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A mutual exchange is where you can swap your property with another council or housing association tenant, from anywhere in the country. It is often a quicker method of moving home than a transfer.
You must be a secure tenant. If you are an introductory tenant, you do not have the right to exchange, although in special circumstances we do have the power to allow you to swap your home.
In most cases carrying out a mutual exchange means swapping your rights for those of the other tenant. Always check how your rights will change before you carry out a mutual exchange. You may want to seek legal advice.
When you exchange your home with another tenant you must accept their property as you find it. Although we will inspect it, we will not: decorate or change or repair any alterations or damage made by the previous tenant. This will become your responsibility for the duration of the tenancy. Your home must be left in a good state of repair.
To find someone to exchange with please use the HomeSwapper website. It's free to use. You just need to sign up to use the service. As well as advertising your property, the site will search for all possible matches everyday. It will also send you alerts by email or text when a match is found.
When you have found someone to exchange with:
- Complete a mutual exchange application form (pdf, 94 KB)(opens new window).
- Take it to any Customer Service Point or send it to: Estate Management Service, PO Box 595, Bristol, BS99 2AW.
The person you are exchanging with must also request permission from their landlord. We will check your application and will send a repairs officer to check your home. We will let you know our decision within 42 days of receiving your application form. You must not exchange until we have given you formal permission. If you do we may evict you.
If we refuse your request to exchange, we will tell you why we have made this decision. It is illegal to offer or accept any money to carry out a mutual exchange.
- The property you or your exchange partner are moving to is either too large or too small.
- You have a Notice Seeking Possession or a Possession Order served on you.
- Your home is one which is occupied as part of your job.
- The property you wish to exchange with has been specially adapted for people with disabilities and you do not have a need for such adaptations.
- The property you wish to exchange with is in a supported housing scheme, unless you qualify for such accommodation.
- It has been found that money is being offered or has been offered or exchanged in relation to the mutual exchange.
- You are an introductory tenant.
- If you have gas appliances in your home without a current and valid gas certificate issued by us.
What if you owe us rent or sundry debt
As of 01 August, for one year, we will consider your request for a mutual exchange if you have rent arrears and sundry debts where:
- You want to move to smaller council accommodation. This is regardless of the amount you owe or that you have to pay an under-occupation charge.
- You want to exchange to a home owned by us.
Our Rent Management Service will check your case. Permission will only be granted if you have an acceptable plan in place to repay the rent or sundry debt that they owe us.
Our repairs officer will check each room. If they cannot access each and every room, we will not be able to proceed. If you have made any alterations or caused any damage you may be asked to put this right before the exchange is allowed. There are three categories we will apply to any repairs or alterations identified:
- Category E: These are essential repairs due to health and safety. They must be completed before the exchange is allowed to go ahead.
- Category C: These are conditional repairs that should be put right before the exchange is allowed to go ahead.
- Category A: These items are agreed and signed for as being acceptable by the incoming tenant.
Category E and C repairs: When you have completed these repairs we will need to check to make sure that they have been done properly. Please contact us to arrange another inspection.
Category A repairs: We will not repair or replace anything identified as category A before or after you have exchanged your home. Any repairs needed to your current home must be accepted by the tenant you are exchanging with. You will need to accept any alterations or non standard fittings in your new home. For example: a non standard kitchen and built in wardrobes. Once you move you will become responsible for repairing and maintaining them.
- If we give you permission to exchange we will agree a convenient date to sign any necessary papers.
- You and the person you are exchanging with must meet any costs incurred in moving.
We will carry out repairs after you have exchanged your home, as long as we normally do them and they are due to fair wear and tear. However, we will not carry out any Category A repairs, as listed in the repairs inspection section above.
- We may deal with dangerous repairs such as isolating showers. However, you may have to pay for this service and then sort out a replacement.
- Any extension or shed that has become dangerous will be removed and you will be charged.
- Items such as non-standard taps will only be replaced if broken and then only with standard ones.
If the repair is a result of inappropriate or malicious damage it is unlikely we will do the repair. If we decide to do the repair as an exception, we will recharge the new household. This counts even if the damage was caused by the previous tenants. Any repairs which are not our responsibility will not be done. For example individual garden fences and gates.
For further information please see our thinking of moving factsheet (pdf, 166 KB)(opens new window).
Estate Management Service PO Box 595 Bristol, BS99 2AW Opening Hours
Open Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 6pm
- Email: email@example.com
- Work: 0117 922 2200 (option 4)
- Text phone: 0117 357 4444
- Fax: 0117 352 5104