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Mutual Exchange

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Overview

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.

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

If you are a Birmingham City Council tenant, you can use the Mutual Exchange form at the top of this page to request permission to exchange properties.

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

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 can 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.

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

    If we give you permission to exchange we will arrange a convenient time for you to change tenancies and sign a new tenancy agreement.

  • When you have found someone you would like to swap homes with you should fill out the Mutual Exchange form at the top of this page to request our approval for the mutual exchange to go ahead.

    Remember:

    • You can't 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. 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.
  • There are many ways that you can find another tenant that you would like to swap with, such as:

    • advertise your property in the local newspaper or by placing notices in shop windows
    • register with an online exchange scheme such as Swap and Move or Homeswapper
    • ask friends or family if they know of any suitable properties or other people who wish to exchange properties

    Visit the Mutual Exchange page for more information.

    • Always tell someone where you have gone and what time you expect to be home - especially if viewing on your own.
    • Visit 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 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 and pick you up.
    • Confirm who will be at the property when you visit.
    • Never accept lifts from anyone you don't know.
    • If you are disabled ensure you have access to the property.
    • Take a personal alarm, if you have one, especially when going to an area you don't 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 - trust your instincts.
Frequently Asked Questions
    • No. Introductory tenants do not have a legal right to exchange. You must wait until you become a secure 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.
    • 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 bid for a property that you have enough points to secure.

      You should think carefully before going ahead with a mutual 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.

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