You can swap homes with any council tenant or Housing Association tenant in the UK providing they have the right to mutual exchange and want to swap homes with you.
What is mutual exchange?
Mutual exchange is basically a home swap with another tenant. It could be a council house exchange, flat exchange, bungalow, maisonette or any other property type.
You may wish to swap homes locally or to another part of the country. Either way the hardest part about swapping homes is finding someone to swap your home with.
Mutual Exchange Facts
You can either home swap with one tenant, known as a direct exchange or you could try and find a three (or more) way property exchange.
There is no limit to how many people you can have in your home swap, however the more people in the home swap, the more complicated it gets and the more likely it is to fail as you have more people who could change their mind. This being said three way mutual exchanges are becoming increasingly popular as they give you more ways of getting into the property you want. So don't just dismiss them as they are more troublesome!
How can I exchange my property?
Step 1: Getting started - advertising your home to others
To begin the process, you need to register and advertise your home to other social housing tenants through Exchange Locata
Can I only use Exchange Locata? No, you can use a number of different websites as well as advertising in local places near where you want to move or on Facebook.
What happens after I register on Exchange Locata?
Provided you are eligible, your application will be approved and you will be given a unique reference number.
Your property details will be advertised on the website and you will be able to search for homes throughout the country.
Step 2: Applying to Mutually Exchange - when you find someone to swap with
Once you have found someone to swap homes with you will need to complete a local Mutual Exchange request form and return it to your local housing office. As this is an important document you may wish to send it by recorded delivery or to hand it in person to a local office and get a receipt.
Step 3: Processing your applications - what happens next?
When we receive all the completed application forms, we will check your tenancy file to ensure there are no breaches of your tenancy.
Please be aware that an exchange will not take place if you are in rent arrears. If you want to move but are in arrears please speak to your Neighbourhood Manager about your options.
We will then arrange for an inspection of your property. We will ask you to sign a letter which says you accept the property you are moving to in its current condition.
If you are moving to a home owned by another landlord we will provide a tenant reference to them and will request a reference for their tenant. Each landlord must consent to the exchange and you must not move until you and your exchange partner have received written permission.
After written consent has been given, you will need to agree a date to move with the tenant and their landlord. A Deed of Assignment will then be prepared and arrangements made for you and the incoming tenant to sign the agreements before you move.
Useful Information about Mutual Exchange
When you swap your home with another person, it is important to be aware of a few important points. Before you complete your mutual exchange request we recommend you read the following tips and advice:
Once you have found somewhere you like you should arrange a viewing to make sure that the property is in a good location for you and that is in a good state of repair / cleanliness. Take care to check for any damage as EKH won't put this right once you have moved in.
Lots of people exchange homes without seeing them and are upset and angry with what they find - don't let this happen to you by making sure you visit the property and have a real good look at it!
Remember that when you swap homes you take your new home 'as seen'. If the previous tenant has caused damage, or if your new home is dirty or full of rubbish when you move in it will be your responsibility to put this right. The key to a successful exchange is to make sure that everyone has looked around the properties and they are all happy with the move.
Make sure your own home is clean and arrange for any necessary repairs before you make your exchange.
If the home you are viewing has new or unusual features in it - you should consider if you want / are able to look after these - for example, things like a decking or garden pond may look pretty but they are not standard and won't be covered by our repair service or tenancy agreement. Similarly, if the property has a fitted shower and you want a bath EKH will not change this for you.
If you aren't happy with what you see, then don't make the exchange as you can't go back on an exchange once it has occurred.