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Swapping your home - mutual exchange

One of the quickest ways to move is to swap your home with another council or housing association tenant. This is called a ‘mutual exchange’.

Yes, you can swap if you are:

  •  a council tenant with a secure or flexible (secure) tenancy
  •  a housing association tenant with an assured or secure tenancy. You can also exchange tenancies if you are a housing association tenant with a fixed-term assured shorthold tenancy of 2 years or more.

No, you can’t swap if you are:

  • a council tenant with an introductory or demoted tenancy.
  • a housing association tenant with a starter tenancy.

If you are Waverley Borough Council tenant and are not sure what type of tenancy you have, call Housing Customer Service on 0330 119 3000 or email Mutual.Exchange@waverley.gov.uk

Reasons we may refuse a Mutual Exchange:

  • either tenant has a suspended or outright possession order
  • legal action has started because of rent arrears or anti-social behaviour
  • the home that you or the other tenant wants to move into is too big or too small for your needs
  • the home contains adaptations that you or the other tenant do not need.

If you have rent arrears you might get permission on condition that you agree to clear the arrears before you move.

You must not exchange homes with anyone unless you have written permission from both landlords. If you move without this, you risk making you and your family homeless.

You can:

  • Sign up to HomeSwapper, the UK’s largest online community of social rented tenants looking to swap homes. As a Waverley council tenant, you can register for free at www.homeswapper.co.uk. Once your details are verified you will be able to advertise your property and search for a home that meets your needs.
  • Advertise and look for adverts in local shop windows, newspapers, libraries or by word of mouth. 
  • Use social media platforms (eg Facebook).
  • We usually host a home exchange event each year in partnership with Guildford Borough Council.  If you are registered on Homeswapper or are on our Transfer list, you will automatically receive an invite to this event.

When you find someone to potentially exchange homes with:

  • Contact them and make arrangements to visit each other’s home. Consider your personal safety before visiting and receiving a visit. 
  • Inspect each other’s home carefully.  Make sure you are happy with the condition of the property as Waverley is only responsible for routine repairs in accordance with the tenancy agreement. The incoming tenant will be responsible for all other repairs required, any damage caused and rubbish left by the previous tenant.
  • Agree with the new tenants any contents that may be left in the property including carpets, garden shed, shelves, lighting etc.
  • Check that you can afford the  rent and Council Tax as this may be different to the amounts you pay for your current home.

You will need to complete a mutual exchange application form. Please request one from the customer services team:

Tel: 0330 119 3000

Email: Mutual.Exchange@waverley.gov.uk

If you are swapping with someone who is not a Waverley tenant

If you are swapping home with a non-Waverley council tenant you will both need to complete a mutual exchange application form for both Waverley Borough Council and the other landlord.

Joint tenants

Where there is a joint tenancy, both joint tenants must consent to the exchange.

After applying

Once we have received applications from both tenants, we will:

  • acknowledge your request in writing
  • arrange a property inspection.  This visit will be open to incoming tenants too.  The inspector’s report will be shared with incoming and outgoing tenants.
  •  review your application and notify you of the outcome within 42 days. 

If we approve your application:

  • our Housing officer will be in touch with you to discuss the move and arrange an appointment for all parties to sign the legal documents required to complete the mutual exchange.
  • we will carry out an electrical inspection before the move. 
  • we will carry out a gas inspection of the property the morning of the move.

If you would like to request a form, please call 0330 119 3000 or email Mutual.Exchange@waverley.gov.uk