A mutual exchange is when two or more council or housing association tenants apply to exchange their homes.

How to do a mutual exchange

Type and size of property you can exchange

Our tenants can exchange ‘like for like’ so you can move to the same size property you are leaving, even if you don’t meet the eligibility criteria.

Find someone to exchange with

Try using HomeSwapper. It's an independent nationwide service for social housing tenants who want to exchange their property. As a council tenant you can register for free and search for properties anywhere in the UK. You can also try adverts in local shops, newspapers or libraries. Or you can speak to family, friends and neighbours.

You should not offer or receive money to carry out a mutual exchange, including paying off rent arrears. There is no guarantee the exchange will take place and we will not get involved in any disputes that arise.

Landlord agreement

Once you've found a suitable property, you and the tenant you are swapping with need to get your landlord's approval. The council or housing association who own each property must agree to the exchange in writing. Most exchanges are approved. Conditional consent could be granted if a tenant needs to put right a breach of their tenancy conditions (such as rent arrears) before the exchange can take place.

If the exchange is not agreed, we will write and explain why within 42 days of your application. If you swap without the correct permission from each landlord, legal action may be taken which can result in you losing your home.

What to consider before agreeing to swap

Check what your rent and costs (such as service charges) will be. If repairs are needed, check if they will be carried out under the tenancy conditions. Repairs to improvements carried out by tenants are not usually covered and we don’t clear gardens or decorate homes as a result of a mutual exchange.

Make sure you can afford your moving costs. Try to keep expenses to an absolute minimum as there is no legal comeback if your swap partner withdraws from an exchange.

What checks will be carried out

Before we can let you go ahead with any exchange we will check:

  • you qualify for the size and type of property you wish to move to
  • your rent account is clear and there is no possession order on your home for either rent arrears or anti-social behaviour
  • your home is in a satisfactory condition (you must let us inspect your property)

When you can move

It usually takes 4 to 6 weeks to process your application and carry out necessary checks. If you want to exchange with someone who is not a Sheffield City Council tenant it may take longer. 

Please do not pack your belongings or book any removals until all parties have signed the deed of assignment and agreed a move date. Anyone can pull out of a mutual exchange until all parties have signed this. If you move without permission or refuse to move once you have signed your property over, we can take legal action against you.

Gas safety and appliances

If you are moving any gas appliances the work must be carried out by someone on the Gas Safe Register.

Once you have moved, we will carry out a mandatory gas inspection. If you fail to keep the appointment or change it with less than 48 hours’ notice, we will charge you for the missed appointment and arrange a new one.

If we find supply pipes are not properly sealed we can take legal action against you and you will pay for any repair costs. 

Why a mutual exchange may be refused

  • the tenancy is subject to a court order for possession, notice seeking possession or possession proceedings are pending
  • the tenant or a household member is subject to any court order or any pending proceedings around anti-social behaviour
  • the property is substantially larger than you and your family need
  • the property is too small for you and your family and would lead to overcrowding or would break the normal letting criteria
  • the property has been let as a service tenancy
  • the property has been adapted for a person with a physical disability and is very different from other properties and if the exchange went ahead, a disabled person would no longer live there
  • the property is one of a group let to people with special needs near to social services or a special facility and if the exchange went ahead, someone needing those services would no longer be living there
  • the property is the subject of a housing association management agreement and at least half the tenants of the properties within the agreement are members and the proposed tenant is not willing to become a member

Apply for a mutual exchange

Complete our form to begin a mutual exchange.

Contact Council Housing Service

Ask us a question

0114 293 0000 Monday to Friday 8am to 5:30pm