On this page: Information for council tenants (or tenants of homes owned by registered social landlords) on how to swap homes with other tenants.
About Mutual Exchanges
What is a mutual exchange?
A mutual exchange is when two or more tenants exchange their properties, also known as a home swap. Each tenant must move into their proposed exchange partner’s property, and must only do this after they have signed into their new property with the relevant landlords. You cannot exchange into an empty property.
Am I allowed to exchange?
To be able to exchange, you must meet the following six criteria:
You must be a secure council tenant or an assured tenant from a Housing Association.
You must not have a Court Order or a Notice to Quit for either rent arrears or Anti-Social Behaviour.
None of the tenants involved in the proposed swap should have breached their tenancy agreement.
None of the properties to be swapped should be considered to be too big or too small for the proposed tenants.
All landlords (including those that are not Swindon Borough Council) must give consent for the exchange.
You must meet the criteria for the property you are going in to.
How do I find someone to exchange with?
It’s easy to find someone to exchange with by registering on the Homeswapper website (www.homeswapper.co.uk) which is free to all Swindon Borough Council tenants. This is a nationwide service so you can move not only within Swindon, but anywhere in the country.
Alternatively, you can advertise in local papers, in shop windows, on the internet or you can exchange with friends or family.
So you’ve found an exchange partner. What should you do now?
When you’ve found someone to exchange properties with, you will need to fill out an Exchange Application Form. Each tenant will need to fill out an application form even if they are not a tenant of Swindon Borough Council. You may also have to complete a form for your exchange partner’s landlord. Once we receive the application forms back we can then approve or deny your exchange. By law we have 42 days from the day we receive the last person’s exchange application to do this, but we aim to do it as soon as possible.
Please see A Guide To Applying For An Exchange for details on who can exchange and reasons why your application might be refused.
So we’ve approved your exchange. What now?
Once we have approved your exchange someone will call you to arrange a property inspection and gas & electric safety checks. Your Neighbourhood Housing Officer will make an appointment with you to come and inspect your property. They will check everything is in a good working condition and the property is up to a good standard. Please note, this is not a comprehensive report as the property will be furnished at the time of inspection.
If you have done any works to your home without permission please inform us as soon as possible so it does not hold up your exchange. You can apply right now for retrospective permission by telephoning your Neighbourhood Housing Officer.
As soon as we have received all the certificates back we will then call you to arrange a convenient time and date for you and your exchange partner to move.
Please do not move until you have come in to sign with us, (and any other landlords involved) as you could lose your security of tenure.
In the event that your exchange is refused
If we refuse your exchange you will receive a letter informing you of this. If the reason for refusal is on your side, details will be included. If the reason for our decision is due to your exchange partner then in most circumstances we will only tell you that it has been refused due to issues on your exchange partners side.
If your exchange has been refused but you are not sure why you can contact us. Please note, if the exchange was refused due to issues on your exchange partner’s side, we may not be able to tell you the reason for refusal. We suggest asking your exchange partner if it is likely to be resolved. If it cannot be, you will have to find a new exchange partner.
A six-step guide to exchanging
Request permissions for any unauthorised works done to your home.
Complete the Exchange Application Forms and return to us at Swindon Direct
Wait for us to call you to arrange inspections and safety checks, if we have agreed to the exchange
Wait for us to call you to arrange the sign-up appointment, which will be after we have received all the checks back (and a tenancy report if one side of the exchange is not a Swindon Borough Council tenant)
After you have signed with us (and the other landlord if one side of the exchange is not a Swindon Borough Council tenant) you can then move homes.
Who can I speak to about an exchange?
If you would like to speak to someone about a mutual exchange please contact either: