Mutual Exchange (home swap)

A mutual exchange is where you swap your home and tenancy contract with someone. Usually this is someone you’ve found on a mutual exchange matching service.

It's different to a tenancy transfer where you find and bid for a new home on the Kent Homechoice website and are accepted based on your needs.

With a mutual exchange, you must:

  • find a mutual exchange partner
  • get written permission from your landlords
  • prepare your home for the new tenant
  • have a visit where we check the condition of your home
  • complete legal paperwork

If you swap homes without permission or without signing the necessary documents, you will  be at risk of eviction.

Check if you're eligible for a mutual exchange

If you're moving in to one of our homes you'll need to be able to afford the rent.

You can exchange if your tenancy type is:

  • Assured (Non-Shorthold)
  • Protected Assured

You can check your tenancy type in your tenancy agreement.

Your mutual exchange could be declined if:

  • you have significant debt (you need to leave your account with a ‘zero’ balance)
  • you’ve broken the terms of your tenancy agreement
  • we’ve gone to court over your tenancy in the last 12 months
  • you’ve paid your exchange partner, or been paid by your exchange partner, to swap homes
  • you’ve made any unapproved changes to your home
  • the home you’re moving to is larger than you reasonably need
  • the home you’re moving to is ‘sheltered’ accommodation and you don’t qualify
  • the home you’re moving to has a disability adaptation you won’t need

Finding a mutual exchange partner

Before you apply for a mutual exchange, you need to find your exchange partner. You can swap with:

  • another mhs homes social rent customer
  • a tenant with another housing association
  • a tenant with a local council

You can swap with more than one household as part of a mutual exchange chain. There’s no limit to the number of households in the chain.

The household you exchange with doesn't need to be in Kent or Medway.

Where to find a mutual exchange partner

You can use a mutual exchange website to find a partner. It's free to register with some sites but others charge a fee.

We partner with House Exchange which is free to use. Once you’ve registered, you can get details of properties, make contact with other tenants and arrange to view their homes.

You'll be asked for details about your current home, the kind of home you're looking for and where you want to live.

Information you'll need for your mutual exchange application

For all the homes involved in the exchange, you must tell us the:

  • home address
  • tenant name
  • tenant phone number
  • tenant email address
  • name of the landlord

You must tell us if the household moving into your home is bringing any pets with them.

To the best of your knowledge you should tell us if your home has any:

  • disabled adaptations
  • modifications to rooms, that you’ve made
  • structural changes or extensions
  • external structures, including sheds and garages

When you have all these details you can apply.

How to apply

The easiest way to apply for a mutual exchange is through My Account, doing it this way lets you track the progress of your exchange too.

If you can't access My Account then you can apply with our online application form.

How long does a mutual exchange take

We’ll give you a decision on your mutual exchange within 42 calendar days.

It’ll take a little longer to move home as we need to complete safety checks on gas and electrics, and arrange for tenancy agreements to be signed.

If you swap homes without permission, or without signing the necessary documents, then you’ll both be at risk of eviction.

Swapping tenancy agreements

When you swap homes in a mutual exchange you swap tenancy agreements too.

You should check that you’re happy to take on your exchange partner’s tenancy agreement.

If you’re moving into one of our homes, we’ll send you a copy of your tenancy agreement to review shortly after you apply.

Accepting the condition of your new home

If you’re moving into one of our homes through a mutual exchange you’re responsible for viewing and accepting its condition as you see it.

If you’re not happy with the condition you can ask the existing tenant to make improvements before you complete the mutual exchange.

We will:

  • fix any faults we find that can be reasonably identified in our safety checks
  • repair anything that's our responsibility to maintain,
  • tell you what we found in our inspection so you can check you're happy
  • provide you with an up to date:
    • energy performance certificate
    • electrical safety certificate
    • gas certificate (if the home has gas)

We won’t:

  • re-decorate
  • remove any old furniture or rubbish
  • clear the garden