Mutual Exchange A guide to moving home

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1 Housing Mutual Exchange A guide to moving home 1

2 Contents page Page number The benefits of doing a mutual exchange 3 What is a suitable swap? 3 What size property will we be allowed to swap into? 4 Exceptional circumstance 4 Inspecting your home 5 Viewing a property 5 What to look for 6 Your responsibilities if you swap 7 Some important things to remember 7 Approved mutual exchanges 8 Contact the Moving Home Team 8 2

3 Thank you for your interest in the councils mutual exchange scheme. Please read the information below very carefully. When you are happy that you wish to proceed with an exchange you should complete the application forms online. Visit Below is a list of details of the conditions that will have to be met by both parties for Milton Keynes Council to give permission for a mutual exchange to take place. The benefits of mutual exchanges A mutual exchange is when two or more social tenants agree to swap properties with each other. A mutual exchange can take place between tenants have the same landlord or different landlords living anywhere in the UK. If you are a council tenant you will be able to register for free on On this site you can register details of your own home for others to see, register your swapping preferences and look for a possible swap. You are far more likely to find a swap if you upload pictures of your property. Mutual exchange is a way of moving even if you are not in high housing need, and can offer a great choice of areas and property types. All you need to do is find a suitable swap. What is a suitable swap? A suitable swap is one where all tenants involved are eligible to swap, have no problems with their tenancies or properties, and are all going into properties of the right size and type. A council or housing association can refuse an exchange under Schedule 3 Section 92 Housing Act Common examples of refusal: You have rent arrears. You have an Introductory Tenancy. You are under a notice of seeking possession. You have a court order against you for breach of tenancy. You would be significantly under occupying/overcrowding the proposed property. You have damaged your property and need to undertake repairs. Your property is designed for people with special needs and or has been adapted to meet the needs of people with a disability, and the tenant you are exchanging with does not meet the criteria for the property. 3

4 The tenant you are exchanging with does not meet the criteria for the property for example the property has disabled adaptations and the incoming tenant does not need these. In some cases we may allow an exchange to go ahead on condition that a problem with a tenancy is resolved. This is called conditional consent. The most common example is where we agree that an exchange can happen on condition that the rent arrears are cleared. If you apply and we refuse your exchange, we will issue you with a refusal notice explaining the reasons. If we issue a conditional consent, we will then send you a letter telling you what you need to do before we will allow the exchange to go ahead. What size property will we be allowed to swap into? We are allowed to refuse an exchange if a property is substantially larger or smaller than the incoming household need. We would consider a property to be substantially larger than you need if you would be swapping into a property that has one or more bedrooms more than you need. We would consider a property to be substantially smaller than you need if you were swapping into a property where you had one or more bedrooms less than you need. In calculating this, we will normally allow one bedroom for each of the following: A couple. A person who is not a child (aged 16 and over). Two children of the same sex (under 16). Two children who are under 10 (regardless of their sex, but there may be exceptions for severely disabled children). Any other child (other than a foster child or child whose main home is elsewhere). A carer (or group of carers) providing overnight care. These bedroom groupings are compatible with both our own housing options and allocations scheme and current housing benefit regulations. Exceptional circumstances Milton Keynes Council will consider cases of exceptional circumstances; these may include but are not limited to, affordability of current home and downsizing of current home. Please contact us before applying to discuss any exceptional circumstances you may have. Once you have found a suitable swap, the next step is to complete the application form online. Visit and we will then need to carry out some basic checks that will confirm whether you meet the criteria to mutually exchange your home. 4

5 Inspecting your home We will carry out an inspection of your home if you meet the criteria, and this must be done before approval can be given. We will arrange an inspection by a surveyor after the checks have been completed. Viewing a property Before you proceed with an exchange you should inspect very carefully the condition of the property that you propose to move into and satisfy yourself that it is suitable for your needs. Take someone with you to get a second opinion take time to view the property properly. Try to create a rapport with the people who are swapping you are more likely to find out more about the property and area by doing so. Try and imagine yourself living there and picture where/if your furniture will fit. View the property in daylight, but take time to look around the area at other times. Take in your surroundings; are the roads busy, are there any pubs or clubs in the area that may be noisy in the evening etc. List any questions you have in order to get the most out of looking around the property. In particular, make note of any major areas that need improvement so you can address these before you swap or exchange. Ask what fixtures and fittings are being left at the property? Ask the occupiers if they have suffered from noisy neighbours. If you are still interested in a particular property after viewing, take time to have a second look. 5

