A mutual exchange is when you arrange to swap homes with someone else.
To apply you have to be a secure council tenant or Housing Association tenant and you must have your landlord’s written permission before you swap.
Mutual exchange can often help tenants to find alternative accommodation quickly.
How to apply
Wigan Council now subscribes to HomeSwapper, the UK's leading mutual exchange service.
If you are a Wigan Council tenant you can register and look for potential swaps free of charge.
Where can I find homes to swap with?
Once you've registered your home with HomeSwapper, you'll get match alerts by email and/or text which will show you potential swaps every week. If you are thinking about swapping, it's important you let us know.
When you have found a property, you are interested in, you should contact the other tenant yourself to see if they are interested. If they are you can arrange a suitable time to view each other’s homes.
If you both agree to swap, you should ask your respective landlords for permission.
Please note: If you have a joint tenancy, both of you will have to agree to the mutual exchange.
I have found a swap, what happens next?
Once you've found someone to swap with, please let us know.
Each party who wishes to complete a mutual exchange will be required to complete a mutual exchange application form to proceed.
From the date all forms are returned we have 42 calendar days (6 weeks) to give you a decision if the mutual exchange is approved or refused.
During this time there are tenancy checks we need to complete and paperwork that must be signed before any mutual exchange takes place. This includes:
- Check the type of tenancy you hold
- Complete a home visit to both parties, if we are the landlord, and check condition of property and gardens
- Check rent account for each party if we are the landlord. If rent is owed this will need to be cleared
- If we are not the landlord of both properties, then we need to talk to the other landlord and check various details with them
- Check no breaches of tenancy have occurred including involvement in anti-social behaviour.
You may not be able to swap homes if:
- You owe us rent
- The person you want to swap with hasn't kept to the terms of their tenancy agreement
- The property would be unsuitable for your household, for example if the property is too small, too large, or has adaptions designed for people with access needs
- Designated to a restricted group such as Sheltered Housing schemes.
What happens if my application is accepted?
If we give approve your application for a mutual exchange, you will be notified within 42 calendar days. After this time, we will work with you to arrange a convenient time for the change of tenancy to take place.
If the exchange a non-Wigan Council tenant, then, a completion date will be agreed with the other party and their landlord.
There is a legal process to complete a tenancy transfer, and this involves all parties signing up to a ‘Deed of Assignment’. By signing a deed of assignment, you will take over the rights and responsibilities of the previous tenant. This includes the responsibility for any non-standard fixtures and fittings and any damages caused by the previous tenant.
You can withdraw your application to exchange before the completion date. However, we would advise both parties stay in regular contact and update each other on any potential withdrawal from mutual exchange.
Can I exchange before I get permission from my landlord?
If you exchange before you get permission and sign the relevant paperwork, you, and the person you exchange with may face legal action, as this is an illegal mutual exchange. You will be asked to move back to your original tenancy.
If you know or suspect that a Wigan Council tenant has illegally swapped their home, you can report an illegal mutual exchange.
What happens if my application is refused?
We may refuse a mutual exchange if the property is:
- Unsuitable for your household, for example if the property is too small, too large, or has adaptions designed for people with access needs
- Designated to a restricted group such as Sheltered Housing schemes
- In a clearance or regeneration area.
Please note these grounds for refusal are not exhaustive.
If the council refuses your application to swap, you can: