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Mutual exchange

A mutual exchange is where two or more housing association or local authority tenants decide to swap homes by legally assigning their tenancies to each other. This means that you pass on your tenancy to the person moving into your home and take over their tenancy for their home. You must make sure that you've read the tenancy that you will be taking on to ensure that you fully understand the conditions you are accepting.

Introductory tenants do not have the right to exchange.

How to swap homes

We are registered with House Exchange, which is a free service (for SHDC Tenants) to help you find people to swap homes with. You will need regular internet access to use this service. We don't keep a list of tenants who are wanting to exchange. If you would like to move by mutual exchange you will need to register your details on the House Exchange website

Before you agree to swap, it is advisable to visit each other's property. Most people agree to exchange on the basis of the property type and the number of bedrooms. You will need to think carefully before you consider exchanging to ensure you are happy with the property you may move into. You will be agreeing to take on the property in its current state including any non-standard council items such as light fittings or upgrades that the tenant has completed. You will have to pay for any repairs due to that are not treated as 'fair wear and tear'. You must make sure you are aware of the rights and responsibilities of the tenancy that you will take on. For example, if you have the Right to Buy, you may lose this right if you swap with a tenant of a housing association. If you are unsure of your rights with your current home and whether these will be affected by your proposed move, please speak to your housing officer.

Apply for mutual exchange (home swap)

What happens when you have found a tenant to exchange with:

  • You should fill in a  mutual exchange application form (PDF) [53KB] (opens new window)  
  • We will check your tenancy to make sure you do not owe any rent. Please note an exchange will not be allowed to proceed until rent arrears have been cleared
  • We will inspect your property to consider the condition of the property. We will advise you of any repairs that must be completed before you move. Repairs that are due to wear and tear will be completed free of charge. Repairs that are due to accidental or deliberate damage or neglect will need to be paid for. You can also arrange for the repairs to be completed yourself, but they must be to our standard. It is important that you report repairs as soon as possible to avoid delays. You will not be able to move until all repairs are completed.
  • We will arrange for gas and electric safety checks.
  • Both landlords must agree on whether the exchange can take place. The law states there are grounds on which we can refuse a mutual exchange. If your application is refused, we will write to you notifying you on what grounds your request has been refused. Full details of the grounds for refusal are contained in Schedule 3 of the Housing Act 1985 (grounds for withholding consent to assignment by way of exchange).
  • If agreed, both tenants will need to sign an assignment - this is a legal requirement.

You must not go ahead with the exchange until all landlords have given written permission and the relevant papers have been signed. Otherwise you will be putting your tenancy at risk.

See our advice about moving out for further information. 

Mutual exchange - how your data is used

The House Exchange website and its service is managed by Clarion Housing Group and if registered, your information will only be used in connection with the House Exchange service. View the privacy statement available on the House Exchange website