Mutual Exchanges

If you want to move to a different home, a Mutual Exchange is probably the quickest way.  A Mutual Exchange is where you swap your tenancy with another social housing tenant.  You take on responsibility for their property and tenancy and they take on yours.

Who can apply for a swap?

Tenants with an Assured, Affordable or Secure Tenancy can swap their homes, but you will need permission from Tamar before you go ahead. Rentplus tenants aren't permitted to exhange.

New Tenants who have a Starter Tenancy have to wait until the Starter Tenancy is converted into an Assured or Affordable Tenancy before they can exchange. This usually happens after one year, as long as there have been no problems with the tenancy.

Is there any reason why Tamar might refuse a swap?

A Mutual Exchange can only be refused in certain circumstances.  In practice the main reasons would be if:

  • Either you or the tenant you want to swap with are subject to a Court Order from your landlord.  This might be for rent arrears, anti-social behaviour or some other reason.
  • Legal action has started to get you to leave your home.
  • One of the homes is too large or too small for the incoming family. Tamar no longer allows incoming residents to have a spare bedroom.
  • One of the homes is designed for a disabled person and there is no one in the incoming family that is disabled.

Size Criteria

Tamar will only accept Mutual Exchanges where the size of the property is suitable for the incoming family.  In deciding whether a property is suitable for a family the following criteria will be used.

  • The tenant (or joint tenants) will have the largest bedroom
  • Each adult or adult couple will have their own room (anyone aged over 16 is counted as an adult)
  • Two children of the same sex may share a bedroom, whatever their age
  • Two children of opposite sexes may share a bedroom until the oldest is 10
  • Only one child or adult may occupy a single room (under 9.5m2 in area).  Rooms over 9.5m2 may be occupied by one or two people
  • Allowance is made for applicants who need separate rooms for medical reasons or where there is a need for an overnight carer.  Evidence of the need will have to be provided
  • Spare bedrooms are not permitted
  • Where the property will be under-occupied (for example because of medical reasons) and the resident will be in receipt of Housing Benefit, Tamar will carry out a financial assessment to ensure that the tenant is able to afford to pay the rent.

Charges for a Mutual Exchange

Tamar will make a charge to cover the cost of the gas and electric check required for a mutual exchange, but only where the Mutual Exchange is not completed .  Currently this charge is £100 and is only refundable if the checks are not carried out.`

What about rent arrears?

If you or the family you want to swap with have any rent arrears or owe any money for repairs or Court Costs this will not stop the swap from happening.  However, you will have to clear the debt in full before the exchange goes ahead.

How do you find someone to swap with?

Tamar subscribes to a website called www.HomeSwapper.co.uk .  Alternatively, you can sometimes find lists of tenants who want to exchange at your local authority or adverts in local newspapers and shops.  If you can’t find anyone to swap with you might think about putting an advert in a local shop yourself.

Where can you move to?

You can swap with any tenant of a social landlord anywhere in the UK.  Sometimes the swap can involve more than two households, as long as all the Tenants meet the criterion of their landlord.

What happens when you find someone to swap with?

You should contact Tamar and we will send you the forms so that you can apply for an exchange.  You will need to give us details of your family and of the family you want to swap with.

We will then carry out an inspection of your property, to see what condition it is in.  Any damage or improvements you have made to the property will be noted, as the new tenant will be taking responsibility for these. We will also carry out a gas and electric safety check, to make sure that the property is safe for the new tenant.

How long will it take?

Normally you will receive a decision on whether the exchange will be allowed within 6 weeks.  However, you don’t have to move then.  The date of any move will be agreed between you, the other tenant and the landlords involved.

Remember, you are also taking on responsibility for the home you are moving to so make sure you are happy with the condition of the property before you apply.