If you currently live in social housing and would like to swap your home to live in a different sized property or in a different area then a mutual exchange might be the answer for you. A mutual exchange allows council or housing association tenants to swap their home for another tenant's home. Each landlord must agree before an exchange can go ahead.
Supported by many local authorities in Kent, as well as housing associations, Homeswapper aims to help public tenants swap homes. You can use its site to find another home you would like to exchange yours for. This means your home will be advertised here for other tenants to see.
When you register you can say what sort of property you are looking for. Then you can log in any time and search for possible matches.
Found a swap?
Once you have found a home that you would like to exchange to you must still obtain permission to swap your home and you can do this by filling out a mutual exchange application form [pdf] 4343KB or you can obtain a form by emailing the housing team or by phoning 01233 330688.
Please note that all applications must be completed and saved as a PDF, using Adobe software that is freely available a function called "Find and Fill" can be used to complete the form. Alternatively, if you have a scanner you can print and scan the document to us as a PDF.
Any forms submitted not in a PDF format will not be accepted.
When you find a property you are interested in you will need to arrange a viewing, its worthwhile making a note beforehand of things you want to know about, the following questions may help:
- Schools – where are they? Some schools are full and may not accept new children
- Doctors surgery – where is it? Will they accept you onto their list?
- Transport – are there buses or trains available?
- Post office – is there a local post office or shop?
- Parking – what is it like at weekends and evenings when everyone is home? Is there enough space? Do they rent a garage? Would you be able to take it over?
- Are all the door locks working properly? How many sets of keys do they have?
- If there is a door entry system do they have the security tags for the entry system. (We charge for these if they are missing)
- Is there a TV aerial or satellite dish, are they leaving it?
- Is the cooker point gas or electric? If it is electric, is gas available and how much would it cost to have installed? (We will not provide this)
- Are all the fittings, i.e. kitchen units, toilet, bath and basins as supplied or have they changed any? (We may not be responsible for tenant's alterations and if a repair is required, we would only supply standard items)
- Have they suffered from flooding or water damage?
- What are they leaving behind? e.g. carpets, curtains, blinds, sheds, greenhouse, etc.
- What is the condition of the property? The council are not responsible for decoration, if you have to redecorate how much will this cost?
- Are there any outstanding repairs, i.e. cracked windows, broken window catches, missing doors, cracked wash basin or bath, or any unauthorised alterations?
The next stage
If you wish to go ahead now that you have seen each others homes, the next stage is to complete a mutual exchange form for each family. When you complete the form tell us about any problems in the property that concern you, we can check these when we inspect the property. The council is not responsible for the decoration within our property. The council may not be responsible for repairs or reinstatement work caused by tenant's alterations or removal of tenant's alterations.
If there have been alterations to the property that you consider undesirable or may represent a health and safety risk you must get it resolved before you agree to the exchange.
Be clear about any items you are intending to take with you or intend to leave behind. For example, tenant improvements, sheds, garden features, planting. Where you decide to take items with you, you must ensure that all reinstatement work is undertaken and that you have not created a health and safety risk.