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About home swaps

In this section we have tried to answer your general questions around home swaps (often called mutual exchanges) and how they work.

What is a home swap?
A home swap (often called a mutual exchange) is where two social tenants, with the permission of their landlords, exchange their tenancies. Please see here for details of who is eligible to do a home swap.
Who is eligible for a home swap?

This depends on the type of tenancy that you have.

If you have a secure tenancy or a flexible tenancy then you have a legal right to exchange your home. If you have an assured tenancy you do not have a legal right to exchange, but often this right is granted through a clause in your tenancy agreement.

If you have an assured shorthold tenancy (including starter tenancies, introductory tenancies and demoted tenancies) you do not have the right to exchange your home.

What size property can I have?
This will depend on the policy of the landlord who owns the property you hope to swap into. You will need to check with them to make sure that you are eligible to move into the property.
What are the costs of doing a home swap?
Your landlord will not charge you for the administration of arranging your home swap. You will however be responsible for the costs of removals, packing boxes, tape etc. Note that it is illegal for you or the other tenant to charge any fee as part of the swap.
Will I have the same rights under my tenancy if I swap?
The terms of your tenancy may change when you swap homes. You may get different rights. You should check this with your new landlord before you go ahead with a swap.
Can my landlords stop me swapping homes?
Landlords can only refuse permission for a home swap if there are reasonable grounds for doing so. These could include:
  • Either tenant having rent arrears.
  • Either landlord having started eviction proceedings against their tenant
  • Either tenant having breached the terms of their tenancy agreement
  • If either tenant will be overcrowded or under-occupying the home you they want to swap into
  • If either property is unsuitable for the tenant who wants to swap into it. Such requirements may include
    • the property has been adapted for a disabled person
    • the property has age based restriction (e.g. for over 55s)
Can I choose which day to move on?
Yes. The date on which you move should be agreed with the other tenant.
How long does a swap take?

Landlords have up to six weeks (42 days) to decide whether to give you permission to swap homes once both tenants have submitted their mutual exchange application forms.

Who pays for removal expenses?
You are responsible for any costs associated with moving home, including removal costs.
Will the landlord pay to decorate the home I swap to?
No. You will be responsible for any decoration costs. If there are repairs required to your new home after you move in you should report them in the normal way to your new landlord.