Mutual exchanges can be really helpful if you are looking to move to be closer to family, work, amenities, looking to downsize or if you are just looking for a home that better suits you and your family.
If you can find another tenant of a council or housing association to swap homes, it can be a quicker way than the housing register to find a new home.
Some things to take into consideration before applying for a mutual exchange are:
- Having no rent arrears
- Being on a secure, flexible or assured tenancy
- Moving to a property that is right for your needs (i.e not too big or too small)
- If there are adaptations to a property, they are suitable for the needs of the tenant going into it.
- If it is a sheltered property, the tenant moving into it is suitable for that type of property.
- There is no notice of seeking possession on the property
- There are no anti-social behaviour issues
If any of these are an issue, there is a chance you may not be able to exchange properties. More about Refusing a Mutual exchange below.
You can find a mutual exchange partner by registering on exchange locata. Registering on exchange locata is free for South Cambridgeshire District Council tenants and lets you advertise your own property and find a mutual exchange partner both locally and nationally. You may also look at other ways to find a mutual exchange, such as advertising in local shops, newspapers, social media or using other mutual exchange websites (some of these may ask for a fee to use).
You will want to take a good look round when you go to view the property, as you will be accepting the property ‘as seen’ and you are responsible for checking the property you would like to move to.
Below are a few things you might want to consider when you look at a property;
- Repairs – If repairs need doing to the house you are moving to, these should be agreed by the tenant before the exchange.
- Pets – if you have pets, does the landlord you are exchanging with accept them?
- Size – is the home you are moving to the right size for you? Will you be over or under occupying the property?
- Repair responsibility – Has the previous tenant carried out any work that means they are now responsible for repairs to any part of the house?
- Heating – what type of heating does the home have? Is it suitable for you?
- Technology – does your mobile phone have a signal at the property? Are broadband services connected?
- Decorating – will you need to carry out any decorating? Have you budgeted for this?
- Local area – if you are moving to a different area, do you know what services are in the area?
- Schools – if you have children will they need to change schools? Are there places available?
- Tenancy – will exchanging affect your tenancy type? If you are unsure, speak to your Housing Officer.
Think about your personal safety when arranging to view a potential property, wherever possible bring a family member or friend with you when attending. If this is not possible make sure you let someone know where you are going and what time you believe you should be finished – give them a call as soon as you have completed the viewing and ask that they ring you if you haven’t phoned them by a particular time. You could also ask for them to phone a few minutes into the meeting to make sure that you are okay.
It's also a good idea to check out the local area, especially if this is the reason you are moving, to make sure it is right for you. If you aren’t familiar with the area you could take a walk around at different times of the day and at the weekend.
When you create your advert think about what you would like to see when looking for your ideal home to swap.
Show off the positives:
- Is it close to a local shop?
- Are schools close by?
- Other services such as Doctors, parks, pubs and restaurants
- What travel links are there? Bus stop, train station, connecting roads
Photos are always a good idea as some people skip over adverts that don't include any. Think about which photos to include and try to make sure they are clear and show as much of the room and/or garden as possible. Think about the pictures you would like to see when looking for a home.
We have 42 days to let you know our decision on granting the mutual exchange.
In this time your Housing Officer will arrange a time to visit your home with a surveyor and go through what, if anything, might need to be repaired before the exchange takes place.
When you are ready to exchange you will be asked to sign either a deed of assignment or a new tenancy agreement.
You may change your mind about the exchange at any point up until the new tenancy agreement or deed of assignment is signed.
All this information and more tips can be found in our Mutual Exchange Leaflet [PDF, 0.5MB]
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