If you are already a Council or housing association tenant and you need to move, you might be able to find another tenant to swap homes with. This is known as a Mutual Exchange. For many tenants who want to move to another area or who are not a high priority for a transfer on their Council’s housing list this can be an easy way to find a new home.
You can register with Four Counties House Exchange and once your registration is approved, you can search for properties you would like to move to. The service is hosted by House Exchange and you can browse for properties on their website or via the House Exchange mobile App. There is a guide to using the App which you can download here.
House Exchange holds information on people from all over the country who are looking to swap homes. This way of moving home can be more flexible than joining a housing register as some landlords will allow you to move to somewhere a bit smaller or larger than you would normally be offered through a transfer. Also you can move to another county or district through an exchange, without having to have a connection to the area. It is also quite common for several tenants to arrange exchanges involving three, four or even more properties! This can help where you can’t find a direct swap with one other tenant.
It is free to register for tenants of most social landlords within the Four Counties ‘catchment’ which covers Central Bedfordshire, Luton, Bedford Borough and all tenants of Grand Union Housing Group.
If you see a property on the site which you are interested in, you can contact the other tenant directly and arrange to view each other’s homes. If you then want to go ahead, both you and the other tenant will need to contact your existing landlords to apply for permission to exchange. There will be some restrictions: for example, you won’t be able to swap to a property which is much too big or too small for your household and you would be expected to have a clear rent account. Your landlord can give you more information about any restrictions when you apply to exchange.
The Four Counties House Exchange service is provided by the Bedfordshire Homefinder Partnership plus Bedford Borough Council and bpha Ltd. If you are a tenant of any of these partners and want to apply to exchange, follow the links below for more information and an application form :
bpha Mutual Exchange Application Form
Central Bedfordshire Council About Mutual Exchange Mutual Exchange Application form
Grand Union Housing Group Mutual Exchange Next Steps Mutual Exchange Application Form
Luton Borough Council Mutual Exchange Application Form