How to go about a council house exchange

Hints and tips on exchanging your council house

Finding the right house can be a time consuming process, so finding the right house exchange can only be doubly so! To help you in your quest, we have compiled a list of handy tips to help make sure that the process goes as smoothly as possible. Consider the following:

  • Know your time-scale. Landlords of housing association and council properties must complete all paperwork for a mutual house exchange within 42 days of receiving a receipt for your exchange paperwork.
  • Try to be as flexible as possible about the types of property and areas you will consider. This will increase your chances.
  • Be realistic about the type and size of house that you need. Do not accept a property that is too small for your needs, thinking that you will transferred to a larger property in the future. This will not work.
  • If you cannot find a single mutually agreeable swap then you may wish to consider entering into a three or even four-way house exchange.
  • Always make sure you know what type of tenancy it is that you will be taking on. There are several differences between housing association and local authority tenancies. Be sure to check this with your landlord.
  • Can you afford the expense of moving? If you are receiving income support and having difficulty with this, you might be able to apply for a Social Fund loan.
  • If you find someone who is interested in an exchange, you should arrange a mutually convenient time for viewing.
  • If you are interested in one day purchasing your property under right to buy, check that this will be possible. Not all housing association homes can be purchased by tenants.
  • Do not offer any prospective exchange partners cash as an incentive. This is viewed as illegal bribery and you and could find yourself being removed from your house by the council or housing association.
  • Remember! All parties in an exchange must obtain the permission of their respective landlords to move. If you do not get the landlord's permission to exchange, you risk losing your tenancy.

Government supported mobility services

Seaside and Country Homes

If you or your partner are at least 60 years of age, live in social rented housing in the Greater London area, and would like to register for the Seaside and Country Homes scheme which offers opportunities to move to homes and flats in the south of England and the Midlands contact 08450 21 20 20 or your local council.

Lawn

This landlord referral scheme is designed to assist households move out of London to other areas in the UK. If your local council offers a Lawn service you can contact your local housing office to register your interest in a move. Although they might not call their scheme "Lawn" many will offer similar schemes that are aimed at helping you move. You can contact 08450 21 20 20 for more information on lawn moves on visit their website.

Changes to Previous Housing Mobility Schemes

Previously there were a number of council house exchange schemes that were operated under the name of ‘moveUK’. Unfortunately, Communities and Local Government - the department that ran these schemes in conjunction with Scout Solutions Projects Ltd - has ended the agreement. Be careful if you are looking for information on, or are registered under the following schemes:

  • Homeswap (The UK-wide mutual exchange register)
  • Homes Mobility Scheme

What do I do if I am registered on Homeswap or The Homes Mobility Scheme?

If you are registered with Homeswap or the Homes Mobility Scheme (HOMES) then you need to be aware these schemes have effectively ceased to exist and your registration is void.