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Swapping your home

You can swap your home with someone else who lives in social housing. It’s called a mutual exchange.

How do I swap homes?

It’s easy once you’ve found a willing household with a home that fits the bill.

The first step is to find someone to exchange homes with on a mutual exchange website. You should try:

The next step is to fill in a mutual exchange application form [pdf].

I’ve sent in my application, when can I move?

We’ll let you know if you can swap within six weeks of receiving your application form.

We’ll contact you to arrange a visit to check the condition of your home. The house should be in good condition for the next tenants, so you’ll have to repair any damage beforehand.

When we’ve given permission for the exchange to go ahead, we’ll contact you to arrange a date to exchange. Please don’t move before the paperwork has been signed on the day of the exchange.

Questions about mutual exchange

Am I eligible to swap?

To swap your home you must:

  • be our tenant
  • not be on a starter or assured shorthold tenancy
  • have a clear rent account
  • have kept to the terms of your tenancy agreement.

Contact us if you need a full set of terms and conditions.

What happens to my tenancy if I exchange?

You’ll be taking over the tenancy of the person you are swapping with. So it’s important to find out about their tenancy first.

Ask to see their tenancy agreement and compare it with your own. If they can’t find it, you can ask their landlord for a copy. Look for any differences, particularly on:

  • rent: a difference in rent can affect what you pay. Your rent may work out higher if you move. For example, Fair Rent fixed by a rent officer is different to rent fixed by the council.
  • Right to Buy: if you have a Right to Buy your home, you can’t take this with you to your new house.
  • tenancy succession: check whether you’ll have this right. It allows your relatives to take over your tenancy when you pass away.

Who can I swap my home with?

You can swap your home with:

  • another Guinness tenant
  • a tenant of another registered social landlord or housing association
  • someone living in a council-owned and managed home.

Who do I need to get permission from before I swap?

You must get permission from us before you can exchange your home. The person that you want to swap with must get permission from their landlord.

You could be evicted if you try to swap your home without our permission.

What information do you share with my new landlord?

If you’re exchanging with someone who isn’t a Guinness tenant, we’ll contact the other landlord for you. We swap information on everyone involved, including:

  • the size of the households
  • any rent arrears
  • any existing court orders or court proceedings
  • any serious anti-social behaviour.

Do you ever refuse mutual exchanges?

We can refuse a mutual exchange. The most common reasons are:

  • one or both of the tenants are in rent arrears
  • the house is the wrong size for the new household
  • one of the tenants is being taken to court for possession of the property
  • the house is in a sheltered scheme and the new tenant doesn’t need those facilities
  • the new tenant’s income is higher than permitted and they aren’t a Guinness tenant already.

I've been given conditional consent. What does this mean?

This means that the exchange can go ahead, but you have to deal with any problems that are your responsibility first. This might be rent arrears or repairs.