Mutual exchange (house exchange)


Most council and housing association/trust tenants can swap their homes with other council and housing association/trust tenants, providing their landlord agrees.

Saffron Housing is a member of a mutual exchange scheme for people who are interested in moving to a more suitable home if theirs is, for example, too small. This scheme is called House Exchange [external link] and it has been designed to help you find people who are also looking to swap their home in parts of Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and London.

Further information

What is mutual exchange?

A mutual exchange is when two or more tenants who wish to move from their current homes and have obtained permission from their landlords, swap homes. It entails on each party moving permanently into their exchange partner's property. It is not possible to exchange your house for an empty property.

Who can apply for a mutual exchange?

Most Council and Housing Association/Trust tenants with secure or assured tenancies can apply to exchange their accommodation. Unfortunately, mutual exchanges with tenants in leased or private rented accommodation are not allowed. You must apply for, and obtain permission from your landlord before going ahead with an exchange.

Who can use the House Exchange website?

House Exchange is a website that has been designed to bring people together who are looking to swap their home. You can only use this website if your landlord or area is a member.

How do I find someone to swap with?

First you will need to register on the House Exchange website [external link]. Once you have registered, your details will be approved and your property will appear on the database. You will be sent a password so that you can use the search facility.

You can search for:

  • a specific property
  • people who want your property
  • a straight swap between you and another tenant
  • a three way exchange.

What happens next?

You will need to fill in a form from landlord. Once they have the completed form they will confirm within 6 weeks (42 days) if the exchange can proceed.

Your landlord will inspect your property to make sure it is in an acceptable condition. The landlord of the other property concerned will do the same, and both landlords will then exchange reports.

If the exchange is approved then you will be contacted to confirm a convenient date for the move.

Can I be refused permission to exchange?

Only in certain circumstances such as:

  • at least one of the tenants is in rent or council tax arrears
  • a move will result in substantial overcrowding or under-occupation
  • a home that has been specifically designed or adapted will be occupied by someone without similar needs
  • there is already a possession order in place against one of the tenants or if the Council is in the process of applying for such an order.

If you are refused permission you will be given clear reasons why.

How can I get further information on mutual exchange?

For more information contact your landlord. To find out more about the House Exchange website, contact Saffron Housing Trust on or phone 01508 532000.

What if I want to move outside the local area?

If you are interested in moving to an area not covered by the House Exchange scheme you could register with Homeswap [external link], a national database which covers the UK.

External links

House Exchange
A free website that has been designed to help local residents who are looking to swap their home.

About links to other websites.

Contact us

contact officer/team: Housing Register Team
web: online enquiry form
freephone: 0808 168 2222
minicom/textphone: 01508 533622
address: South Norfolk Council
South Norfolk House
Cygnet Court
Long Stratton
Norwich NR15 2XE

If you need information in large print, audio cassette, braille, translation (written or verbal) or signed interpretation, let us know when you contact us. About our translation services

Last updated on: 21 November 2013