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Swapping your home

What is a mutual exchange? | Am I eligible for an exchange? | Is my house the right size? | Do I need your permission to exchange? | How do I sign up for an exchange? | Other ways of finding an exchange partner | What happens next?

What is a mutual exchange?

A mutual exchange is when two or more housing association or council tenants exchange (swap) their homes. Each tenant must move into their exchange partner’s property and take on responsibility for that tenancy.

You may wish to exchange to a larger or smaller property or to move to a different location. You can exchange with another tenant living in any part of the country.

Mutual exchanges are often found to be a quicker method of moving house than a transfer.

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Am I eligible for an exchange?

Most people with a secure, assured lifetime or 5-year fixed-term social housing tenancy in their name are eligible. In addition, neither party must have rent arrears nor have a history of antisocial behaviour nor any other breaches of tenancy conditions.

You will not be eligible if any of the following apply:

  • You have a starter, or an assured shorthold tenancy
  • You have rent arrears
  • You have a history of antisocial behaviour
  • You have been given a property as part of your employment with its landlord
  • You have been housed by a charity and the new tenant would conflict with the charity’s aims
  • You are living in a hostel or supported accommodation

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Is my house the right size?

Because of demand for social housing, we ensure our properties are fully occupied but not overcrowded.

One bedroom is allowed for each adult couple, any other adult in the household, any two younger children, any two older children of the same sex and carers in special circumstances.

One bedroom is allowed for each of the following:

  • An adult couple
  • Any other adult over 16
  • Two children of different sexes under the age of 10
  • Two children of the same sex aged under 16

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Do I need your permission to exchange?

Yes. If you have found another tenant you wish to exchange with, you need to complete an initial request to exchange form. This is to confirm that you and your proposed exchange partner are eligible for the exchange.

It is important that you visit and inspect the property you want to move to. You should look for any improvements the tenant has made, as they will become your responsibility.

We will respond to your initial request to exchange within 5 working days of receipt of the completed form. We will then consider your initial application and tell you if you are able to go ahead with the exchange. You'll then need to complete the full application form which will be sent out to you by post or email. We will let you know our decision within 42 days of receiving your full application form. We will not refuse permission without good reason.

You should not make any arrangements to move until you have received written approval from all landlords.

You must not exchange your home without our permission. If you do, you may have to move back and we could take legal action to end your tenancy.

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How do I sign up for an exchange?

The most popular way of finding an exchange partner is online. We have signed up to two mutual exchange websites, and membership is free for our existing tenants:

Once you have registered you will have to provide:

  • a description of your property and its location
  • photos of your property
  • a description of the type of property you are looking for

The more information about your property, and photographs, that you provide, the more interest you might receive from other tenants who want to exchange.

Once you have registered, you will have the opportunity to search for properties all over the country including your local area. You can choose the type of property you would like to move into and the location where you would like to move to.

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Other ways of finding an exchange partner

Other ways of finding an exchange partner include using other website services, placing advertisements in local newsagents and other shop windows, advertising in local or national newspapers and asking friends, family and neighbours.

If your tenancy was issued on or after 1 April 2012, or if you are considering carrying out a mutual exchange with someone whose tenancy was issued on or after the 1 April 2012, please speak to your Tenancy Advisor. This is because tenancies offered on or after this date are different from tenancies issued before. It is important you understand the possible implications of making a mutual exchange.

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What happens next?

  • What happens when you receive my application?

    When we receive your completed initial request to exchange form we will reply to you at first within 5 working days. We will then check you and your proposed partner's eligibility for exchange and inform you of the outcome. If you receive our initial approval to exchange, then you and your partner will be required to complete a full application form. Once we receive the full application form, we will arrange a time to inspect your home with you. The incoming tenant will also need to attend this inspection.

    We will check for any alterations, repairs or damage that may become the responsibility of the incoming tenant, or which may need to be fixed before you move. As this is a visual inspection whilst your home is occupied, other items may become apparent once the property is empty.

    We will then write to you with our findings and tell you about any improvements or damage which you will become responsible for if the exchange goes ahead.

    If you are moving to another Hyde property we will ask you to sign to agree that you take responsibility for any alterations, repairs or damage we may have found. You must ensure you are able to repair or replace these if necessary in the future before you sign.

    You will also become responsible for clearance of any items left in the property by the previous tenants.

  • Are there any other conditions?

    Yes. Before the exchange can go ahead:

    • You must be up to date with your rent payments. You will not be able to exchange if you have rent arrears
    • You must have no history of causing a nuisance or antisocial behaviour
    • Your home must be in good condition

    If you want to exchange with the tenant of another housing association or council we will have to provide a written reference for your tenancy to them. They will do the same for their tenant.

  • Could my application be refused?

    We will not unreasonably refuse an application for a mutual exchange.

    Grounds for refusing consent to the exchange

    • When any rent lawfully due from a tenant under one of the existing tenancies has not been paid.
    • When an obligation under one of the existing tenancies has been broken or not performed.
    • A court order for possession or a suspended possession order has been made for either property.
    • The landlord has served a notice of seeking possession and the notice is still in force, or possession proceedings have commenced.
    • The property is substantially larger than is reasonably needed by the proposed assignee.
    • The property is not reasonably suitable to the needs of the proposed assignee and their household.
    • The property is part of or close to a building that is held for non-housing purposes, or it is situated in a cemetery and was let in connection with employment with the landlord or with a local authority, a new town corporation, housing action trust, an urban development corporation, or the governors of a grant-aided school.
    • The landlord is a charity and the proposed assignee’s occupation of the property would conflict with the objectives of the charity.
    • The property has been substantially adapted for occupation by a physically disabled person, and if the assignment went ahead a physically disabled person would not be living there.
    • The landlord lets properties to people in difficult circumstances (other than merely financial circumstances) and the proposed assignee would not fulfil this criteria.
    • The property is let to people with special needs and there is a social service or special facility nearby to the properties to assist people with those special needs, and if the assignment was to go ahead no person with those special needs would be living there.
    • The dwelling is the subject of a management agreement where the manager is a housing association of which at least half the members are tenants subject to the agreement and at least half of the tenants of the dwellings are members of the association, and also that the proposed assignee is not such a member nor is willing to become one.
    • An injunction order under section 153 of the Housing Act 1996 or an antisocial behaviour order or a Demotion Order or a possession order under Ground 2 for secure tenancies or Ground 14 for assured tenancies is in force or an application for one of those is pending either against the tenant, the proposed assignee or a person who resides with either of them.

    It is illegal to pay anyone to persuade them to exchange tenancies with you.

    If you are a joint tenant, we must have the written permission of all joint tenants.

  • When will you make your decision?

    By law, we must make a decision within 42 days of receiving your completed full application form.

    You are required to complete the initial request to exchange form so the Tenancy Team can check that both parties meet the criteria. We will respond to your initial request to exchange within 5 working days of receiving it. Once this has been reviewed, we will send you the full application. The 42-day period starts at the point we receive the full application form back from you.

    If we refuse your application, we will write to you within 42 days of receiving your application to explain why we have refused and tell you how you can appeal.

  • What happens after my application is approved?
    • We will carry out gas safety check once the incoming tenant moves in. This will be arranged during the assignment process.
    • We will arrange an appointment for all parties to sign the assignment documents.
    • We will arrange for the exchange to take place on a date which is suitable for everyone involved.

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