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This note gives a brief history of housing mobility schemes and policy developments in this area.

Housing mobility schemes enable local authority and housing association tenants to relocate from their current area to other parts of the country. A number of schemes have operated over the years – including the Housing and Mobility Exchange Service (HOMES), and the LAWN and Seaside and Country Homes schemes. Between 2004 and 2007, the contract for these schemes was let to Scout Solutions Projects Ltd., operating under the brand name MoveUK. However, in September 2006, after citing concerns with the scheme’s performance, the previous Government announced that it was to terminate Scout Solutions’ contract. After a transitional period, the schemes were suspended with effect from January 2007.

Until the launch of HomeSwap Direct in October 2011 (fully operational from April 2012) there was no national mobility scheme in operation – a point of contention for some, who argued that the patchwork of provision lacked coherence.

Measures aimed at improving the mobility of social housing tenants were included in the Localism Act 2011 which gained Royal Assent on 15 November 2011.

In September 2014 the Government consulted on the introduction of a new Right to Move for social housing tenants, the responses to which are being analysed.

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