Exchanging your tenancy with another social housing tenant can be a great way to move into the home you have always wanted.
Before an exchange can go ahead though there are a lot of things to consider. We hope that this guide helps you prepare so that things can go smoothly and you make a great choice for your next home.
If you already have a social housing property and wish to move to another by 'mutual exchange' please register with www.homeswapper.co.uk
Things to organise:
1. Pay off any debts
If you owe Westward any money for your rent or other services such as garages or repairs this will need to be paid off before we can approve your exchange. If you’re not sure if you owe anything please check on your Westward MyAccount or call us on 0300 100 1010. We understand that sometimes you may be moving because your home is no longer affordable, if this is the case please contact the Westward Income Team to see if we can help.
2. Rent in advance
You will be required to pay your rent in advance, this is a term of the Westward tenancy agreement and so there will be a request for either one month or 4 weeks rent to be paid before the exchange takes place. This applies to all, even if you receive Housing Benefit or Universal Credit. If you don’t have this amount ready now is the time to start saving for it.
3. Make sure your home is in great shape
Advertising a property that is in good condition will help you find a swap more quickly. It will also make the process easier in the long run as Westward need to inspect properties as part of the approval process. If there are any repairs that need to be done you should get them done now. If they are for Westward to do you should arrange for this now on your Westward MyAccount. If there is anything you have broken over your time in your home it will need to be fixed, sometimes at your own cost.
Properties are more appealing to others if they can see themselves living there so often a clear out and a fresh coat of paint can go a long way.
Once you have considered the above 3 points it’s time to get yourself registered on Homeswapper www.homeswapper.co.uk This is free to Westward residents. You will be able to view the other properties that may be suitable for a swap and hopefully find the one for you.
When looking at the possible properties you could swap with think about everything that you need. Consider size, cost and location. It’s often worth visiting an area both in the day and night to see if it suits your needs. Also think about your health needs, make sure you believe the property will be suitable for you now and in the future.
Once you have found the right property to swap with the exchange process can start. Whilst we appreciate that once you have made the decision to move you may want to progress your move quickly, please note that Westward have up to 42 days (6 weeks) to make a decision on your application. Because of current covid restrictions and the way organisations are working, we can confirm it is likely to take up to 42 days for final approval. In addition to this, once an approval is given, it can then take up to a further 4 weeks to arrange or complete any necessary safety checks to your home, e.g. electrical and gas inspections, and to complete the new tenancy paperwork.
Therefore, we strongly advise you not to expect to practically move until at least 10 weeks after you have submitted your mutual exchange application.
Mutual Exchange documents to use:
We follow both Westward safe working practices and the government's ‘National Guidance on Moving Home Safely’.
There are different ways you can move and remain in social housing and a good starting point is to read our Moving Home leaflet.
Moving out of an adapted home that is no longer needed
If you live in a property that has been adapted for someone with a disability and you no longer need it, please contact your local authority housing department:
Cornwall Council East Devon District Council Exeter City Council Mid Devon District Council North Devon District Council Plymouth City Council South Hams District Council Teignbridge District Council Torbay Council Torridge District Council West Devon Borough Council