If your situation has changed and you need to move home, you might be able to swap houses with someone who’s also renting their home from a housing association or local authority and wants a change. This is called a mutual exchange.
If you're thinking of moving by swapping your home then here's some useful frequently asked questions to help you on your way.
How do I find a mutual exchange home?
Home Group customers can register for free with HomeSwapper. This is the biggest national mutual exchange service for the UK, with over 200,000 homes across the country available to swap.
Once your details have been checked out, you’ll be able to advertise your property and search for a new home. HomeSwapper can also search for matches for you and send you an alert if it finds a home that fits the bill.
You can also find home swaps in local adverts in shops, newspapers or libraries. You’d just need to arrange to have a look around any homes you like the look of.
On the hunt for a house exchange? Check out our top five tips:
- Make sure you’re looking at homes that are the right size for your household
- Check you can easily afford the rent for the homes you’re looking at
- If you have a pet, make sure you’ll be able to get permission to keep your pet in the home
- If you have a car, check if there’s parking available and if you’ll need a permit
- Find out what kind of tenancy your exchange partner has - if the exchange is approved then you’ll get their tenancy agreement, which means your terms and conditions might change
It’s really important that you’re happy with the area you’re hoping to move to and with the condition of the property. Mutual exchange homes are taken as you see them and Home Group aren’t responsible for any changes, decorating or repairs if you go ahead with a swap.
Please remember that it’s illegal to take money or offer an incentive of any kind to make someone swap homes with you. If you’d like to speak to us about this or think someone might be trying to get you to swap with them illegally, please contact us straight away.
How do I apply for a mutual exchange?
Both you and your exchange partner (or partners, if you’re part of a chain of exchanges) will need to fill out a mutual exchange application form each (the form for England is below) and send it to your local Home Group office (if you’re not sure where your nearest office is please contact us or join Live Chat). You may also need to fill out application forms for any other landlords involved.
Am I eligible for a mutual exchange?
You can only swap houses if you’re on a secure, assured or fixed-term tenancy. If you’re on a starter tenancy, you won’t qualify until you’re at the end of your 12 months and been moved to an assured or fixed-term tenancy. You can’t exchange with a private customer or homeowner either.
We will only refuse to give permission for an exchange if there’s a good reason. Some of these reasons are set out by law. If your exchange isn’t allowed, you do have the right to appeal the decision.
The most common reasons for an exchange being turned down are:
- One of the properties has too many or not enough bedrooms
- One of the properties has been specifically adapted (for example, for someone with a physical disability) and the people wanting to move in don’t need the adaptations
- One party has rent arrears or is in the middle of legal action for breach of tenancy
What do I need to do to arrange my mutual exchange?
Once the ball is rolling on your exchange, a housing manager and a maintenance surveyor will come out to see you in your current home. They will need to:
- Check out your current home and let you know if there are any repairs you’ll need to do before the exchange
- Complete a reference for you for the other landlord
- Pay a visit to your exchange partner and double check we’re happy with their reference
How long will I need to wait?
Once we’ve received your application, we’ll notify you within 42 days in England or 28 days in Scotland, with the outcome of your application.