A mutual exchange happens when two or more tenants decide to swap tenancies.
It involves taking over the other party’s tenancy, including all the rights and responsibilities that go with it. This must be with the agreement of all landlords and it never involves an empty property.
The tenant must hold a Secure (Council) or Assured (Housing Association) tenancy and must obtain the permission of their landlord prior to the exchange. You cannot mutually exchange with the tenant of a private landlord.
You need to find your own exchange partner, but there are a number of ways you can look:
Having agreed to swap properties, each tenant should apply to their own landlord for permission to exchange. If you are a Thurrock tenant, you can pick up an application form at any Local Office or telephone the Thurrock Choice Homes Team on 01375 652311 and we will send you the Mutual Exchange Application forms.
You and your exchange partner(s) complete the forms and take them to any Local Office
Your landlord has a maximum of 6 weeks (42 days) in which to agree or refuse your exchange.
There are limited grounds upon which the Landlord can refuse. For a Council these are found in the Housing Act 1985 and are shown below. (Grounds for refusal)
You will also be expected to pay up any rent arrears or rectify any other breach of tenancy. Permission will be conditional upon you doing so.
If there are no reasons why the exchange should be refused, we will contact you asking that you make appointments for the gas and electricity in your property to be checked. A Building Inspector will also visit you and inspect your current home and tell you about any repairs that need to be done before your exchange.
The inspection is carried out because each property must be ready for the new tenant to move in to, without any outstanding repairs. Each tenant will be expected to accept their new home in its existing condition, and they may be asked to confirm this in writing.
Therefore you should always inspect your new home carefully before deciding to make the exchange.
You must not make any arrangements for your exchange until you have received permission in writing. If two different landlords are involved, you will need letters from both. When you do get the letter(s), we will ask you and the other party to come to the Civic Offices and sign your Deed of Assignment for your new home. Then you can move.
You should never accept any offer of a payment or inducement to carry out an exchange - this is illegal and could lead to you losing your home.
The tenant or the proposed assignee is obliged to give up possession of the dwelling-house of which is the secure tenant in pursuance of an order of the court, or will be so obliged at a date specified in such an order.
Proceedings have been begun for possession of the dwelling-house of which the tenant or the proposed assignee is the secure tenant on one or more of grounds one to six in part one of Schedule two (grounds on which possession may be ordered despite absence of suitable alternative accommodation), or there has been served on the tenant or the proposed assignee a notice under section 83 (Notice of Proceedings for Possession) which specifies one or more of those grounds and is still in force.
The accommodation afforded by the dwelling-house is substantially more extensive than is reasonably required by the proposed assignee.
The extent of the accommodation afforded by the dwelling-house is not reasonably suitable to the needs of the proposed assignee and his/her family.
The landlord is a charity and the proposed assignee's occupation of the dwelling-house would conflict with the objects of the charity.
The dwelling-house has features which are substantially different from those of an ordinary dwelling-house and which are designed to make it suitable for occupation by a physically disabled person who requires accommodation of the kind provided by the dwelling-house and if the assignment were made there would no longer be such a person residing in the dwelling-house.
The landlord is a Housing Association or Housing Trust which lets dwelling-houses only for occupation (alone or with others) by persons whose circumstances (other than merely financial circumstances) make it especially difficult for them to satisfy their need for housing and it the assignment were made there would no longer be such a person residing in the dwelling-house.
The dwelling-house is one of a group of dwelling-houses which is the practice of the landlord to let for occupation by persons with special need and a social service or special facility is provided in close proximity to the group of dwelling-houses in order to assist persons with those special needs and if the assignment were made there would no longer be a person with those special needs residing in the dwelling-house.
The dwelling-house is the subject if a management agreement under which the manager is a Housing Association of which at least half the members of the association, and the proposed assignee is not, and is not willing to become, a member of the association.