Home swaps using Mutual Exchange

Image: A family at homeIf you’re an existing social housing resident and want to move home, then one option open to you is mutual exchange (also known as a home swap).

Swapping homes means you decide which area you’d like to move to and can swap with any social housing resident across the UK. Most of the services are free to register with online for Optivo residents.

There are three schemes we use which are free:

Once you have found someone to swap with, you will both need to complete our Mutual Exchange application form and provide ID documents. You can find our Mutual Exchange form here. We've also included further details on the form about the ID document you can supply to us.

Once we've received both the application and supporting documents, we then have 42 days to review your application.

Please note: The Government released guidance on social housing lettings and allocations during the coronavirus pandemic. We’ve made some changes to our processes and working with local authorities, are complying with this guidance. These changes affect our approach to Mutual Exchange. Read more here.

Reasons applications may be refused?

The list below summaries some of the reasons that your Mutual Exchange application may be refused (other reasons may exist):

  • You or the other person applying to exchange, are obliged to give up possession of the home under a court order
  • You or the other person applying to exchange has outstanding possession proceedings against them, or there is a Notice of Seeking Possession (NOSP) in place for either tenant (whether they are assured, secure or fixed term tenants)
  • If anyone exchanging has an injunction or other order against them associated with anti-social behaviour or legal action is being taken for such an injunction/order
  • If the home is too big for the tenant you are exchanging with. We will not allow our homes to become under-occupied
  • If the home is too small for the tenant you are exchanging with.  We will not allow our home to become statutorily overcrowded
  • If the home was let to you because of your employment
  • If the exchange would conflict with our status as a charity
  • If the home is unsuitable for the person you want to exchange with because it is adapted for a support need the other person does not have
  • If the tenant you are exchanging with refuses to become a member of a tenants' association, who manage the property.

What other options are available?

Further information about mutual exchange and the other options open to you when moving home is available in the following documents: