A mutual exchange is a home swap between two or more social housing customers.
There are many reasons this may happen, including the need for more or less space, moving for work or to be closer to loved ones. It’s a great option for customers who can’t access or don’t want to wait for the normal allocation process and it gives you more control and means you’re able to choose a home that suits your needs better in a place you want to live.
The first thing you need to do if you’re thinking of exchanging is to find an exchange partner. The best place to find an exchange is using HomeSwapper – it’s free for Longhurst Group customers.
Create a HomeSwapper account
If you decide you want to go ahead with a mutual exchange, you’ll now need to complete the application form on HomeSwapper. The household (or households) that you want to exchange with will also need to fill this out before we can process your application.
You'll then be set up with a SwapTracker account - this is an online portal where you can track the progress of your exchange 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Make sure you always check the portal before contacting us for an update as it's much quicker and easier for you.
If you want to exchange your home but don’t have a HomeSwapper account, please fill in the online form below.
Things to consider before you apply
You must have a clear rent account before applying and you must keep your rent payments up-to-date. You should also repay any other outstanding debts to us, such as legal or court costs or any recharge costs before making an application to exchange.
As part of the mutual exchange process, a gas and an electric safety check must be carried out and the charge for this is your responsibility. We charge you what our contractor charges us to carry out these checks plus a small administrative charge and the amount you will be required to pay is £250. You must pay this during the early stages of your application and we will let you know when it is time to make the payment. This applies to Longhurst Group customers who are leaving their properties.
If the gas and electric safety checks are carried out and subsequently your exchange doesn’t proceed, we will not refund the cost.
For all customers moving into a Longhurst Group property, at least four week’s rent must be paid at least 48 hours prior to the exchange date. A direct debit must also be set up for future rent payments.
You are making a commitment to taking on a property ‘as seen’, so before committing to swapping homes with another customer, make sure you can answer Yes to all of the following questions:
- Do you have a clear rent account?
- Is your home and garden in good condition and have you reported any necessary repairs?
- Do you have an assured tenancy?
- Can you confirm that you have not been served with a notice of seeking possession in the last 12 months?
- Do you have the full name, address and landlord details for the people you wish to exchange with?
- Have the people who you want to exchange with been to view your home?
- Have you viewed the property you want to move in to and agree to accept it ‘as seen’?
- Is the property large enough to meet the needs of you and your family?
- Is it in the right location?
- Can you afford to pay the weekly rent and charges on the new property?
- If the property you are moving into has any adaptations e.g. level access shower etc, do you have a medical need for them?
- If you are the incoming customer, can you pay the first rent payment on the new property?
- If you are the outgoing customer, can you afford to pay the £250 utility safety certificates charge
If you answered ‘No’ to any of the above, then you should not apply for a mutual exchange as we will not give permission.
If you can answer ‘Yes’ to all the above questions, please remember that you will be taking on a new tenancy in the condition you have seen it. This means that any non-standard repairs that you find with the property or the garden after you have moved in are your responsibility.
To find someone to exchange your home with, register on HomeSwapper.
This free online service will help you find other customers who are also looking for a mutual exchange. You can log on and search the site for a match. You don’t have to exchange with another one of our customers. Exchanges can be made with customers of other Councils and Housing Associations across the country.
When you apply to join HomeSwapper they will ask us to approve your application. We will not approve any request to join HomeSwapper if you currently owe rent arrears or other debt. (Please note that a clear rent account will be required before any permission for an exchange will be given). You can also place adverts in local papers or shops asking for someone to exchange with.
If you think you have found an exchange partner, you need to apply using Swap Tracker.
While we would not unreasonably refuse a request to exchange, the main reasons we would refuse a request to exchange other than those listed above are as follows:
- If your home is too large or too small for the people moving in
- If your home is linked to your work
- If your home is suitable for people with special needs, which the person you want to swap with does not have
- Where you will not meet our lettings criteria for existing schemes
- We have undertaken a pre-tenancy check and based on your income we are not satisfied that you can afford to take on the property.
Once we have received completed application forms from both parties, through Swap Tracker, we will arrange a home visit, to survey your home and discuss your request in more detail. We will also visit the home of the person you wish to exchange with.
Once we have visited you and received all the information, we will consider your application and we have up to 42 days to make our decision.
We will write and let you know if we can approve the exchange; this may include adding conditions that need to be met before the exchange can proceed.
When exchanging you are taking on the other person’s property “as seen”. This means that you will be responsible for the condition of the new property.
- Expect you to maintain the property and garden in a reasonable condition
- Expect you to keep your rent account up to date
- Expect you and the members of your household not to cause any nuisance or annoyance to your neighbours
Please remember that your exchange will be declined if you can clearly cannot afford to sustain a tenancy once pre-tenancy checks have been completed.
We will not:
- Allow you to move without having to given our permission
- Decorate the property you move into
- Pay your moving costs
- Deal with complaints you have about the condition that the previous customer left the property in.