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Birmingham City Council

Mutual Exchange

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Overview

If you are currently a Birmingham City Council tenant wanting to move home, you may be able to swap your home with another council or housing association tenant - this is called a mutual exchange. You can find more information on how to apply to move to another council property here.

To enter into a mutual exchange, you must have a secure tenancy and have lived in your property for at least twelve months.

A mutual exchange can be a faster way of finding a new home than applying for a transfer, especially if your transfer application is assessed as a low priority. You will need your landlord’s consent to exchange.

Usually two tenants will exchange their homes but it is possible to have multiple swaps involving several tenants.

Birmingham City Council tenants can register for free withHomeswapper, an online service which allows you to search for people who might want to swap properties in their area.

If you are a Birmingham City Council tenant, you can use the on-line Mutual Exchange Proposal form to request permission to exchange properties. You can find the form at the link above.

If you are not a Birmingham City Council tenant you must speak to your own landlord to ask their permission to exchange your property.

It is important to make sure that you understand what a mutual exchange would mean for you. You need to be sure that you understand all of the implications before going ahead. The information below can help you.

Essential Information
  • You cannot exchange properties until we have given permission and you have signed a new tenancy agreement.

    When you exchange, you take on the tenancy of the person with whom you are exchanging. You should be sure that you are happy with that tenancy and the condition of the property including fixtures and fittings within it. You need to be sure that the tenant you swap with has not damaged the property or removed any fixtures and fittings as this is likely to cause you a problem with the tenancy in the future as you will probably be responsible for putting things right.

    You will be expected to accept the property you wish to move into in the condition it is in. If the decorations are poor or the garden is untidy you will need to put these right yourself. The landlord is only obliged to carry out the repairs they are responsible for.

  • Once you have seen each others properties and you still want to exchange, you should fill in the mutual exchange proposal form. You must not move into each others properties until permission to do so has been given. Your local housing officer will receive your proposal and make a decision as to whether or not you can sign for each others tenancies and move home.

  • There are many ways that you can find another tenant that you would like to swap with:

    • You can advertise your property in the local newspaper or by placing notices in shop windows
    • There are many online exchange schemes, and Birmingham City Council tenants can register for free with Homeswapper
    • You can ask friends or family if they know of any suitable properties or other people who wish to exchange properties
    • ALWAYS tell someone else where you have gone and what time you expect back to be home especially if viewing on your own.
    • Ideally view the property during the day, if you have to go in the evening take someone with you.
    • Try to go with a family member or friend along with you for a second opinion.
    • Plan your journey in advance and check public transport times if you are not using your own vehicle. Alternatively arrange for someone to drop you off/pick you up.
    • Confirm with the other party who will be at the property when you view.
    • Never accept lifts from anyone you don't know.
    • If you are disabled ensure you have access to the property.
    • If you have a person alarm carry it, especially when going to an area you do not know.
    • Take a mobile phone with you and ensure a friend or family member has the number. Ring a family member or friend when you have arrived at the viewing and ask them to ring you back at a set time.
    • If at any time you feel uneasy leave the property, always trust your instincts.
Frequently Asked Questions
    • You can make a request to exchange properties if you are a secure Council Tenant or an assured tenant of a Registered Social Landlord. Your Tenancy Agreement will confirm the type of tenant you are.


      Upon receipt of your request, we will assess your eligibility, investigate, and notify you of our decision in writing within 42 working days.


      Once we have made a decision and given permission for you to exchange we will contact you to arrange a convenient time for you to change tenancies and sign a new tenancy agreement.

    • No. Introductory tenants do not have a legal right to exchange. You must wait until you become a secure or an assured tenant.

    • A transfer is an offer of accommodation made through our waiting list. An exchange is where you find someone that you would like to swap properties with.

    • Yes. You must get permission from your landlord before you can exchange your property. The person that you want to swap with must also get permission from their landlord. If you swap without permission you could be evicted and lose your home.

    • We must carry out enquiries before we can make a decision. By law, we must make our decision and let you know within 42 days of receiving your request.

    • No. If you do not get written permission to exchange first then you, and the person you swap with, can be evicted and lose your homes.

    • Once written permission is received from your landlord you should consult with your landlord to agree a convenient time to move.

    • You have several options for challenging a refusal:

      • Contact us to discuss the matter informally
      • Use the complaints procedure
      • Approach an Elected Member or the Local Government Ombudsman.
      • Seek judicial review.
    • No. You are responsible for all costs associated with moving house. You should carefully consider the costs before trying to find an exchange partner.

    • You are entitled to apply for a transfer if you are a Birmingham City Council tenant. However, your application will be assessed in the same way as all other applicants and you will be offered a transfer only if you have enough points to reach the top of the list. You should think carefully before going ahead with an exchange.

    • No. It is illegal to offer, or receive, money to carry out a mutual exchange. You, and the other person, could be evicted and lose your home.

    • Yes. You can withdraw at any time before you move in.

    • Yes, you can ask for permission to exchange again.