About mutual exchange
A mutual exchange is when you swap your home permanently with another tenant. You cannot swap your home for one which is empty.
Who can apply for a mutual exchange?
Anyone with a secure tenancy can apply to exchange his or her home. Introductory tenants do not have the right to exchange their home.
You can exchange your home with another secure council tenant and most housing association tenants with assured tenancies. Make sure you know the type of tenancy you will be taking on, as you may lose certain rights which you have as a secure tenant.
How do I proceed with my application once I find someone to swap with?
Once you find an exchange partner, you must contact your Landlord to seek permission for the mutual exchange to proceed. They will advise you of the next steps. There will be an application form to complete and then a check of your tenancy will be conducted.
What happens next?
Upon receipt of the completed application form, we will arrange to visit you at home and carry out an inspection of your property. We have 42 days to decide on your application. If we do not reply to you in that time, you can apply to the courts to force us to give you a decision. You must not go ahead with the exchange without our permission.
Could my application be refused?
If we refuse your application, we will write to you and explain why.
Our main reasons for refusing an application to exchange are:
- We have taken legal action to evict you and a valid Court Order or Notice of Seeking Possession is in operation;
- The accommodation you are looking for is much bigger than you need (by two bedrooms or more);
- The size of the accommodation you want to move into is not large enough to meet your household’s needs;
- One of the properties involved is tied to someone’s job;
- The property has been adapted for disabled people, is part of a group of properties with special facilities, or is for people with special needs and you would not need the special facilities.
In some cases, where you have broken your tenancy agreement but we have not yet taken legal action, we may set certain conditions before giving permission for the exchange, these could include:
- clearing your rent account if you are in arrears
- repairing any damage you may have caused to your home
If we agree the exchange on condition that you do something, we will explain in writing what you must do. If we approve your exchange you will receive a letter of confirmation and give you an appointment to sign a deed of assignment which is the legal document for transferring the tenancy.
Tenants of other landlords will need to make sure that they have had the exchange agreed and that their documents are signed and in order.
What about repairs after a mutual exchange?
When you exchange properties, you take over the rights and responsibilities of the tenant you have exchanged with. This means that repairs which were the original tenant’s responsibility become your responsibility. Make sure that you have checked your new home thoroughly before you apply. If you are not sure who is responsible for repairs, speak to the other landlord.
Things to remember:
- Once you exchange you take on the responsibility for any alterations, disrepair or damage caused by the previous tenant.
- You must take on the new property in the condition that you find it. North Tyneside Council will not carry out any repairs which were the responsibility of the previous tenant – these repairs become YOUR responsibility.
- You will be responsible for the decoration, repairs and any improvements or alterations the previous tenant has made, you may be charged for repairs so it is important that you view the whole property and check its condition.
- You must ensure that all keys for windows and doors are handed over to you as you will be charged if they need replacing.
- You are responsible for plumbing in washing machines and dishwashers. You should get a qualified and competent plumber to do this as you will be responsible for any damage resulting from leaks or faulty pipe work.
- You must ask permission before making any improvements or alterations to your home and receive our written approval before carrying out any work.
- You must contact the Repairs Team via 0345 2000 102 to arrange a commission and test for the start of your new tenancy.
How to Apply
How to search for an exchange
You can register free of charge with the following mutual exchange providers to help you search for your swap:
HomeSwapper is the UK’s BIGGEST and BEST mutual exchange service for social housing tenants. We help you search for possible swaps, get in touch with other tenants and arrange viewings until you find the perfect new home.
HomeSwapper has over 200,000 homes listed with 1000’s more added each week. It’s an easy-to-use service, with a free app to download and lots of help and support.
To register visit Homeswapper. There is a helpful user guide below to support you.
House Exchange is the new service we use to bring people together who are interested in swapping their homes. There are thousands of people looking to swap their properties right across the UK, so your ideal home may only be a few clicks away.
Enter your details at House exchange and the site will match you up with other would-be-swappers. The website helps you to search, find matches and contact other council or housing association residents who want to swap their homes. There’s also a free House Exchange App available on the Apple App and Google Play stores; so you can search on the move too!
Found a swap?
If you have found someone to swap with you must contact your Landlord to seek permission for the mutual exchange to proceed. In some cases, we may set certain conditions before giving permission for the exchange. These may include:
- Clearing your rent account if you are in arrears
- Repairing any damage you may have caused to your home
- Not allowing exchanges where the home will be too large or too small for the proposed tenant
- Not allowing exchanges where the home has been adapted and the proposed tenant does not require an adapted home
Do not carry out any exchange until you have received permission from your Landlord and all the relevant paperwork has been signed.
If you have found your swap through Homeswapper this process is simple, you can apply online via Swaptracker – log into your Homeswapper account and on your profile page click ‘Apply’.
There is a helpful guide below to help you with SwapTracker.
If you have found your swap through House Exchange or another route please contact your Neighbourhood Housing Team either online or by telephone 0345 2000 102. The Neighbourhood Officer will support you through the application process.