How to do a council exchange or Housing Association Exchange
The Mutual Exchange process
Throughout this article reference is made to council exchange, this is used simply as a convenient term. The information here applies to all council and housing association tenants irrespective of the type of property you live in.
It could be a flat, a bungalow or a maisonette. The type of property you currently live in does not restrict you from moving to any other type of property. Also council tenants are able to exchange with housing association tenants and vice versa.
Can I exchange?
- All council and housing association tenants who hold a secure/assured tenancy have the right to exchange
- If you have an Introductory tenancy it's highly unlikely that you will be able to exchange
- See Do I have the right to exchange? for more information
How do I find somebody to exchange with?
This is probably the hardest part of any exchange. There are several ways of finding an exchange.
Council exchange list
- The majority of councils have exchange lists on which you'll be able to find other people seeking a move
- You will have to visit the council offices in order to view the list and add yourself to it, very few have an online database
- It can be very time consuming as you'll need to visit regularly to see any updates or new properties added to the list
council exchange websites
- The internet has made searching for a council exchange a lot easier
- Under One Roof is 100% free. As soon as you've joined you can place an exchange advert and search through all council exchange adverts
- At Under One Roof we've always advised our members to join other exchange sites, we have a list of council exchange sites on the link page
- Be wary of joining paid sites, especially those that do not allow you to view exchanges before joining
- Government website for finding a council exchange
- Depending on where you live and who your landlord is, you may have to pay to use it
- Place a card in a local shop, newsagent, library or supermarket
- Put an advert in local newspapers and in free-ads newspapers
- Make use of online classified advert sites
- Print out details of your exchange and post through letter boxes of properties you'd like to move into
I've found somebody to exchange with, what happens next?
- You and the other tenant must both obtain application forms from your landlord, council or housing association
- If you have different landlords you need application forms from both landlords as will the other tenant
- Complete the application form/s and hand them into the landlord/s. If you need to send a form by post, send it by registered post so that you have proof that it's been received
- The date that the forms are received is very important because the landlord has 42 days from that date to approve or refuse the exchange
- Your landlord will want to inspect your property and will arrange a date with you to do this
- They will also want to have electrical and/or gas safety checks carried out. This will be done by contractors who will arrange a date with you
- Your landlord will inform you ( within 42 days ) whether the exchange has been approved or refused
- A date will be arranged for you and the person you are exchanging with, to sign the deed of assignment and agree a moving date
- You move into your new home on the date agreed
- Important: Signing the deed of assignment does not mean you can relax just yet
The other party could still pull out, even on the moving day. Sadly we do know of instances of this happening but it is very rare
Under the 1985 Housing act, the exchange is not deemed to have taken place until all parties have taken possesion of their new homes
At Under One Roof we work as a team to help you find your dream council exchange.
- Your landlord will inform you in writing why the exchange has been turned down
- They can only refuse an exchange on certain grounds, see council exchange refused for details
- Check the reason given for refusal carefully, they might have made a mistake and it could be worthwhile appealing the decision
- Contact your housing officer it may be that they'll approve the exchange if certain conditions (ie repairs) are met
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