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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 can I find a home to swap with?

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

They’re all free to use if you’re one of our customers. You can also find exchanges on Facebook, GumTree and in local papers.

How do I swap homes?

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

If you’re one of our residents you should fill in the mutual exchange application form.

If you’re swapping with one of our residents fill in the mutual exchange application form for non-customers.

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. You shouldn’t move home before all the paperwork has been signed because you’re still responsible for any rent charges until that date.

Questions about mutual exchange

Do you ever refuse mutual exchanges?

We can refuse a mutual exchange.

The main reason is if we find you’re in rent arrears. We can give permission on the condition that your rent arrears are paid.

Other common reasons are:

  • the house is the wrong size for the new household
  • the tenants are 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
  • Eviction proceedings have started
  • Any member of the household has behaved in an anti-social way and is subject to an injunction or anti-social behaviour order
  • the home has been adapted for a disabled person and is not suitable for you
  • the home is for older people and you don’t need those facilities.

Am I eligible to swap?

To swap your home you must:

  • be our tenant
  • not be on a starter or assured shorthold tenancy.

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:

  • your new rent
  • tenancy succession

Will I keep my Right to Buy?

If you’re swapping with another Guinness or council tenant you’ll retain this right.

If you’re a council tenant and swapping to a Guinness home you’ll keep your Preserved Right to Buy.

If you move to another housing association you may lose this right.

 

Who can I swap my home with?

Anyone who holds an Assured, Secure, fixed-term or flexible tenancy. This includes tenants living in a:

  • registered provider of social housing such as a Housing Association provided they hold an Assured (not Assured Short-hold) or Fixed-term tenancy
  • council home with a Secure or Flexible tenancy
  • housing trust.

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.

Without permission the swap isn’t official and you may find your housing benefit or Universal Credit isn’t paid.

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.

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.

Still have questions?

Please call our Customer Contact Centre on 0303 123 1890 and speak to a member of the application team who will be happy to help.