Mutual Exchange (home swap)

A mutual exchange is where you swap your home and tenancy contract with someone.

It's different to a tenancy transfer where you apply and bid for a new home on a local housing register and are prioritised based on your needs.

To complete a mutual exchange, you will need to:

  • 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 to swap tenancy contracts

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

Eligibility

You must be able to afford the rent in your new home.

You can swap with:

  • an mhs homes tenant
  • a tenant of a council or another housing association

You'll be able to swap locally, or with someone further away.

Tenancy type

You can exchange if your tenancy type is:

  • Assured (Non-Shorthold)
  • Protected Assured

You can't exchange if your tenancy type is 'Starter'.

If you've moved in to one of our homes within the last 12 months then you are probably on a starter tenancy.

You can check your tenancy type in your tenancy agreement document.

Reasons we might decline

We’ll decline your mutual exchange if:

  • you have significant debt (you need to leave your account with a ‘zero’ balance)
  • you’ve made any unapproved changes to your home
  • you’ve broken the terms of your tenancy agreement
  • we’ve gone to court over your tenancy in the last 12 months
  • any of your exchange households has paid another household to swap homes

We’ll also decline your mutual exchange if the home you’re moving to:

  • is larger than you reasonably need
  • is ‘sheltered’ accommodation and you don’t qualify
  • has a disability adaptation you won’t need

Where to find 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, but 

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

Tenancy exchange websites

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.

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.

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

What you'll need to apply

For each home involved in the exchange, you'll need the:

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

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

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

When you have all these details you should apply.

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 also swap tenancy agreements.

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.

As your landlord 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 and gas certificate (if the home has gas)

We won’t:

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