Exchanging your home - mutual exchange

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I take into account when viewing a property?

  • Remember, you need to be sure about a property - after all it will potentially be your new home. Make as many appointments as you need, before making the decision to go ahead with the swap. If you can, visit the property more than once at different times of the day or in the evening.
  • Affordability – rent, council tax, utility bills etc
  • Cost of moving – note the costings for removals and for furniture, soft furnishings, repairs etc.
  • Check the condition of the home:
    • Is there any damage to internal doors and cupboards (are there any handles missing?). 
    • Are there any internal doors missing?
    • Do garden fences need to be repaired?
    • Is there any rubbish that needs to be removed? 
    • If possible check the loft.
    • What fittings/improvements have been done by the existing tenant, and not by the landlord.
    • What do the current residents plan to take with them?

      The council is generally not responsible for these repairs.  Make sure the current tenant has made contact with their landlord to do any outstanding repairs that it is responsible for, before you move in.  

  • Does the ‘new’ home meet your needs? Consider:
    • number of bedrooms
    • if there is a garden
    • parking - is there residential parking? If not, is it easy to park?
    • local community
    • transport links (buses/trains)
    • local amenities (schools, GP surgery, supermarkets etc)
  • When the current residents want to move

What happens when I have permission to move?

You should contact the other tenant to discuss a convenient time to move. Our Tenancy & Estates Officer will contact you to discuss the move and arrange a suitable date for all tenants involved in the move to come in to the council offices to sign the appropriate legal documents for the exchange to occur.

Could taking part in a mutual exchange affect my tenancy rights?

Your rights may be affected depending on the type of tenancy you hold at present, and the type of tenancy you will exchange to. Your Tenancy & Estates Officer or Citizens Advice Bureau can advise you on this.

Can I exchange with a member of my family who is also a tenant?

Yes, provided you meet the exchange criteria and the landlords involved agree and give permission for this.

If I apply for an exchange, can I change my mind?

Either party can change their mind at any stage before moving.

I have a joint tenancy and the other tenant no longer lives at the address with me.  Do both of us need to sign the application to apply for an exchange?

If your tenancy is in joint names, the council must obtain the consent of the other joint tenant.  All parties proposing the exchange must sign the application and all legal documents to complete the mutual exchange...If you need any further advice, call Housing Customer Service on 0330 119 3000 or email housingcustomerservices@waverley.gov.uk

What can I do if my request to exchange is refused?

  • If you are responsible for the grounds for the refusal, we will write to you outlining in detail the reason(s) why the application has been refused.
  • If your application has been refused but you are not responsible for the grounds for the refusal, we will not outline the details of why the application has been refused. We would encourage you to get in touch with the other tenant(s) involved in the exchange to discuss this.

You may wish to contact your Tenancy & Estates officer to discuss the matter informally. If you are still dissatisfied after speaking to your Tenancy & Estates Officer you may use Waverley Council’s Complaints Procedure.

I have found a possible exchange with another Waverley Council tenant but the property needs some repairs.  Will the council arrange these before I move in?

The quick answer is no.

Discuss any repairs with us before you agree to exchange. Do not rely on advice from the person moving out that the repairs will be done. The council will only carry out those essential repairs that it is responsible for. Your tenancy agreement outlines both yours and the council’s responsibilities. 

We will not decorate between one person leaving and another moving in. You will have to arrange to decorate the home yourself as you have made an agreement to accept the property in the condition you viewed it in.

I have sent in my form for a mutual exchange. How long before I get a decision?

Once the forms are received from both parties, we have 42 days to send a response whether to allow or refuse permission for the exchange to go ahead. A property inspection is usually carried out within 15 days from this time; a copy of the report is then sent to your exchange landlord (if the landlord is not us).

If both you and your exchange partner’s rent accounts are clear, there are no other breaches of the tenancy agreement and the property is suitable for the incoming tenant, an exchange can be approved quite quickly.

Can I swap back if I don’t like living in my new home?

You cannot swap back into your old home unless the tenant who swapped with you is in agreement. You will then both have to start the exchange process again from the beginning and wait for a decision from both landlords.

Will looking for a mutual exchange affect my application for a transfer?

No, looking for an exchange will not affect your application for a transfer. It will, however, increase your chances of moving.

What if I do not have any priority for a transfer? Can I still apply for a mutual exchange?

Yes, the advantage of mutual exchange is that the moves are not based on priority needs, giving all tenants the chance to exchange.

Page owner: Caroline Ottery. Last updated: 07/02/2019 14:15

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