Housing Mutual Exchange

If you are a council or housing association tenant you can apply to swap homes with another tenant. This is called a "Housing Mutual Exchange." Finding a mutual exchange could save you months (even years) of waiting on a housing transfer list, and the best bit is that you get to choose the home you want for yourself.

Housing Mutual Exchange operates across the whole country, enabling council and housing association tenants to swap their home with another tenant in their own local area, or further afield in another town or county.

There are many reasons why tenants wish to swap homes, for example:

  • To relocate to another location for work or family reasons.
  • To 'downsize' to smaller accommodation.
  • To get an extra bedroom for a growing family, or a garden perhaps.
  • To get ground floor accommodation for mobility reasons.

At the moment mutual exchange is the quickest and most effective way to find that new home. Most mutual exchanges are simply a straightforward exchange between two tenants, but it's not uncommon for exchanges to involve four or more tenants at a time.

Find a home swap free of charge online

We recommend tenants sign-up with the following online home swap service which is FREE OF CHARGE to Basildon Council tenants.

  • Button image links to Homeswapper Housing Mutual Exchange DatabaseHomeSwapper, a national online home swap service - HomeSwapper can automatically match your requirements to possible home exchanges you can look at in seconds! Sign-up to HomeSwapper now. (FREE to Basildon Council tenants)

In addition to searching online many people find a mutual exchange by advertising in a newspaper or shop window. Talking to friends and relatives will sometimes bring news of someone looking for a mutual exchange. 

Who can apply for a Housing Mutual Exchange?

All council, housing association and housing trust tenants with a Secure Tenancy can apply for a mutual exchange.

Most housing association and housing trust tenants with and Assured Tenancy can apply for a mutual exchange. If you are not sure about your Assured Tenancy, enquire with your housing association or housing trust landlord.

Tenants in leased or private rented accommodation CANNOT apply for a mutual exchange.

Restrictions on housing mutual exchanges

There are certain restrictions on a tenant's entitlement to a housing mutual exchange, the following would not be entitled to a housing mutual exchange:

  • Tenants in rent arrears.
  • Tenants applying to buy their homes.
  • Tenants whose property is in poor internal condition and does not pass our home inspection.
  • Tenants applying for an exchange to a property that is more than one bedroom in excess of their housing need (The rules governing the type and size of property a mutual exchange applicant can apply for are the same as the rules governing Housing Allocations. For further information see page 63 of the Icon for pdf Housing Allocations Scheme: Section 19 - Type and Size of Property Offered [1.02MB]).

Submitting your Housing Mutual Exchange application

When you have found a suitable swap then it's time to submit a Housing Mutual Exchange application.

Please download a Icon for pdf Housing Mutual Exchange application pack [238.16KB] which contains;

  • Housing mutual exchange property inspection form
  • Additional Information
  • Housing mutual exchange application from
  • Declaration Form

Please ensure all parts are completed and signed.

You can also request an application form by post from the Rehousing Department, see contact details below.

Processing your application and the time to completion

A mutual exchange involves various checks and administrative work and usually takes six weeks to complete from the date your application is received.

Final permission to move and the cost of moving

IMPORTANT: No matter how urgently you want to move house remember this: if either you or the person you are swapping with, move house before the application process has been completed or before you have been given proper written permission to move, then you will be putting yourselves both at risk of eviction from your council or housing association/trust home. 

Tenants are responsible for all costs associated with moving house. You should consider costs carefully before beginning your search for a mutual exchange.