A guide to mutual exchanges

by The Gateshead Housing Company & filed under Find a home.

Is your home too big or too small for your needs? Then why not mutually exchange it with another council tenant using House Exchange?

Before you start

  • Have you been a tenant for at least twelve months?
  • Do you have rent arrears? If so, contact your housing office for advice on how to proceed.

1. Apply

Register at houseexchange.org.uk

You will need to provide:

  • Name and contact details
  • Current address, property information and landlord
  • An idea of where you want to live. This can be anywhere in the UK

Once you’re registered and your account is activated, your advert will appear for other registered users to view.

Some top tips from House Exchange on creating a great advert:

  • Add photos and a description to help you stand out
  • Take photos during the daytime so your property looks bright
  • Keep rooms clean and tidy for photos and viewings
  • Use the description generator or get creative and write one
  • Include any desirable property features, such as a balcony or private garden
  • Provide some local information – eg transport, shops, schools
  • Highlight any recent home improvements – maybe you have just decorated or had a new kitchen fitted?

2. Find a home to swap with

The House Exchange website has a range of searching tools to help you find a new home. You can search for properties based on the area you want to live and the number of bedrooms you need.

You can also use the House Exchange app to easily look for homes on your smartphone.

If you can’t find a direct swap, the easy to use multi-swap tool can help you to build a chain of properties.

3. Arrange the swap

Once you have found a suitable swap, we recommend that you and the other party visit each other’s homes if possible, to make sure that you like the property and definitely want to go ahead.

If Gateshead Council is the landlord for both properties, we will complete our landlord approval steps for each party. If the person you wish to swap with is not our tenant, the other person’s landlord will complete their landlord approvals and we must wait for them to do so.

A member of our team will come out to see you (during COVID-19 we may do this over the phone). We will check your home for any repairs which may need to be carried out and talk to you about the legalities of moving and taking up a new tenancy.

If you are not able to move at this point, we will tell you in writing why you can’t and what you can do to change this so that you can move in future. If you are able to move, we will write to you and tell you that you can go ahead with your swap.

Please note: If you agree to go ahead with the move, you are accepting to take the property as seen. It is also up to you and the other household to make sure that everything is removed from the property and to make any agreements about whether carpets, flooring or blinds are being left behind. We can take no responsibility for items left behind, including anything in the garden or loft.

4. Do the swap

What do you need to do?

Once it has been agreed that both parties can move, you must arrange this between yourselves for a time and date that suits you both. Contact your Neighbourhood Housing Team who will arrange a date to sign the deed of variation. You cannot move until this is signed.

What else?

It is very important that you sign the Deed of Assignment, otherwise you technically aren’t the new tenant of the home you have moved to.

Need help?

Contact your Neighbourhood Housing Team.