Exchange your home

How to apply to exchange your home with a council tenant, or housing association tenant

About mutual exchange

It may be quicker to exchange your home, than applying for a transfer through Home Choice Bristol.

You can only apply for an exchange if you’re a secure tenant. If you're an introductory tenant, you won't be able to exchange your home.

When you exchange your home you’ll also be swapping your rights for those of the other tenant.

Check how your rights may change 

Before you think about exchanging, it's useful to check:

  • the terms and conditions of their tenancy
  • their security of tenure, you may swap your secure tenancy for a fixed term tenancy
  • the cost of their rent, you may be paying more than you currently do and you need to be able to pay for the difference in rent
  • the condition of the home you are exchanging into, check what repairs works, if any, are being carried out by your new landlord

Find someone to exchange with

You can find someone to exchange with using the Homeswapper website.

Find someone to exchange with

It’s free, quick and easy to use. All you have to do is sign up to the service.

HomeSwapper will advertise your property to other tenants across the country, and it'll search for possible matches for you after you set your preferences.

There's also a free mobile app, which you can use to look for properties and upload photos of your home.

You can also use social media to find people looking to exchange their home.

Apply for a mutual exchange

When you’ve found someone to exchange with you need to get permission from us to exchange. 

The person you’re exchanging with will also need to get permission from their landlord, so you should check that they’ve done this before you go ahead.

Apply for a mutual exchange

More than two households wanting to exchange

If there are more than two households wanting to exchange properties with each other, you'll need to fill in a three or more way mutual exchange form (word doc, 126k) (opens new window)

Email the completed form to estates@bristol.gov.uk

Repairs inspection

We’ll send a repairs officer to inspect your home after we’ve received your application.

They’ll check each room and look at any alterations you’ve made or damage that’s been caused whilst you’ve been living there. 

You might be asked to fix anything that’s been broken before exchanging.

Anything you need to fix will be given one of the following categories:

  • category E, essential repairs due to health and safety which must be completed before the exchange can go ahead
  • category C, conditional repairs that need to be fixed before you exchange
  • category A, things that might be broken but can be signed for as acceptable by the incoming tenant so you don’t have to fix them

You’ll need to arrange another inspection with us so that we can check that category C and E repairs have been resolved properly.

We won’t repair or replace anything that is in category A before or after you’ve exchanged your home. These will need to be accepted by the incoming tenant and signed for.

We’ll also inspect the property that you’re moving into, but we won’t repair or replace anything that’s been damaged or broken by the previous tenant.

Once you’ve exchanged you agree to take on responsibility for maintain and fixing all items in your new home, which includes non-standard items such as kitchens, built-in wardrobes, showers, extensions or heating systems.

How long it takes

We’ll let you know our decision within 42 days of receiving your application.

The decision will be one of the following outcomes:

  • consent is given without conditions,  so you can exchange your home
  • conditional consent is given, so you may exchange if you've met the conditions that we set out
  • withhold consent, you cannot exchange your home

It’s important you don't exchange before we’ve given you permission and you have signed the relevant paperwork

Reasons we may withhold consent to exchange

If we withhold consent we'll write to you to explain why.

It could be because:

  • you have outstanding rent arrears, and you've not made regular payments to reduce them
  • you've been served with a Notice Seeking Possession or a Possession Order 
  • the property you want to move to has been adapted and you don’t have any need for these
  • the property you want to move to is in a supported housing scheme, and you do not require supported housing, or are under the age restriction to live in that block
  • your current home is being used for your job
  • the property you’re moving to is either too large or too small
  • you’re either offering or receiving money in relation to your exchange, it’s illegal to offer or accept money to help you carry out the exchange.

Completing the exchange

Once we’ve given you permission to exchange we’ll agree a convenient date to sign any necessary paperwork and go through the repairs survey.

Fixing repairs after you’ve exchanged

We’ll continue to carry out the same repairs that we’ve always carried out after you’ve exchanged. This includes things that have been damaged due to normal wear and tear.