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Need to downsize or upsize to meet your family need? Want to be nearer friends, family or to move for work? A mutual exchange could be a fast and easy way to find a new home.
What is a Mutual Exchange?
A mutual exchange is when two or more council or housing association tenants decide to swap homes.
Finding your new home
Leeds Homes provides tenants with a local and national exchange service called House Exchange. You can use the House Exchange website http://www.houseexchange.org.uk to put you in touch with thousands of other tenants wanting to swap their homes, locally, regionally and nationally. You will need to complete the online registration form to receive your ID number and password following approval from your landlord and it’s completely free.
If you want to move out of Leeds you can identify matches with tenants who have registered with other exchange websites across the country. This is called Homeswap Direct and they are shown on House Exchange when you search for a property.
New customers join the scheme on a daily basis, so if you don’t find a swap straight away, keep logging onto the House Exchange website regularly. You will automatically receive e-mail alerts to let you know when another customer matches your requirements which you can choose to switch off. If you don’t log onto the site for 3 months your details will be removed from the website automatically.
Once registered on House Exchange you will receive contact from other tenants who are interested in your property. You will also be able to contact other tenants whose home matches your requirements.
When you’ve found a swap
Once you have found someone to swap homes with, you’ll need to check each other’s homes before agreeing to move. You need to contact your landlord with the details and make sure they agree in writing to the swap. You also need to fill in a Leeds Homes membership form before the swap takes place if you haven’t already. Your landlord must let you know their decision within 42 days.
If you are a tenant of Leeds City Council and have found another tenant to exchange with, you will need to print off and complete a Request Form here. Once completed you must send or take it to your local housing office or One Stop Centre for consideration.
Before you move your landlord will need to check your home. Your move may be delayed if your home or garden are not in good condition, you have rent arrears, or you have broken your tenancy agreement in any way. You’ll need to check how much rent you’ll have to pay in your new home. You will be responsible for maintaining any improvements or alterations that have been made by the current tenant.
After your landlord has agreed to the swap
When your landlord has written to say you can swap homes, you’ll be asked to sign a Deed of Assignment to transfer your tenancy to the new address. Once you have signed the Deed you’ll be the legal tenant of your new home and will lose the right to stay in your old home. You’ll need to agree a date for moving on or soon after the signing and you must inform the gas, electricity, telephone and water suppliers.
Could my swap be refused?
Your landlord, or the landlord of the person you want to swap with, may decide not to agree to the exchange if:
- There is a court order requiring you to give up possession of your home for rent arrears or anti-social behaviour.
- A Notice Seeking Possession of your home has been served due to your tenancy conditions being broken, for example, for rent arrears, anti-social behaviour or any other breach of your tenancy conditions.
- The home you want to move to is too large or small for your family’s needs.
- Your landlord re-housed you in your present home because you have special housing needs, such as adaptations, which you still need but are not included in your new home.
Moving to a home owned by another landlord
Your housing office will pass on details about your current home to your new landlord. This will include information about your rent payments and how you have managed your tenancy.
Different landlords offer different tenancy conditions, for example, the rent you pay may be different from the person you are swapping with.
Some homes cannot be bought under the Right to Buy scheme. You should check this before you agree to move. You should check with your landlord whether any of your rights are affected before you agree to the exchange.
To register and find people wanting to swap homes locally, regionally and nationally go to:
www.houseexchange.org.uk. If you do not have access to the internet you can get a friend or member of your family to register you. Alternatively, you can use a public access computer such as in your local library or One Stop Centre. For information about the scheme call 0113 2224413.