I'm addicted to swapping my council house – you don't need to spend a fortune to get a perfect home

COUNCIL house tenants, are able to switch their house to another rented council property under the HomeSwap Scheme scheme, something that Jeffrey Huglin, 53, from London has been doing for the last 25 years.

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.


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

Jeffrey told how he'd successfully exchanged a one-bed flat for a studio apartment with a garden, but explained that it's not "perfect" and some people aren't willing to "compromise" which makes the process harder.

Speaking to Femail, he said: "You have to make compromises and I think people are getting a bit uncompromising about stuff. People need to compromise to let go of one thing."

He said he loved the swapping system as it means he can get a change of scenery and a new space.

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He recalled how, on one occasion he traded a one bed flat in Chelsea for a studio with a garden just a few rounds over from his original home.

He confessed that he didn't mind much about the decor of his apartments as he makes do with what he's given, but it isn't all plain sailing.

He said: "I learned my lesson after one flat where I had a king size bed and a wardrobe and you couldn't walk at the bottom of the bed or open the doors of the wardrobe." 

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Jeff explained that he was hesitant about featuring on Channel 5's Council House Swap but really enjoyed the experience.

In the show, Jeff was unsure about an Earl's Court flat, partly because it was painted yellow but mainly because it was on a high floor without a functioning lift.

But Jeff wasn't the only swap enthusiast to feature on the new programme.

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Linda Eedman, 65, from Chiswick, said that swapping homes can become "addictive" as it's so easy to do.

When lockdown hit Linda was keen got get a place with outdoor space and wanted to trade in her three-bed Victorian maisonette for a place with a garden.

Speaking to The I, Linda said: "I’m no gardener but I love when the sun is shining. 

"It’s not terribly warm today but I went outside because I just love sitting in the sun. I love being able to go outside with a cup of coffee. I just need to see greenery." 

Linda looked at several properties on the programme but struggled to find one she liked.

After a few misses, she eventually swapped her vintage home for a cottage in Barnes.

Council House Swap is on Wednesday at 9pm on Channel 5 and will air for the next five weeks.

In other news, this mum-of-three was living in the council house from hell so pleaded to have her family moved into a hostel.

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Plus this plummy home swap hopeful, who walked out on her millionaire lover, slammed her neighbours and called Northolt an "area God forgot".

And this mother-of three explained that her council house has had no heating for EIGHT YEARS – it was covered in mould and her 3 daughters had endless infections.

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