Mutual exchange - swapping your council home - Luton Council

 

A mutual exchange takes place when two or more tenants swap their council or housing association homes. Each tenant must move into their proposed exchange partner’s property, and must only do this after they have been given permission from the landlord and all parties to the exchange have signed the deed of assignment which gives them the tenancy to the property.

You can't exchange into an empty property.

We provide tenants with a local and national exchange service called House Exchange.

This is the UK’s largest database of people looking to swap homes.

Inspections and repairs before you can exchange

Before you can exchange properties, a housing officer will have to visit your home to do an inspection. If there are any repairs or removals, you will be responsible for arranging to do these before the exchange can go ahead.

You will be sent a letter listing what needs to be done. When you have done the repairs, you can contact the housing officer again to do another inspection. If the incoming tenants are willing to take on these repairs this can be arranged by both parties agreeing in writing.

You need to be careful when deciding whether to carry out an exchange because you will be accepting the property ‘as seen’. We will not carry out additional work or bring the property up to our usual lettable standard if it falls short of this.

Repairs must be fixed before an exchange or confirmation in writing that the incoming tenant is accepting responsibility.

An exchange will not take place until all repairs are successfully completed.

If you know that things need doing, you should sort these out before you agree to a mutual exchange.

Checklist before exchanging

Before exchanging a property, you should be aware of the following.

  1. You will take on the new property in the condition you find it, including:
    • gardens
    • sheds
    • outbuildings
    • fencing
    • conservatories
  2. You will be responsible for any non standard items, such as:
    • carpets
    • vinyl or laminate flooring
    • architraves
    • skirting
    • newel posts, banisters
    • wooden panelling
    • decking
    • conservatory
    • extra tiling to walls
    • tenants own fitted kitchen or bathroom
    • light fittings and switches
  3. You will become responsible for any alterations, disrepair or damage caused by the previous tenant.

Therefore, it's a good idea to visit the property a few times at different times of the day and night.

An exchange will be at no cost to the council.

The right to withdraw from the exchange

Either tenant can withdraw from the exchange up to the point of signing for each other’s properties.

How to register to exchange your council home

When asked to name your landlord, that will be Luton Council

You will also need to have a mobile phone or email address to receive updates of potential exchanges through House Exchange.

You can browse available swaps without registering. However, you will need to register if you see a swap that you are interested in.

Although you can look at available swaps, you can't apply until your application has been approved.

If you don't have internet access, you can come to the CSC at the Town Centre library where we will help you to register your details.

Apply for a house exchange

Once your registration has been approved, you can look for suitable exchanges. You can choose homes anywhere in the UK. When you have found a suitable swap you will need to complete a Mutual Exchange form and bring it to one of our offices, along with the following documents.

  • Main applicant and joint applicant
    You will need to provide:
    • one passport sized photo of each applicant
    • copy of passport or driving licence with photo
    • recent utility bill or bank statement (in your name(s) at resident address)
  • Children included on application
    You will need to provide:
    1. copies of all birth certificates (full version — including parental name(s))
    2. child benefit notification letter
    3. Child Maintenance Service letter (where appropriate)
We will check all of the details.

If the person you want to exchange with is not a tenant of Luton Council, we will need to contact their landlord for a reference.

We have a maximum of 42 days to make a decision but always try to do this sooner if possible.

Apply for a mututal exchange

Deed of Assignment

Although at this point, we have agreed for the exchange to go ahead, you still need to sign a Deed of Assignment before the move takes place.

To move without signing a deed of assignment will make you illegal occupiers of your new home.

You will be asked to return to your own home at your cost.

Failure to do so may result in you losing your tenancy, leaving you intentionally homeless.

A Deed of Assignment is a legal document, which transfers the names on the tenancy from your name into the new tenancy holder’s name(s). Without this document, the tenancy of your new property will still be in other person's name and your old property will still be in your name.

When do I sign the Deed of Assignment?

When you tell us the date that you and the other parties have agreed to move, we will arrange a time, before you move, for you and all parties to sign the deeds.

You will all need to be present at the same time to witness each other’s signatures.

Along with your signature, we will require four weeks rent in advance from whoever is moving into the Luton Council, and if you are receiving benefits a notification of a change in circumstances receipt.

You should do this before sign-up. Other housing providers will have their own procedure.

Once signed, you will each receive a copy of the deeds. From this point, all parties relevant are bound to the exchange, and you can legally move.

All tenancies will start on a Monday.

Reasons for refusing an exchange

Your exchange can be refused if:

  • either you or the incoming tenant are due to be evicted
  • either you or the incoming tenant is subject to a current Notice of Seeking Possession - this will have been served where there are outstanding rent arrears, and / or breached terms of your tenancy agreement (antisocial behaviour, neglect of premises and / or land, obtaining a tenancy by false statement)
  • the tenant is on an introductory tenancy
  • the incoming tenant is under occupying, by more than one bedroom
  • either you or the incoming tenant requires extensive adaptations to our property, we may refuse due to suitability for disability. If you know that you or a member of your household can't climb stairs, a house or first floor flat may not be suitable accommodation and likewise for the incoming tenants
  • your property is adapted for a physically disabled person and the new tenants don't require the adaptations

 

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