £250 payment.

Rules in brief

  • you must have been a secure tenant of West Lancashire Borough Council for a minimum of three years  
  • occupy a family needs house  
  • have a clear rent account (or firm agreement in place)
  • agree to move to either a general needs flat or a sheltered accommodation flat.  


The amount of money you receive will depend on the type of property you will be moving into. For example you could receive £500 when moving to a smaller general needs flat (or a ground floor category I or group scheme sheltered property) or £1,000 when moving to a category II property (or a first floor category I or group scheme where there is no lift).  

In addition to the cash incentive we will provide a paint pack to all applicants qualifying for a move under the scheme. This will include a choice of paint and decorating materials.   

You may also qualify for an extra £250 if:

  • your house is considered by the allocations department to be in an area of high demand
  • the accommodation you are moving into has been empty for 6 months or more  

How do I apply?  

Applicants must complete an application form to join the council's housing register and then bid for suitable properties via the Homefinder website. Tenants who qualify for the downsizing scheme will be contacted by a Lettings Officer at the point an offer of accommodation is being made.  

Mutual exchange downsizing  

With a view to promoting mutual exchanges we work in partnership with HomeSwapper, a national web based scheme, which helps tenants to find another tenant to swap with. This service is free to all West Lancashire Borough Council tenants. We would ideally like all mutual exchange applicants to be registered with HomeSwapper.  

Mutual exchange eligibility rules and incentive payments

To qualify, both parties must be secure tenants of the council and comply with all the usual requirements of the council's Mutual Exchange procedure. A payment of £250 will be paid to under-occupying tenants if they are giving up a house to move to smaller accommodation and the person you are exchanging with is currently overcrowded (as defined by the Council's Allocations Policy).      

Transfer and mutual exchange downsizing payments will only be authorised once the tenant has moved.    

Further conditions apply. Please contact the Tenancy Services team for more details.      

More information

Download the Tenant Downsizing Scheme information leaflet (PDF 141kb)