Stock couple new home 2

Mutual exchanges and other ways of moving home

This is a guide to mutual exchanges and other ways in which you can move home.

What is a mutual exchange?

A mutual exchange is basically a house swap. It is where two or more housing association or council tenants who wish to move, swap homes with each other.

Who can exchange?

If you are an assured or fixed term tenant with a registered social landlord (housing association) or a secure or flexible tenant of a local authority, you may have the right to exchange with another assured or secure tenant, providing both landlords agree in writing.

Some of our tenants will not be able to do a mutual exchange, for example residents on a licence agreement in supported housing, some tenants on assured shorthold tenancy agreements and tenants on starter tenancies during the 12 month starter period. There may be restrictions on who you can exchange with, for example, if either property is involved in a planning agreement with restrictions on who can live in the property or if either home is the subject of a local lettings agreement for which you do not meet the criteria. To check if you qualify, please ask your housing officer.

How do I find someone to exchange with?

Magna subscribes to an internet-based mutual exchange service which tenants can access free of charge and which allows them to register with and search for tenants to swap homes with in other areas of the country as well as locally.

Your housing officer can give you details of the schemes.

You can also find a mutual exchange partner by word of mouth, or by advertising in local shops or newspapers.

Your new home must be suitable for your needs. It must not be too big or too small. Some homes have been adapted or designed for people with disabilities or other special needs - unless you have special needs you will not qualify for these properties.

Once you have found someone to exchange with, we will send you an application form along with an information sheet which explains more about the process.

Approving the exchange

For a swap to go ahead you must have a clear rent account at least two weeks before you move and the exchange must not cause overcrowding or unreasonable under occupation.

If you have a joint tenancy with someone else, your partner must also agree.

You cannot swap if you are undergoing possession proceedings.

Once we have received your completed application form, we will visit you and inspect your property.

We will let you know if you need to complete any repairs before the exchange can take place.

We will also write to the landlord of your exchange partner for a reference. We will also provide a written reference to their landlord on your tenancy.

When we have exchanged references with your exchange landlord, we will then either:

  • Agree to the exchange or
  • Agree to the exchange subject to certain conditions being met or
  • Refuse the exchange, for example if a Notice Seeking Possession has been served for a breach of tenancy conditions.

If we refuse an exchange, we will tell you why.

We will write to you and confirm our decision. Please do not make any arrangements to move until you receive our written consent.


If we agree to the exchange, we will ask you to tell us the date on which you wish to move. Your new tenancy will start on the Monday following the day you move unless you ask for it to start on a different day. You should give us at least two weeks’ written notice of the date you intend to move so that we can arrange for the required safety checks and for you to sign all the necessary paperwork. The date that you intend to move will also need to be agreed with your exchange partner and their landlord.

Once you have signed your exchange papers you have to move to your new home.

Mutual exchanges and preserved right to buy

Some tenants have the preserved right to buy their home (PRTB). These are usually tenants who were tenants with

West Dorset or West Somerset Councils before becoming Magna tenants. If you have the PRTB and you exchange with another Magna tenant then you may still have the preserved right to buy at your new home. If you exchange with an assured tenant of another housing association, then you will lose your preserved right to buy. If you exchange with a secure council tenant, then you will have the right to buy at your new property. Your exchange partner will not have the right to buy at your property unless they are an existing Magna tenant that already has the preserved right to buy. Your housing officer will be able to tell you if you have the PRTB and you are strongly urged to seek legal advice about this before agreeing to a move.

Other ways to move

As well as a mutual exchange, there are other ways you may be able to move. These are set out below.

  • Transfer

    If your home is no longer suitable for your needs and you can’t find a partner to exchange homes with you can apply to join the local authority housing register. You can then search for and nominate yourself for suitable properties using the choice based lettings scheme in your local area.

    Magna does not hold a transfer list or housing register.
  • Shared Ownership

    If you would like to own your own home, but cannot afford to buy on the open market, shared ownership could be for you.
    Shared ownership allows you to part buy and part rent your home. The Help to Buy SW website lists all available shared ownership properties

    There may be other shared ownership schemes in your local area. You can ask your local authority about this.

    The same site gives details about the government scheme which allows you to buy a home on the open market and receive financial help.

Ending your tenancy

You should contact us as soon as you think you may be moving. If you wish to end your tenancy you must give us four weeks’ notice in writing but we will take your notice over the phone to start with and begin the process of ending your tenancy and advertising your property. You will be responsible for the rent on your home until the notice period ends.

Your tenancy will end on a Sunday. When you contact us to tell us you want to move, we will make arrangements with you about handing your keys in. If you choose to hand them in to our offices, all keys must be returned to us by 8.30am on the Monday after the Sunday your tenancy ends. Alternatively, we can arrange for you to leave your keys at your property in a key safe when you leave. If you do not return the keys we will change the locks and recharge you the cost.

Your property will be inspected before you leave. We will tell you if any fixtures or fittings must be repaired or replaced.

If you leave without doing the repairs you will be charged for the cost of any work required.

We may wish to show new tenants around your home during the notice period. We will discuss this with you when you contact us about leaving and give you 24 hours notice if we need to do this.

When you move out you must:

  • Leave the property clean, tidy and in good condition
  • Remove all of your belongings, including curtains, blinds, carpets and non-standard floor coverings, the contents of cupboards, sheds, and the loft, and clean all surfaces
  • Clear and tidy the garden, fill in any ponds and remove any garden sheds and greenhouses that you have installed yourself
  • Remove any non-standard items which you may have fitted, such as fire surrounds, light fittings, shelves, fitted cupboards and cabinets, unless we have agreed they can stay
  • Remove all bags of rubbish and unwanted items from the property, garden and any communal areas
  • Read the meters. If you have a pre-payment meter ensure that the key or tokens are left in the meter
  • Arrange for any gas appliances to be removed by a GAS SAFE or ACS registered engineer
  • Turn off the gas, electric and water supply at the mains
  • Have your telephone disconnected
  • Make arrangements to have your mail forwarded

Help and advice

If you have any questions, need help understanding this leaflet or would like it in another format, for example in large print or on audio CD, contact us.

  • Advise your local council tax office
  • Provide us with a forwarding address.

Housing Benefit

If you claim housing benefit then you should let your local council know as soon as you move. You will need to fill in a new claim form for Housing Benefit at your new home. If your new home has a significantly higher rent than your old one then your rent may not be covered in full. You should contact your local authority before you move to discuss this.

If you are thinking about moving home and would like some more information please contact us.