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Mutual Exchange

What is a mutual exchange?

A mutual exchange is when you swap your home with:

  • another GreenSquare tenant;
  • a tenant of another housing association; or
  • a local authority (council) tenant.

You can do this when you want to move to another area or a different property. Both landlords need to approve your exchange before it can happen.

What happens to my tenancy?

To exchange properties, you have to give up your current tenancy and take over the tenancy of the person that you are exchanging with. This is called an assignment of tenancy.

This means that you take on the other person’s rights and responsibilities. You should check what type of tenancy the other person has so that you can see if it is different to yours. If they have the same type of tenancy, your rights may stay the same. If they have a different one, the exchange may not be approved or your rights may change.

How do I find someone to exchange with?

Use the ‘HomeSwapper’ register on the internet at www.homeswapper.co.uk. The site provides a listing of all the homes available for exchange across the whole country.

You can also:

  • advertise locally (for example, in your local newsagent's window);
  • ask friends and relatives if they know of anyone who might want to exchange with you; or
  • look on the internet for other sites where you can advertise your home and look for other people who want to swap. Here are some examples that cover all of the UK:

www.exchangeyourhome.co.uk
www.ukhomeswap.co.uk

To exchange properties, you have to give up your current tenancy and take over the tenancy of the person that you are exchanging with. This is called an assignment of tenancy.

How do I get on the mutual exchange list?

You will need to register with HomeSwapper’ – on the internet at www.homeswapper.co.uk – which covers the whole country. GreenSquare residents can sign up free of charge. There may be a short delay while Homeswapper checks we are your landlord.

What happens when I find someone to exchange with?

You must visit the property that you want to move into (exchange with). It is important that you do this, because you take it over in the condition that you see it. However, we will carry out the standard repairs that we must do as your landlord.

If you are happy with it and both of you still want the exchange to go ahead, you should both fill in a mutual exchange form. You can get one of these by calling us on 01249 465465 (Wiltshire). If you are with another landlord, you will also need to contact them to request a form.

Each household will need to complete the GreenSquare application form and any for another landlord in full. Once you have done this, you should return the GreenSquare form to us. If you are hoping to move to another landlord’s property, you will still need to complete this form.

It is illegal for you to give any money or to receive any money from anyone else involved in the swap. If you do this, you could lose your home.

What happens next?

We must agree or refuse permission for your mutual exchange within 42 days of receiving your request to exchange. There are a number of things that we will do during this time – some of them are:

  • Make sure that you do not owe us any rent or money for anything else;
  • Make sure that the property is a suitable size for your family and that you can afford to live there;
  • Arrange an electric safety check and also inspect your property and tell you if there are any faults, repairs, or decorating that you have to do before you can get approval for the move;
  • Inspect the other property (if it belongs to another landlord then they will do the inspection for us).

We will then write to you and tell you if can exchange or not. If agreed and there is a gas supply to your home, a gas safety check will have to be arranged through GreenSquare. Because this must take place on the day you move, we need at least a week's notice and to agree this date with you.

Why wouldn't you get permission?

Some of the legal reasons your exchange can be refused are:

  • a court has ordered that either property must be given back to the landlord;
  • there is a current notice of seeking possession (a warning that the property may be repossessed) against either property;
  • the property is too big or too small for your needs or is not reasonably suitable;
  • one of the properties has been adapted to help a physically disabled person and there would not be a person with a disability moving in there; or
  • one of the properties is for people with special needs (for example, sheltered housing) and there would not be anyone moving there with those needs.

When can I move?

We will write to you to give you permission for the exchange to go ahead. After that we will agree the date for your move. You will need to sign a deed of assignment to show that you agree to the swap. We will arrange a meeting somewhere convenient (either at our offices or somewhere nearer to you) for you to do this. Once you have done this, you can move in.

Do I have to pay for removal costs?

Yes, you have to pay all the costs of moving house (for example, hiring a removal van and buying boxes).

What if I move and find problems with the other property?

It is very important you visit the property before the exchange to make sure you are happy with the condition of it.

We will only carry out repairs that are our responsibility as your landlord (for example, repairs to heating or hot water). We would have sent you a copy of the property inspection report with a letter highlighting any items and repair works that are not our responsibility. You accept the property in the condition you see it in, and take it over on the date that your new tenancy starts. You are responsible for:

  • carrying out small repairs;
  • repairing damage to the property that was done by the previous people living there;
  • decorating the property; and
  • Alterations made and non-standard items added by the previous residents, including mirrors, cabinets, shelves, flooring, sheds, fencing, and patios.

If you are not sure which repairs you would have to do, please contact us for advice.