What is mutual exchange?
You may be able to swap your home if you are a secure or assured tenant of a local council or housing association. This is called a mutual exchange. In a mutual exchange, two or more tenants swap their homes and take on the terms of each other's tenancy.
Who can apply?
Both secure and assured tenants have the right to exchange homes. If you have an introductory tenancy you must wait until this becomes a secure or assured tenancy before you can exchange (an introductory tenancy normally lasts 12 months).
Will my rights as a tenant be affected?
There is a good chance your rights will be affected if you exchange your property. When you exchange, you take over the rights and terms of tenancy of the person you exchange with. These may be different from the rights you have now, so it is important that you ask at your local housing office before making a decision.
If you are exchanging with a tenant of the same landlord, or same type of landlord (e.g. housing association) and you both have the same type of tenancy, you will normally keep similar rights: you will need to check that you have the same type of tenancy agreement. There are two main types: assured and secure. Secure tenancy agreements may offer more rights than some assured tenancy agreements. You should never consider exchanging with someone who only has a licence agreement of assured shorthold tenancy.
If you are exchanging with the tenant of a different landlord, some rights and conditions will be different. For example, you may lose (or gain) the right to buy your home. The rules for your landlord increasing your rent may also be different.
What about succession rights?
You take your succession status with you when you do a mutual exchange. So if you succeeded to the tenancy at your current address you will continue to have this status at your new one - you will have no new succession rights when you move.
What happens when I’ve found someone to exchange with?
When you have found someone to exchange with and you are both happy with each other's property you need to ask permission to exchange by completing an application form.
You can print an application form from this website and take or send it to your landlord. Your housing officer will arrange to meet you to discuss the next stage.
Landlords have 42 days from the date they receive your application to make a decision. They will need to check some things before the exchange is agreed:
· the size and type of the property you wish to move to· that your rent account is clear and there is no possession order on your home· the condition of your home.
If the above checks are satisfactory and both landlords approve the exchange, they will write to you to say so.
Both you and the other tenant will need to sign documents. These are agreements (called 'Deeds of Assignment') to pass your tenancies to each other and to accept the terms and conditions of the tenancy. The actual moving date is set for the nearest mutually suitable day after the deeds of assignment have been signed.
Might my landlord refuse a mutual exchange?
Your landlord can only refuse permission on one or more of the grounds set out in Schedule 3 of the Housing Act 1985. These grounds include:
- You are in breach of one or more of the terms of your tenancy and a Notice of Seeking Possession (NOSP) has been served against you (this could include but is not limited to anti-social behaviour, rent arrears and the condition of your property).
- Proceedings for possession of your property have commenced
- You are under a Court Order
- The property is larger than your household needs
- The property being requested is not suitable to the needs of your household (i.e. young people / families moving into designated sheltered housing)
- The property is designed for a physically disabled person, and the person you are swapping with has no such needs
- You are in rent arrears
If you owe outstanding rent arrears or are in breach of any other tenancy conditions and legal proceedings have not yet commenced, permission to exchange may be granted on a conditional basis. This will require you to clear any outstanding arrears or remedy any breach of your tenancy conditions before the exchange can take place.
For full details of Schedule 3 of the Housing Act 1985 please contact your landlord.
What should I look at when I view a property?
When you have found a possible match, you should arrange to view the property on more than one occasion and in daylight.
Your landlord will not carry out any internal decoration to the property when you move in. You will be asked to accept the property in the condition in which you mutual exchange partner leaves it.
You should find out whether the other tenant intends taking with them fittings they have put in themselves, such as kitchen units, fireplaces or heaters. If they do, the landlord may not accept responsibility for replacing these items nor will they do any redecoration needed following their removal. The landlord will not rectify any damage caused by the tenant or reverse any non-standard alterations that may have been done.
How do I make searches on the site?
Once you have registered, you can search for possible matches by going to the 'login' page and entering your membership number and date of birth.
You will be taken straight to the 'Find a home' page, where you can use the tick boxes to narrow your search. Then near the top of the page there's a button that will show you a list of properties that match your search.
Clicking on a property on the list will bring up an advert giving you details about the property, and the contact details (phone number, email address, or both) of the tenant.
Here's a tip - if you find your search is hardly bringing up any properties, select 'don't mind' under the 'garden' options.
What if I want to change my details, or remove them from the site?
To change any of your details, please contact the Local Authority who manages your Mutual Exchange application.
The Local Authority who manages your application can be found as part of your application number and is usually the first part of your application number. For example;
SCDC/12345 = South Cambs. D.C.CCC/12345 = Cambridge C.C.ECDC/12345 = East Cambs D.C.FDC/12345 = Fenland D.C.HDC/12345 = Huntingdonshire D.C.STED/12345 = St Edmundsbury B.C.FHDC/12345 = Forest Heath D.C.
REMEMBER - The Local Authority may ask you to write to them confirming which details you wish to change.
I cannot register online, is there any other way to register for Mutual Exchange?
If you cannot register online you can print out a Application for Mutual Exchange if you complete this form and send it to your landlord, or the local council for the area that you want to live in, a staff member will complete the registration for you.