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Mutual Exchange

What is a Mutual Exchange?

Mutual Exchange (swapping properties with another Council or Housing Association tenant) can be a good way of finding your new home, one that’s best suited to your and your household’s needs. You may find a bigger choice of properties than through bidding on the Housing Register, and Mutual Exchange can be quicker than bidding.

What do I need to do?

Before you request a Mutual Exchange with your social housing landlord, you need to: register a Housing Application. If you’re a Housing Association tenant, you will also need to register a separate housing application on our site.

We also strongly recommend that you register with This is a national website for social landlord tenants that can help you find someone to swap homes with, either in Leeds or elsewhere.

When you’ve got your housing application registered and showing as active, you can share your property advert on their Facebook and Twitter sites:

Exercise caution when sharing your personal details. We also recommend that you take someone with you when you visit any property, and that you tell someone where you are going and what time you expect to return.

Important things to consider

It’s important that you understand the full implications of an exchange before you move.

When you’re thinking about starting a Mutual Exchange, make sure you get full information on the following.

  • Rent charges. Social housing properties have different rent levels. Make sure you know how much rent is charged on the property you are interested in moving to, and consider if the rent is affordable for you.
  • Service Charges. With some properties, you have to pay Service Charges in addition to rent charges. These can be to pay for the cleaning of communal areas like landings or shared gardens. Make sure you ask if there are any additional service charges associated with the property.
  • Tenancy type. If you are considering Mutual Exchange with another social housing landlord, the tenancy type they offer may be different from your Leeds City Council tenancy, and your rights under the new tenancy may change. Make sure you are clear what type of tenancy you are exchanging into, and if you are unsure of the implications, seek independent advice.
  • Succession rights. Under certain circumstances, close relatives are entitled to succeed to a Secure tenancy. The right to succession is personal to the individual tenant(s) and this right transfers with the tenant(s) when they move in a Mutual Exchange. If the incoming tenant has previously succeeded to a tenancy, no further successions would be permitted even though it is a different property.
  • Right to Buy. You should check if you would be eligible for Right to Buy in the new property. Housing Association properties, for instance, are not included in the Right to Buy scheme.

If you’re unsure on any of these points, speak to your Housing Office, the landlord of the property you’re thinking of exchanging with, or seek independent advice.

Remember: it is illegal to offer incentives to complete a Mutual Exchange.

When you’ve found a swap

We always suggest you check each other’s homes before agreeing to a swap. If you complete and exchange, you will be agreeing to accept the property ‘as seen’: you will be responsible for maintaining any improvements or alterations that have been made by the current tenant.

An application for a Mutual Exchange must be made in writing to your landlord; and Housing Leeds tenants must fill in a mutual exchange request form and return it to their local Housing Office, Community Hub or One Stop Centre. Permission must be given in writing from all the parties’ landlords before an exchange can take place. Permission can be refused, for reasons including rent arrears and bedroom entitlements not matching between the parties.

As part of the permission process, your landlord will need to carry out an initial inspection of your property. This is to identify and solve any problems before any new tenant moves in, including things like checking for outstanding repairs and checking for evidence of damp & mould.

After your landlord has agreed to the swap

In addition to the initial inspection, your landlord will need to carry out gas and electric safety checks. These are a legal requirement. A date for moving is agreed by each of the parties to the exchange and their landlords. On the day of the move, you’ll be asked to meet at a mutually-agreed time and place 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.