A mutual exchange is when two or more households who currently hold a tenancies with a Housing Association, Registered Provider, or a Council, agree to swap properties. Households can move anywhere in the UK. When a mutual exchange takes place each household enters into a new assured tenancy with its new Landlord. There are a number of conditions that need to be met for a swap to be able to go ahead:
The properties that are to be exchanged must be occupied prior to the swap taking place.
Both parties must hold assured tenancies
Households must have a clear rent account before moving
The properties that are being swapped must be in decent condition.
Neither household can swap into a house that causes either party to become over-crowded.
Households need to obtain their Landlords permission before any swap can take place.
Households that wish to do a mutual exchange will need to find a swapping partner independently of their landlords. This can be achieved formally, through sites like Homeswapper or House Swap Wales, or more informally through social media. Not all Housing Associations are signed up with Homeswapper, and so social media is a good route to take to make sure all opportunities have been explored.
If a mutual exchange takes place that results in a household under-occupying a property, there can be an impact on the Housing Benefit that the household may receive. This needs to be taken into consideration when a household enters into a mutual exchange. It is a good idea for households to talk through their housing requirements with their current Landlord to ensure that a mutual exchange is the best option.