Swap your home (mutual exchange)
If you are considering a move then one of the options available is to seek a mutual exchange. A mutual exchange is where you ‘swap’ homes with another tenant, who can be a Network Homes tenant or a tenant of another housing association or local council.
Is mutual exchange for you?
Mutual exchange might be for you if you:
- Live in an overcrowded home
- Are under-occupying your home
- Want to move to a different area for work or family reasons.
You may not be given permission to exchange if you:
- Are in rent arrears
- Have legal action being taken against you
- Have a history of anti-social behaviour.
How to find your new home
We are a member of Homeswapper, an online service which matches tenants to suitable properties. This service is free and you can find out more at www.homeswapper.co.uk. We have computers available in our Wembley and Hertford offices if you do not have access to one.
You can search for properties based on location, minimum and maximum number of bedrooms, and rent. You can also filter your search based on type of tenancy, special provision, level of urgency and property features.
You must enter information about your current home into the website. The more information you put, the more likely you will be successful. You need to include information such as:
- Type of property
- Special features
After you have found a home to exchange you must apply to us for permission. Both you and the tenant you are swapping with must complete a Mutual Exchange application form. You can download the form at the bottom of the page. You may also need to complete a form for your exchange partner's landlord if it isn't us.
Your application may be rejected if you:
- Apply for a property that is too large or too small
- Apply for a property designed for someone with a disability and you do not need this facility
- Apply for a property that is part of a scheme such as older persons housing, and you don’t meet the conditions for the scheme
- Have caused a nuisance or anti-social behaviour, or you have breached your tenancy agreement in some other way
- Have altered your home without our permission
- Are in arrears with your rent.
It is important to remember that you will be agreeing to take over your new home as it is. Any decorating or repairs which are the resident's responsibility will need to be put right by you.
What happens after you have found someone to exchange with?
Once the forms are received, we will consider your request and either approve or refuse permission for the move within 42 days of us receiving your application. All exchange requests are subject to satisfactory references being provided by respective landlords of exchange partner.
If we aren’t willing to agree to your request we will write to you and let you know why. If the decision is connected with your exchange partner’s tenancy we may not be able to share the reason for refusal. If that happens, it’s best to talk to them direct to see if the problems can be resolved. If not you will need to find someone else to swap with.
If your exchange is approved, we will arrange to inspect your property to check it’s in a good condition. The inspection will check for disrepair and any alterations or improvements we have not given permission for. We will give the opportunity to correct this before you move out.
Once the inspections are done, and there are no concerns, we’ll contact you to arrange a date for the move. We will also arrange for a gas and electrical safety check to be undertaken.
You must not move until you and your exchange partner have signed all the legal paperwork. If you move before you sign, you could lose your security of tenure or even be evicted.
- If you have a joint tenancy, you’ll both need to agree to the exchange and be available to sign documents on moving day.
- It is your responsibility to collect all keys, fobs, letter box keys, etc from your exchange partner.
- We have a legal requirement to validate the identification of residents and ensure they have the right to rent a property in England. We will ask for photographic evidence of identification and may be required to undertake further checks through the Government office.
- All moving arrangements and costs are your responsibility. Make sure you can afford to move.
- Make sure you are happy with the condition of the property that you are moving to. You are responsible for all non-essential repairs and decoration.
- Landlord consent is required. Don’t move without getting permission. If you do, both you and your exchange partner risk losing your security of tenure and you could face eviction or be forced to return to your original homes.
- Speak to your exchange partner and agree what fixtures and fittings, carpets etc you will leave behind in your old house.
Find out if your tenancy conditions will change when you move. Not all tenancies offer the same security of tenure. When you complete your exchange you will be swapping by way of an assignment. It’s your responsibility to check this before deciding whether or not to exchange.
A Mutual Exchange is a really great way to offer flexibility and an opportunity to relocate. We would encourage you to consider the impact of your decision and do everything possible to make the exchange a positive experience for you and your exchange partner. This means leaving your home in a condition you would hope to find with your exchange partner; clean and free of personal belongings and rubbish. If this isn’t done we are unable to accept any liability and you will need to resolve any issues with your exchange partner.
Live in London?
You need to send the form back to our Wembley office.
Live in Herts or out of London?
You need to send the form back to our Hertford office.