What is Home Swap or Mutual Exchange?

Mutual exchanges are a fast way of moving into a different council or housing association property.  All council tenants (provided they are not introductory tenants) and most housing association tenants have a right to exchange properties, provided their landlords give permission.  To start the process we recommend using the Home Swapper website

In November 2018, for the purpose of mutual exchanges only, we varied the bedroom standard as set out in our housing allocations scheme and in some situations we can allow you to exchange your home to one that is one bedroom larger than you are assessed as needing in the scheme. This is only possible where there is an overall reduction in under-occupation across the households involved in the exchange.  An example of where this will be allowed is that a couple (so their usual assessed need is for a home with 1 bedroom) living in a 4 bedroom home can exchange with a family whose assessed need is for a 4 bedroom home who are living in a 2 bedroom home. Before this policy change the couple would only have been able to exchange with a family needing a 4 bedroom home but who were living in a 1 bedroom home. To find out more, contact the Mutual Exchange Team on mx@camden.gov.uk

Considering moving outside of Camden?

Find contact details of other local authorities by visiting gov.uk  Once you have picked your chosen local authority you can ask them for a housing application form.  You may be able to apply directly to their housing waiting list.

Further advice can be found on the below sites:

  • Home Swapper helps you to swap homes across the UK with another tenant or housing association tenant. Housing Association tenants may face a small fee to register.
  • Housing Moves is run by the Greater London Authority and allows social housing tenants living in London to move to different parts of the city.
  • Homefinder UK enables moves across the UK, please contact your landlord to see if they are a part of the scheme.
  • Seaside and Country Homes scheme is open to over 60 years old social housing tenants, who live in London and would like to consider moving to the coast or countryside.

Apply to swap your home

Fill in the application form once you have found an exchange partner.  Each tenant involved in the exchange must complete their own form. If your swap partner has a different landlord, you will need to complete forms for that landlord as well.

Mutual exchange application form

Ensure you have visited the properties.  Contact our advisors if you think you need support with this.
Lucy or Raoul on 020 7974 5825 or 020 7974 2590

Things to consider before agreeing to exchange?

  • check what the new rent will be
  • other costs (such as service charges) and
  • what the tenancy conditions are

What happens after I apply?

We will consider your application. We have 42 days (6 weeks) to make a decision.  We will write to you to let you know the outcome.
It is unlikely that we will contact you between application and decision.
If your exchange is agreed you will need to make an appointment to sign your tenancies over to one another. Once this paperwork has been signed, you can move into your new property on a date agreed between you, your swap partner and us.

What problems could there be?

Landlords can refuse your request to exchange for several reasons specified by law. For example;

  • the exchange can be refused if your exchange partner’s property is not suitable for your household’s needs, or
  • if your landlord is taking steps to evict you.

The size of property that you can move into is based on a consistent ‘bedroom standard’ in line with our housing allocations scheme.  We do not allow you to swap into a home larger than your family needs.

Advice and support on swapping your home

How do I find an exchange partner?

  • Promote your home on HomeSwapper with plenty of photos
  • Describe your home with a list of rooms and local amenities such as supermarkets and transport links. Think about what you would want from a home if you were moving in it.
  • Carry out regular searches on HomeSwapper and respond to messages of interest promptly.
  • Try to find an exchange partner through word of mouth or through community websites.
  • The more flexible you are about area and types of property you want to move into, the more quickly and easily you will be able to find someone to exchange with.
  • Be as flexible as you can about the type of property and the area you want to move into.

Further support, Home Swap sessions

Due to the current situation regarding Covid-19, we have suspended the drop-in sessions at 5 Pancras Square and Queens Crescent library in the long term and as a result we will not be able to offer face to face support for clients seeking a mutual exchange.

Our Mutual Exchange Advisers are happy to offer a telephone service to help you with any practical advice on any aspect of finding a swap partner. Our Advisers can talk you though how to register on the Homeswapper website or they can register your details on your behalf.

You can contact Lucy Activille on 020 7974 5825 or Raul Gamo-Caso on 020 7974 2590 or by email MX@camden.gov.uk