Ask the expert: Mutual exchange

Swapping your home with another resident (a mutual exchange) is often the quickest way to find alternative accommodation. It offers you more choice over the type and location of your new home than a housing transfer.

I’m Luca Dellepiane and I am the policy manager at Notting Hill Genesis. I manage a team of policy officers and we write and review housing management policies and procedures, respond to policy consultations and support the business with horizon scanning pieces.

What is a mutual exchange?
If your current home no longer suits your needs, you can arrange to swap your home with another resident. This is called a mutual exchange and provided both of you have permission from your respective landlord, you can swap with any other council or housing association resident anywhere in the country.

Why a mutual exchange?
Transferring to another Notting Hill Genesis property if your current home no longer meets your needs can be very difficult unless you have a very high priority and you are willing to be flexible. So a mutual exchange is a good option.

You may also wish to downsize if you are living in a home that is larger than your needs or has adaptations that you do not require. We offer incentives to downsize, and mutual exchange is one way that you can do this.

How do I do it?
To arrange a mutual exchange, you will need to find someone who wants to swap with you. You can find potential exchange partners on the following websites:

Exchange Locata
House Exchange

Only assured, secure and some assured shorthold tenants have the right to exchange. Please check your tenancy agreement to see if you have the right to exchange.  If you do, you can swap with anyone living in a council or housing association accommodation subject to approval from both landlords.

How long will it take?
Once we’ve received your form, we will verify the details of the resident you intend to exchange with and either approve or refuse within 42 days, which is the time set by statute.

Where can I find more information?
There's lots of information about moving home on our website here

Do I get any financial incentive if I am downsizing?
Yes, we offer financial incentives if you are moving because your home is no longer suitable for your needs. This could be either due to occupation levels or because the property has been specially adapted and you no longer need those adaptations.

We will offer:
• A financial incentive of £1,000
• An additional £500 for each bedroom that is vacated
• A further £1,500 to pay for decorations/improvements, cookers, shelving, installing wardrobes, and
 so on.

The maximum incentive offered will be £4,000 and, if you are underoccupying by more than one bedroom, you will have the choice of retaining one or two spare bedrooms.

The incentive is payable as long as at least one bedroom is being given up.

What else have you been doing to support residents who want to move?
 We have:
• Rolled out the Household Members Scheme to all residents (it was previously available to former Notting Hill residents only). This scheme gives an adult member of your household the opportunity to move into their own, separate accommodation if your current home is either too small or too big for your family.
• Lifted restrictions on who can complete a mutual exchange by way of surrender and re-grant, making the process easier
• Allowed under-occupation by one bedroom when you complete a mutual exchange
• Allowed for some overcrowding if this relieves statutory overcrowding when you complete a mutual exchange.