6 What to look for Services Where is the mains stop cock located Is there a water meter installed Check where the fuse box is located Are there utility meters Is the meter a key / card / pay as you use Who are the utility suppliers Done Kitchen Check units, worktops and sink inside and out for damage Check for obvious leaks to waste or feed pipes to kitchen sink Is there an electric cooker panel Is there a gas and electric point for cooker Is there an extractor fan and where are the power sockets and switches Check walls, tiles and décor for damage Check washing machine/dishwasher connections and waste Check doors for damage and do they shut are they fire doors Check floor coverings for damage and ask if they are going to be left Check all windows are secure and in working order, do they need a key? All rooms including hall stairs & landing Check walls and ceilings for damage, holes Check doors for damage, do they shut are they fire doors, are they all in place? Check electrical sockets & switches Check all windows are secure and in working order, do they need a key? Check floor coverings for damage and ask if they are going to be left Check ceiling lights for non standard fittings are they being left? Bathroom Check all sanitary ware, bath, toilet pan, wash hand basin, showers and tray Check extractor fan is working if there is one Check walls, tiles, bath panel and décor for damage Check for obvious leaks to sanitary ware and check toilet flushes Check doors for damage, do they shut are they fire doors, are they all in place? Loft/ roof space Ask if items are stored in there and ensure they are going to be removed Outbuildings Check for damages or unwanted items and rubbish Ask if non standard sheds/greenhouses are to be left General Check doors and walls ensure to inspect behind any posters or pictures for hidden damage. Also look behind any furniture that may be concealing damage Check doors and windows for damage and ensure they open and close properly and have all the necessary door handles, locks, closers and hinges securely in place. Inspect any non standard items in or on the property: light fittings, kitchen units, extensions, internal alterations and make sure you are happy to accept them as all non standard items will become your responsibility Milton Keynes Council will not maintain or repair non standard items in the future, they can replace with standard goods but at the cost of the new tenant by way of recharge. Check what curtains / blinds, floor coverings are being left behind and that you are happy to accept them. 6

7 Your responsibilities if you swap Once you have swapped/exchange homes, you will be responsible for: The internal decoration of the property. Any repairs resulting from alterations, neglect or damage by the previous tenant. Repairs to any non-standard fixtures and fittings installed by the previous tenant e.g. showers, kitchen units. Please also be aware that: If essential repairs are undertaken in the future to a non-standard kitchen or bathroom suite, e.g. coloured suites, you should note that any replacement will be with standard items, this means they may not colour match the other fixtures Fixtures and fittings such as kitchen units, gas fires etc. must be left behind when you leave. You are not allowed to keep pets in flats unless you have our consent. Some important things to remember We will only accept an exchange application from the tenant themselves Your application to exchange will be made conditional if you have broken any of your tenancy conditions. Any outstanding rent arrears must be cleared before Milton Keynes Council will give consent to move. Your application will also be made conditional if there are repairs or work required to your home and garden which are your responsibilities. Such work may include any items which, have been damaged or alterations which you have carried out. You must allow us access to your home to complete an electrical and gas home safety check before an exchange can be agreed. If you are required to carry out work to your property as a result of this safety check then you must complete this work before we allow you to exchange. You must not move until all tenants involved in the exchange have received written permission from their landlord you may be at risk of losing your home if you do. 7

8 Approved mutual exchanges What happens next: We will send a tenancy reference to your new landlord. We will confirm your new landlord is at the same stage in the process before proceeding. We will confirm in writing our decision to grant you consent to exchange. We will ask you and your exchange partner to agree a date to move. Please notify your current landlord of the agreed date. All landlords involved in the exchange must give their consent before you can move. We will invite you and your exchange partner to Civic Offices to sign a 'Deed of Assignment' and a License to Assign. Your assigned tenancy will commence the following Monday. You will be required to provide your original tenancy agreement and two forms of identification, (please include photo ID). If you are in receipt of housing benefit please remember to advise your local office you are moving as you may be required to complete a new form / change of circumstances. You will be required to discuss all moving arrangements with your exchange partner. Once you have exchanged you may consider changing the locks to your new home, please note that Milton Keynes council will not complete this for you. Once you have swapped, make sure you close your account on Homeswapper to make sure you do not continue to get contacted by tenants interested in your property. Important legal notice If you have either given or accepted any money in order to exchange Milton Keynes Council may take legal action, which could result in you losing your home. Contact the Moving Home Team Telephone: (option 2) M14217 June

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