Mutual exchange during COVID-19
While government restrictions on moving home have been eased, there are still measures that you need to take in order to move safely and minimise the risk to yourself and others. A full guide on what steps you need to take when moving home during lockdown can be found on the government website.
We'll be working hard to process mutual exchange applications, but please do bear in mind that there may be some delays due to the need to adhere to social distancing guidelines and the impact that may have on how we organise and attend our inspections.
How does it work?
You may need to move to another location due to work, family, social or school needs. There may be too many people living at home without the room they need. Or there is too much space and somewhere smaller would suit you better.
Your options are to apply to a local authority allocation scheme such as Bucks Home Choice, or you can mutually exchange with another tenant. There are other tenants out there who might be looking for a home in your location, or a different sized home, and you could help while benefiting yourself too.
For tenants who are affected by the bedroom tax, or simply need fewer bedrooms, we can offer a cash incentive of £1,000 if you downsize by mutually exchanging with someone who has the right sized home for you and who also lives in a Red Kite home. There must be no rent arrears – if there are, the £1,000 incentive will be paid towards them so that the exchange can happen. This incentive scheme is open to any Red Kite tenant exchanging with another Red Kite tenant – whether you are affected by the bedroom tax or not; downsizing can help reduce rent payments and energy bills, along with many other benefits.
If you've already swapped into your current home, then you need to have been living there for a minimum of six months before you can re-apply for another exchange.
Let us know if you want to mutually exchange – contact our Relationships Team on 01494 476100. One of our Relationship Advisers will talk you through the process using HomeSwapper.
If you'd like to mutually exchange, please complete this form: Mutual Exchange Application Form. You and the person you want to exchange with must both complete a form each. Once you've completed your form, send it back to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We'll pay for your registration on HomeSwapper. However, if you're on a starter tenancy, in rent arrears or subject to court action for repossession, we'll not agree to your registration costs. It would be unlikely that we'd agree to an exchange in these circumstances, even if you pay for your own registration. If your registration is refused and you're not a starter tenant, or in arrears or subject to court action, please call the Relationship Team who can check the reason for the refusal.
We want the process of moving home to be as simple as possible for you, so we recommend that you follow these steps to make sure that you have done everything you can before you move:
- Pay off any outstanding arrears and other debts owed – mutual exchanges are unlikely to happen if you owe rent or other debts like court costs or recharges, which may affect whether we or another landlord will agree to the swap or not
- Make sure your home is clean and tidy for viewings by other tenants who may want to exchange with you, with certain repairs carried out. We expect you to give your home to a new tenant in a good condition which shows that you have looked after it, in line with this guide: Home Return Standard booklet. If you don’t, we'll have to recharge you for any repair or removal work that we need to carry out
- Do not accept any payment to mutually exchange your home. This is fraud and we – or another landlord – will take legal action to gain possession of the property
- You must not move out of your home until all landlords have agreed to the exchange and the legal documents have been signed. If you do so, you'll be in breach of your tenancy and could lose your home.