Exchanging your council home

What is mutual exchange, finding someone to exchange with, applying for the exchange.

If you are a council tenant and you need to move because your current council home no longer meets your needs, then you should check if you can apply for a transfer. If the transfer options we offer are not suitable, then you may want to consider a mutual exchange.

What is a mutual exchange?

A mutual exchange is when you swap your home with another council or housing association in Haringey or anywhere else in Britain. You can only swap your home in this way if both landlords agree.

A mutual exchange can:

  • help you to move if you do not qualify for rehousing
  • provide you with more choice about the size, type and location of your home
  • allow you to move to another area

Conditions for mutual exchange

Everyone involved in the exchange must:

  • have a secure or assured tenancy
  • have a clear rent account
  • not have had a notice of seeking possession (NOSP) served against them

The properties must:

  • not be too big or too small for the family intending to move in
  • be in good repair and not be damaged by the tenants moving out

Where the property is part of a Sheltered, Good Neighbour (or special needs) housing scheme, we will not permit the proposed exchange if it is with someone who does not have assessed support needs. Specially adapted properties are also not included in the mutual exchange scheme.

If you swap your current council home for another council home managed by us, then you will accept the property in the condition it was left by the previous tenant. Although we are responsible for repairs as set out in your tenancy agreement, you will be responsible for any damage caused by the previous tenant.

There may be other conditions involved in a mutual exchange. For more details please contact us.

Why a mutual exchange can be refused

 A mutual exchange can only be refused if:

  • either you or the tenant you want to swap with is subject to a court order from your landlord. This might be for:
    • rent arrears
    • antisocial behaviour
    • or some other reason
  • legal action has started to get you to leave your home
  • 1 of the homes is too large or too small for the incoming family (spare bedrooms are not permitted)
  • the home is designed for a disabled person and there is no one in the incoming family with a matching disability

Size criteria

We will only accept mutual exchanges where the property size is suitable for the incoming family. In deciding whether a property is suitable for a family, the following criteria will be used:

  • the tenant (or joint tenants) will have the largest bedroom
  • each adult or adult couple will have their own room (anyone over 16 years old is counted as an adult)
  • 2 children of the same sex may share a bedroom, whatever their age
  • 2 children of the opposite sex may share a bedroom until the oldest is 10 years old
  • an allowance is made for applicants who need separate rooms for medical reasons or where there is a need for an overnight carer. Evidence of the need will have to be provided
  • spare bedrooms are not permitted

We will carry out a financial assessment to make sure the tenant can afford to pay the rent if both the:

  • property will be under-occupied, for example, because of medical reasons
  • resident receives housing costs benefits

Finding someone to exchange with 

There are various schemes available with nationwide information about tenants who want to carry out a mutual exchange. We recommend you use Home Swapper which is free to use for council tenants in Haringey 

There are other mutual exchange schemes available for council tenants, including:

Applying for mutual exchange

You and the person you want to swap with will need to complete a mutual exchange application form .

Please submit your application to the address below.

One of our surveyors together with your tenancy management officer will then inspect your home and discuss any repairs with you.

If there are any repairs you are responsible for or which have been caused by deliberate damage, neglect or unauthorised alterations and improvements, we will ask you to carry out work before the exchange is agreed. If further repairs are found once you have left the property we may ask you to pay for the work.

We normally consider a mutual exchange request within 6 weeks. If you meet the conditions and carry out any necessary repairs, we will write to you to confirm the exchange can take place. It is very important that you do not move until:

  • you have the written approval of your new landlord
  • you have signed or made arrangements to sign the necessary documents
  • we have agreed to allow the other person to move into your home.

Before you decide to move, you must be satisfied that the property you have chosen is right for you and is in good condition. We cannot accept responsibility for any problems after an exchange has taken place. You should also be aware that we will not carry out any decorations to your home and you will not be entitled to a decorating allowance.

Contact details

If you have any questions about mutual exchange, please complete our council property enquiry form.

Contact the tenancy management team

Contact customer services: housing

Office hours
Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm
Saturday to Sunday Closed