What is a mutual exchange?

A mutual exchange is where you swap your home with another council, Stockport Homes or housing association tenant. You take over the other person’s tenancy, under the same terms and conditions, and they take over yours. Any council or housing association tenant with a secure or assured tenancy can apply for a mutual exchange. 

How long does the exchange process take?

Housing Law allows housing providers 42 working days from receipt of the mutual exchange application forms for a decision to be made regarding the request to swap homes. 
 
Please note: You should not make any arrangements to swap your home until permission has been granted and you have signed the appropriate paperwork. 

How can I find a mutual exchange?

You can find a mutual exchange through: 

Can I encourage an exchange by paying someone?

No, do not offer any cash incentives in return for an exchange. It is illegal and you and your family could be evicted from your property by your council or housing association. 

Arranging a mutual exchange viewing

Remember, you need to be sure about a property – after all it is potentially going to be your new home. Try and view the property more than once (maybe including weekend and evenings), before you make the decision to go ahead with applying for a move.  

Safety when viewing a property 

  • Always tell someone else where you have gone and what time you expect to be back (especially if you are viewing on your own) 
  • Take a mobile phone with you 
  • Try and go with a friend or family member for a second opinion - you should let the person you are visiting know that you will be accompanied 
  • Confirm with the other party who will be at the property when you view 
  • Plan you journey in advance 
  • Never accepts lifts from anyone you don’t know 
Before you visit a property

Make a checklist of all your priorities and the things you want to find out. These could include: 

  • How much is the rent? 
  • What sort of tenancy will I be offered? 
  • How many bedrooms does it have? 
  • What are the local schools like? 
  • Is there allocated parking and if not, is it easy to park? 
  • Are transport links good? How far is it to the nearest station or bus stop? 
  • What are the neighbours like? 
  • Is there is a garden, what size is it and is it private or shared? 
  • Does the tenancy allow pets? 
  • Where are the nearest shops and other amenities? 
  • What kind of heating does it have and does it suit me? 
  • Does it need decorating? 
  • When would the current residents want to move out? 
  • What items do the current residents plan to take with them? 

Be sure about what is included with the property – If there are fixtures and fittings that have been provided by the outgoing tenant, and not by Stockport Homes, then we will not maintain or replace them in the future. If you accept them you will have to sign a declaration to say you take responsibility to repair the items yourself. 

What should I do once I have found an exchange?
  • When you have found someone to swap with, and you are both happy with each other’s properties, please contact the mutual exchange officer to let them know (they will then arrange all the paperwork as quickly as they can) 
  • Your neighbourhood housing officer with then make a decision as to whether your mutual exchange can go ahead 
  • Please note: you are not authorised to carry out a mutual exchange until full written permission is given 
How we decide if an exchange can go ahead

Property Inspection – We will arrange to carry out a 'visual inspection' of your home and garden to check for any outstanding repairs or unauthorised alterations which need to be fixed before you move. You will be informed in writing if there are any repairs which are your responsibility 

This will include things like: 

  • Neglect full damage to fixtures and fittings that are not the result of wear and tear 
  • DIY or improvements you have made without your landlords permission 

Once these have been completed, we will arrange to re-visit to check that the work has been carried out satisfactorily. 

You will not be permitted to move until the repairs have been completed to an acceptable standard. 

Any repairs which are Stockport Homes’ responsibility will be reported to the repairs Contact Centre to be completed before the exchange goes ahead. 

A Tenancy Reference will be requested for each tenant, the reference should confirm that there are no outstanding rent arrears, no legal action is being taken for anti-social behaviour and that the tenancy has been conducted satisfactorily. 

Can an exchange be refused?

Exchanges can only be refused for specific reasons. The main reasons we can refuse an exchange are: 

  • you have rent / rehousing arrears, these must be cleared as a condition before you can exchange homes 
  • you have been served a Notice Seeking Possession 
  • you have not kept to the terms of your Tenancy Agreement 
  • the home you are wanting to move to means it will be overcrowded or under occupied 
  • you or a member of your family has had an anti-social behaviour court order against you / them 
  • the property was built for, or been adapted for a disabled person and you do not meet the criteria 
  • the property has been designed for the elderly only and you do not meet the age related criteria (Sheltered Scheme) 
Cost of a mutual exchange
  • Searching for an exchange – free 
  • Mutual Exchange paperwork – free 
  • Removals approximately £200 (man with a van) 
Moving day

Once the exchange has been approved you can agree a moving date with the other tenant that is a working day (Monday to Friday) and we will arrange a date for you to complete the sign up paperwork. 

Gas / electric checks: Please note that a full gas and electrical safety check must be carried out at your current property on the actual date of moving and that any mutual exchange is conditional upon those tests being arranged and carried out. We will require you to notify us at least 10 working days in advance of any proposed actual move date. 

You need to ensure the property is left in a clean and tidy condition for the incoming tenant and you have removed all unwanted items and rubbish from the property; this includes the garden and loft. 

House exchange

Stockport Homes tenants can register for FREE with exchange finding website www.houseexchange.org.uk this is especially good if you are looking to move outside of Stockport. 

Swapping your home leaflet

Read this leaflet for more information on what a mutual exchange is and how you can apply.

PDF 1087Kb

View online
Download

Mutual exchange application form

Section 1: Household

Please answer all the questions below in full.

1. Your details

Please enter all your details below.

2. Details of joint tenant

If you have a joint tenancy all tenants must agree to an exchange.

3. Other people moving with you

Please include details of all the other people moving with you.

Person 1

Person 2

Person 3

Person 4

3. Your contact details

Section 2: Where you live now

Please provide details.
Please note that any alterations and repairs should be put right before you request an exchange.

Section 3: What are you looking for?

Please tick all types you want to consider.
Please tick all areas you want to consider.
For example, ground floor, adaptations, pets

Section 4: Proposed exchange

If ‘no’ please move onto signing the declaration section as no further info is needed. If ‘yes’ please fill out the below and provide details of the tenant you want to exchange with.

For example, friends, family, Facebook
For example, size, closer to family, medical reasons

Section 5: Declaration

We are asking for this information because we need it to carry out an initial check and fulfil your application for a mutual exchange. If you have found a match please be aware that in order for us to be able to process your application we will share some tenancy details with your mutual exchange match’s landlord (this applies to matches that include a housing association tenant) The data we collect will only be used to support this application and will be destroyed when it is no longer needed.