Exchange your home

Mutual exchange is where a tenant swaps their property and tenancy with another tenant. The swap must be with a tenant of a registered social landlord. When you swap, the tenancy itself continues. It is the tenant who changes; the tenancy continues to run on the property.

Any tenant who holds a secure or assured tenancy with another registered social landlord. We have a free scheme that enables tenants to find someone to swap their tenancy with. To do this simply register your details on the Homeswapper website.

Once you have found a suitable exchange partner, you should visit each other’s home to make sure you are happy with your choice. For your own safety, make sure a friend or relative is with you when you visit or when your exchange partner visits you.

You will have all the rights and responsibilities of the current tenancy transferred to you. This means in agreeing to the exchange you are accepting the condition of the property you are moving to, including:

  • The standard of the decoration
  • Any alterations that have been carried out by the other tenant
  • Any damage to the property

If any of these things need to be put right after the exchange, you will be responsible for arranging it yourself or for any costs that may arise if the Council carries out the work.

  • Has the tenant you wish to exchange with carried out any alterations to their property and did they get permission from us (or from their landlord if they are not an NKDC tenant) to do this?
  • Are you willing to take on the responsibility for the alterations?
  • Is there a gas or electricity point for your cooker?
  • Is there a space for your washing machine, dryer or fridge?
  • Is there any damage to doors or walls? Is there any damage to sinks, bath or WCs? Are any taps leaking?
  • Check who the gas and electricity supplier is at your new address, as you will have to arrange to change the supply to your name.

Contact your Housing Officer and ask for an application form. Fill this in and then send it back to us. Both parties intending to carry out the mutual exchange must complete a form. Your landlord will consider your exchange application. After this is done we will then visit to inspect the property. We aim to make a decision on your application as soon as we can, but the Council may need to make further enquiries with another landlord, which could take some extra time.

You will be given a date to sign the paperwork. Everybody, including the people you are swapping with, needs to sign. You will not be asked to sign a new tenancy agreement. You will be asked to sign a ‘Deed of Assignment’. This will be signed at North Kesteven District Council Offices and all parties must attend.

You will then be advised of the date on which the exchange takes place. It will be up to you to arrange the removal and swapping of the keys. Note that you can only claim Housing Benefit for the week that you move in. We will help you in dealing with your Housing Benefit.

The circumstances where a refusal may be made include:

  • If there is a Court Order or Notice of Seeking Possession
  • The property is much larger than needed by the household that you are swapping with
  • The property is too small for the household that you intend to swap with
  • The property is for a person with special needs, and after the swap a person with special needs would not be living there

We will notify you in writing if the exchange is refused and tell you why. If you are not happy with the decision, you are entitled to ask that a manager reviews the decision.

You may have to do certain things before you exchange. This may include, for example, clearing any outstanding rent arrears.

  • The new tenant takes on all the rights and responsibilities of the tenancy of the property that they move into.
  • Different landlords and types of tenancies may have different rights and responsibilities than your current tenancy. Please make sure you know your rights and responsibilities if you intend to swap.
  • You are not allowed to give or receive payment when swapping your property. 

  • You cannot exchange your property until given permission by your landlord. The landlord may go to court to evict you from the property you have moved into.

  • If you are swapping your tenancy you will be seen as accepting the property in its current condition. For example, if it needs decorating, or there are non-standard items that are the current tenant’s responsibility, then you will be responsible for these items as well. 

  • If the tenant you intend to swap with says that work is planned, either to the property or area, please check this with the landlord of the property.

To make the best of our limited housing stock we have a list of which households are eligible for each type of property.

We also award additional priority to those that are in Council or housing association property that is bigger than they need and are willing to move to a smaller property. Where someone is freeing up a larger property in a high demand area we have a transfer initiative scheme, providing a cash payment and/or assistance to help with the costs of moving and setting up a new home.

For more information contact the Council on 01529 414155 and ask to speak to the duty Housing Options Officer.