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What is Mutual Exchange?

If you have a secure or flexible tenancy, you may have the right to swap your home. This is called a mutual exchange. If you are currently living in a local authority or a housing association property you may be eligible to exchange. There are certain restrictions such as legal proceedings having started for rent arrears or other breaches of tenancy but if you are our tenant you can contact your neighbourhood officer who can provide more information. If you are a housing association tenant please speak directly with your landlord.

How can I exchange properties?

You can register free with House Exchange. It uses the details you supply to find other tenants who may have a home that suits your needs and who would also be interested in your home. This is called a match. When a match is found you will receive a message via SMS text or email and you can then log on and if you like what you see you can make contact to arrange a viewing.

There is nothing to stop you advertising for a swap in the local press, supermarket or on notice boards but you must not offer any financial incentive. 

When you have found a match, all parties to the exchange must complete our Mutual Exchange Application Form. To request a copy of the form, please email and we will either email you a copy or send you one by post.  Once you have completed and signed the form it can be returned to us by post or scan. When all forms are received we will begin the process. We will visit you and carry out some visual checks of the property, this is not an exhaustive check and will not identify all tenant responsible damage or unauthorised alterations. If we notice any damage, hazards or unauthorised alterations and repairs are needed they may have to be done before you move and you will be recharged if they need to be carried out by the Council. We would strongly recommend that all tenants thinking about exchanging fully inspect the other property at least once, checking all rooms and behind furniture. We are happy to answer questions about what is likely to standard or non-standard. We would also recommend that you ask the person you are swapping with about any changes they have made and responsibilities they have taken on as you will become responsible for these. Fair wear and tear is not rechargeable, but the property should be clean and in good decorative order. We will also exchange information with other landlords about you and how you have conducted your tenancy with us. 

We have 42 days to tell you if you are eligible to swap or not, the physical swapping of homes is likely to be within two to three months depending on whether work on the property needs to be carried out before you exchange. You must not exchange before you have received confirmation from us. If you do, you would be occupying a home you are not the legal tenant of and we would seek to take possession of the property via the County Court, potentially putting you at risk of becoming homeless.

Why an exchange may not happen

There are a number of grounds that we can refuse to allow an exchange to happen, these are if:

  • you have an introductory tenancy
  • you have been served with a notice of possession or have a court order
  • your property is larger than your needs or too small, making it overcrowded
  • the property has been adapted for a person with a physical disability and if the exchange went ahead such a person would no longer live there. An example of this would be if you have a wet room, the incoming tenant must require this adaptation for medical reasons, otherwise the exchange will be refused. 

You can find more about the Legislative reasons for a refusal for a mutual exchange: here

How can I transfer to bigger or smaller alternative accommodation?

You need to apply online at Devon Home Choice. This is a choice based lettings scheme and this means you get to choose the property you would like to move to. The website shows a list of available council and housing association homes and you can bid on any that interest you.

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