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Apply for a Mutual exchange

A Mutual exchange is when two (or more) people agree to swap their homes permanently. The swap can be with another PA Housing resident or someone from another housing association or council.

You don’t have to swap between the same types of property.  You could swap a house for a flat, or maisonette for a bungalow or between almost any types of property.

If your circumstances change and you need to move to housing that is more suitable for you we will do all we can to help.  Anyone currently renting a home from PA Housing who would like to apply to move might be eligible to swap through mutual exchange.                                                     

Watch our Mutual exchange video

Why do a Mutual exchange? 

It’s often the quickest and best to get a bigger property or one in an area you want.
It can certainly be a lot quicker than other rehousing methods such as seeking a transfer because: 

  • We don’t have enough homes to house all the people who want one.  We’re particularly short of three bedroom houses and flats.
  • You might not get a high priority on the waiting list so you could be waiting a long time.
  • You might want to move to an area we don’t cover.

  • Can I do a Mutual exchange?

    We’re happy for people to exchange properties.  Here are the ways you can maximise your chances of a successful exchange. 

    • Your property and the property you want to move into should be free from an outstanding possession order or demotion order (which gives fewer rights and less protection).
    • You and the person you want to swap with are both up-to-date with rent, service charges, court costs or any other payments and debts to us.
    • You should be free from any anti-social behaviour injunctions or anti-social behaviour orders (in place or applied for).
    • You have been in your property for more than 12 months.
    • We have not served a Notice of Seeking Possession (or started the process) on either you or the person you want to swap with.
    • The new property is the right size for you (there’s more about this in “Downsizing or upsizing").
    • Our property suits the needs of the incoming resident and we don’t need to adapt it.
    • Our property isn’t adapted for a disabled resident (if you’re not disabled), isn’t sheltered accommodation or housing for people with special needs if you don’t need that sort of housing.
    • Neither property is tied accommodation or part of a building that is used for something other than housing.
    • Your new landlord isn’t a private landlord.
  • Things to think about
    • When you move into your new home, you’ll be responsible for the tenancy you’re taking over. That means any problems, decorating or gardening are your responsibility. You’ll need to make sure you’re happy with your new home in its existing condition including the garden, roof space and garage (if it has one) and any defects. 
    • If your Mutual exchange is with someone from another council or registered social landlord (a housing association, local housing company or housing trust), the process can take longer because PA Housing and your exchange partner’s landlord have to assess your exchange request. 
    • Your mutual exchange isn’t legally valid unless you’ve completed the whole formal process.  Both you and your exchange partner need to sign a Deed of Assignment or a surrender and re-grant of your tenancies with our agreement.  You’ll both need to sign together in one location at an agreed location. 
    • If you exchange homes without our written permission, you’ll lose security of tenure and your Housing Benefit.  The person moving into your old home will be trespassing and we’ll issue them with a Notice to Quit.
  • How does it work?

    We have 42 days to check your exchange application and decide if it can go ahead. In most cases, we’re able to approve Mutual exchanges, so if we don’t give you a decision until the 42 days are up, it doesn’t mean anything is wrong or the application isn’t going ahead. 

    Find someone to swap with:

    Someone you want to swap homes with, either within the borough or elsewhere in the country. It’s your responsibility to find a partner, but we’ll help support you. 

    How we can help:

    We offer you the ability to join the Homeswapper website free of charge where you can find other people looking to exchange.
    We hold mutual exchange events, to bring both PA Housing and other local residents together.

  • Downsizing or upsizing?

    Because the stock of homes is so stretched, we need to make sure people get a home that’s the right size for them and their family. We allow exchanges when the size of a property matches the size of the family moving in.

    We will not approve an exchange if you would be swapping into a property that is too large for your family needs. 

    We will allow an exchange that is like for like to your present home.

    We will not approve an exchange which would lead to either partners becoming overcrowded.

    How do we work it out?  

    We normally allow one bedroom for:

    • A couple.
    • Someone aged 16+.
    • Two children of the same sex (under 16).
    • Two children under 10 (regardless of their sex, but we may be able to make exceptions for severely disabled children).
    • Any other child (other than a foster child or child whose main home is elsewhere).
    • A carer (or group of carers) providing overnight care.
  • Mutual exchange timeline

  • What documents are required?

    PA Housing will require supporting evidence to be provided from the incoming customer to verify your Mutual exchange application. To help speed up the process please ensure that they have this information available to send to us when this is requested. The information that we require is as follows:

    • Proof of ID (Passport, Birth Certificate or Driving Licence) for all household members
    • Proof of Income (benefit letters or wage slips, most recent 3 x wage slips)
    • Proof of Bank Account (Last 3 months of bank statements)
    • A recent photo of the main/joint applicants    

    To assess the suitability of a Mutual exchange we will also complete referencing checks with your current landlord, a credit check and an income and expenditure assessment to ensure that the property is affordable and that any tenancy is sustainable.

    We will also require the incoming customer to pay one month's rent in advance, this would be taken on the day the exchange completes.  The purpose for this payment is to ensure that the new tenancy starts in credit and that any new customers are prepared for Universal Credit.