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What is a Mutual Exchange?
This is a guide to assist anyone looking to mutual exchange, or in the process of a mutual exchange.
Please read the information on this page before completing the application.
A mutual exchange is a home swap between two or more social housing customers. This can occur for a variety of reasons, but often it can be due to needing a smaller or larger home, moving for work or to be closer to family. A mutual exchange is a great alternative for tenants who don’t have a high enough priority or banding to be able to access a home through the normal allocation process.
Who can mutual exchange?
You will need to be a social housing customer with a secure or assured tenancy to have the right to a mutual exchange. If you have a starter tenancy or a demotion order you will probably not be eligible to swap – if you think this might apply to you, it’s always a good to contact us first to find out what type of tenancy you have and if you are allowed to swap homes before you start looking.
How do I go about finding an exchange?
To register your home or search for a mutual exchange please visit www.homeswapper.co.uk
Homeswapper makes searching for your swap, communicating with the other tenant and arranging viewings simple. Once you have found another tenant who is eligible to swap, lives in the UK and wants to live in your home, you can progress the mutual exchange.
Other ways to find an exchange include: Word of mouth, local shops, local paper or social media.
Before completing an application form
Ensure you have read and understood the information provided to you on this Mutual Exchange page.
You must have a clear rent account
You must have no anti-social behaviour or breaches of tenancy against you or your household
Your property, including gardens must be in good condition - you must agree to a property inspection
Visit the property you wish to exchange with, inspecting the condition of the property inside and outside very carefully. Ensure that you check walls, doors or surfaces that are covered and that you are completely satisfied with everything, as properties are taken as seen
Ensure the exchange does not result in overcrowding or under-occupying by more than one bedroom
You must be prepared and ready to move, being able to meet the costs of a month’s rent payment, utility check payments, removal costs and be available for appointments.
Ensure all parties in the exchange complete and submit a Platform Mutual Exchange form - you will also have to do this for all Landlords involved in the exchange.
Completed Application forms
You will receive an automated response when your form is submitted
Please note that the 42 day legal timeframe is to make a decision on a mutual exchange by either consent or refusal. The 42 days start on the date all parties forms are submitted, so please ensure you are not waiting for anyone you wish to exchange with to submit their forms. The 42nd day is not the exchange date and this can take several weeks after a decision has been made.
If you have any queries after submission, please refer to the information on this page
Do not contact us unless you wish to provide new information or wish to cancel your application. To do this please email email@example.com
What will I have to pay?
Once it is confirmed that your mutual exchange can go ahead, you will receive a consent letter requiring you to pay for gas/oil and electric safety checks at your home. The current cost for these are set out below with payment due within 7 days of a successful decision being confirmed. If no payment is made, the application will be cancelled, and you will need to reapply. Please contact the Platform Hub on 0333 200 7304 to make a payment.
Gas check £65.64
Electrical check £128.00
Oil check £112.80.
If the person you are looking to exchange with is also a PHG tenant, they will need to pay for the checks at their home too.
These fees are not refundable once the checks have been completed, even if the application is withdrawn or abandoned.
If your application is successful you are required to pay one month’s rent in advance at the point of exchange of tenancy agreements.
What if I am exchanging with a tenant who is not a customer of PHG?
If you successfully find someone to exchange with who rents their home from a different landlord you must complete the application process via both landlords.
Where the proposed incoming tenant holds a tenancy with another landlord, we will contact that landlord to obtain a reference. This reference requests details about their rent account, any reports of antisocial behaviour and an overview of the conduct of their tenancy. We will also give a reference about your tenancy to another landlord following your property inspection.
What checks will you do?
Once your completed application is received, we will acknowledge that we have received it.
There are a number of checks carried out by PHG before the decision is made for the mutual exchange to go ahead:
Eligibility – the type of tenancy will be checked to ensure you have the right to mutual exchange, some tenancy agreements do not allow you to exchange.
Rent Account – your account should be clear of all debt owed to PHG and kept up to date throughout the mutual exchange process
Breaches of Tenancy – if you have been served any type of legal notice because you have breached your tenancy in any way, until the situation is resolved and/or the notice has expired, permission for a mutual exchange will not be granted. Examples of breaches of tenancy are non-payment of rent, anti-social behaviour, poor condition of property, etc.
Electrical Check – we will arrange this check before agreeing to the mutual exchange to ensure your property is safe.
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) – this is needed for the mutual exchange to go ahead. We can use one if we have already got one on record, otherwise we will arrange for this to be carried out before the decision is made. There will be no cost to you for this.
Gas/Oil Check – if your property has a gas supply, we will arrange this check to take place on the start date of the tenancy to ensure the property is safe. We will charge you £65.64 to complete this check at the point of application. During this check our gas engineer will carry out a visual electrical inspection on two key areas: cooker and bathroom (shower) cable exposure.
If you have oil heating, we will arrange for an oil check to be completed on the start of the tenancy to ensure the property is safe. We will charge you £112.80 to complete this check at the point of application.
