Mutual Exchange Guidance
What is mutual exchange?
Mutual exchange enables residents to swap their home with one or more residents of any other housing association or council. This can be a great way of finding a more suitable home, either locally or away from the area.
Who can ask to exchange?
Most residents of councils, housing associations or other registered providers can request permission to carry out a mutual exchange, but you must have moved in and be living at your property. Some residents are unable to exchange, for example, if you have a starter or assured shorthold tenancy. Please contact your housing officer if you are unsure about the type of tenancy you have, or to find out if you can ask for an exchange.
To give our residents the best chance of finding a swap, we have joined Swapandmove, which gives free access to the UK’s largest online mutual exchange service. Through this service, residents can swap homes with a resident of any housing association or council in the UK, enabling them to find a property that may be more suitable.
To sign up with Swapandmove free of charge, please visit their website at: www.swapandmove.co.uk
Should you have any questions or require help with your registration, please contact BCHG on 0121 561 7934.
Please remember that you must have written permission from BCHG before you agree to an exchange.
What should I do if I find someone to exchange with?
You contact the resident directly and arrange to view each other’s properties. If you both find the property to be suitable, you will both need to complete an application form.
How do I apply for permission?
Please contact BCHG for an application form, which you should then complete and return as soon as possible. All exchanging parties will need to complete a form.
What happens next?
Once an application form has been received for all parties, an appointment will be made for your housing officer to inspect your home. An inspection is needed so we can advise you of any concerns or repairs that you may be asked to carry out before exchange, as well as advising the incoming resident of any additional responsibilities. We will also forward a reference for you if you’re exchanging with a resident of another landlord.
How long will it take to make a decision?
We will try to make a decision as quickly as possible. The maximum time we are allowed to take to make a decision is 42 days.
Can BCHG refuse to give permission?
Yes, we can refuse permission, but only based on one or more of the grounds in our policy which is available on our website: www.bchg.co.uk
Can BCHG delay the move?
We might attach a condition to any consent and you would be unable to move until the condition was met. For example, we could give permission subject to you clearing any arrears on the rent account, or completing a repair.
How will I know your decision?
A letter will be sent to you, either giving permission and outlining any conditions, or giving the reasons for refusal. The permission letter will also tell you about any items you will become responsible for, for example any alterations or improvements.
What would happen if we moved before we had written permission?
If you move without permission, you risk making you and your family homeless and in breach of your tenancy.
If BCHG gives written permission for the move to go ahead, what do I need to do?
You should contact your exchange partner to agree a date you would like to move and then contact your housing officer to confirm this. The moving date must be a Monday and BCHG will arrange gas and electric safety checks for this day. Your housing officer will make an appointment for you and your exchange partner to come into the office to complete the necessary paperwork. You will be asked to sign a Deed of Assignment and you will be given a copy of the tenancy agreement. We will also explain your tenancy rights at this appointment. All joint tenants must attend this appointment.
If the property is not in the condition I expected, what can I do?
It is your responsibility to inspect the property thoroughly before you agree to move and again before you hand over your keys. You should agree with your exchange partner exactly how they will be leaving the property and who will be responsible for any outstanding repairs or rubbish.