Property Inspection – An appointment will be made to inspect your property, including any outside space and boundary fence/hedge. It is advisable for the Incoming customer to be present at the time of inspection, however this is not compulsory and a copy of the inspection form will be sent to all parties to read and sign. On signing you accept full responsibility for any repairs that are the customers’ responsibility.
Non-standard items and damage
There will be items within the home that you own but will want to leave behind. These may be gifted to the new tenant, examples include carpets, sheds, laminate flooring, lighting.
If any items are damaged, you may be asked to repair or remove these prior to exchange being agreed. PHG will take no responsibility for these items.
It is important you have open discussions with the person you are exchanging with if you notice something that is damaged or you are not willing to accept responsibility for but is being left at the property.
You are reminded to make sure you know which fixtures and fittings belong to Platform Housing and you leave these in their proper place.
If you exchange and then choose to end the tenancy in the future, you will be requested to remove items in line with our vacating standard.
What are the reasons I would not be allowed to exchange?
Grounds for refusing an exchange are set out within Schedule 3 of the Housing Act 1985 and Schedule 14 of the Localism Act 2011.
A guide to refusal reasons is set out below-
There are rent arrears on the account, including any court costs, by either exchange party
A tenancy condition has been breached, including ASB, property condition, unauthorised alterations
There is a court order for possession or a suspended possession order on either property
The landlord has served a notice of seeking possession and the notice is still in force, or possession proceedings have commenced
The property is larger or smaller than is needed by the proposed exchange
The property is adapted for the requirements of disabled persons or there may be an age restriction making the property unsuitable for the persons wishing to move
The property is tied to employment
The landlord is made aware that a financial gain has taken place to ensure the acceptance of the exchange. PLEASE NOTE IT IS ILLEGAL TO OFFER OR RECEIVE MONEY TO CARRY OUT A MUTUAL EXCHANGE
Will you allow under-occupancy when I exchange?
We may consider under-occupancy of a maximum of one bedroom, but you may incur under- occupancy charges and we will carry out affordability checks with you.
For more information about Benefits, please visit https://www.gov.uk/browse/benefits
When can we move?
You cannot move or make any arrangements for removal until you have written permission from PHG. The date on your Assignment or Tenancy paperwork is the date you can move and not before. If you do, you will be illegally occupying your home and both parties could lose their homes.
Can PHG help me with moving costs?
PHG will not assist with any moving or decorative costs and may refuse to undertake certain repairs other than to fulfil their repairing obligations as a Landlord
There are lots of repairs at my new address. Will you do them for me?
If when you view the property you identify any repairs that are required, please discuss this as part of the application process to establish what is our responsibility as the landlord. Some repairs may not be completed and be deemed as the customers responsibility.
Can I take my gas cooker/electrical cooker?
If the cooker is yours then you can take it.
If you have a gas cooker -you must ensure that you will employ a Gas Safe Registered engineer to remove your gas appliance.
And if it is electrical cooker- you will employ a qualified trade operative (electrician) to remove safely your electrical appliances.
Can I take my electrical shower?
This is an example where a fixture maybe PHG property so you are not allowed to take it with you. If you installed a shower and obtained permission for doing so from us then you can take it. You are advised that you use a qualified trade operative (electrician) to remove it safely and make good.
Do I need to notify my Utility Suppliers that I am moving?
Before you move out
When you move out you need to read your gas, electricity and water meters and provide final readings to your suppliers.
Before you move in
We strongly advise you to find out from the outgoing tenant(s) the name and contact details of their suppliers so that you can notify the companies if you wish to continue receiving their supplies. If there are pre-payment / card meters you should arrange for the supply to be transferred into your name.
Paying rent and Welfare Benefit reform changes - how they might affect you
If your application is successful you are required to pay one month’s rent in advance at the point of exchange of tenancy agreements. We will require you to pay your rent by Direct Debit.
Even if you do not claim housing benefit now, it may affect you in the future if you wish to make a claim. This applies if you are new to Platform Housing, or an existing tenant exchanging or transferring homes.
For more information about Benefits, please visit https://www.gov.uk/browse/benefits
Proceeding with an application
All exchange partners will have to fill in a Mutual Exchange Form, even if they’re not a Platform customer.
Once submitted, the form is automatically sent to our mutual exchange team and you will receive an automated response. This is not confirmation of the start process, this will only begin once all parties’ forms have been received.
If you haven’t got access to internet – please contact Platform Hub on 0333 200 7304 and a paper version will be sent to you. On completion, please return to –
Platform Housing Group, 1700 Solihull Parkway, Birmingham Business Park, Solihull, B37 7YD
5. What happens if I want to refuse the property?
If you would like time to make a decision then you will be requested to return the keys to the key-safe and confirm your decision within 24 hours.
If you choose to refuse the property please be mindful that this may impact on your housing application with the Local Authority and you may not be offered an alternative home.
Failure to return the keys to the key-safe, or if the keys are missing when a contractor attends, may be considered as theft and reported to the police.
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