What is mutual exchange?
Mutual exchange enables tenants to swap their home with another Aragon Housing Association tenant or a tenant of any other housing association or council. This can be a great way of finding a more suitable home, either locally or away from the area.
How do I find a mutual exchange swap?
One way of finding another tenant to swap with could be via the Bedfordshire House Exchange. This is a free service and holds details of tenants from all over the country looking to swap their property.
I have have found another tenant to swap properties with.
Please view our page on Mutual Exchange, Next Steps.
If you are thinking of a Mutual Exchange, below are some questions to consider.
Will the exchange affect the security of your Tenancy Agreement?
If you have an Assured Non Shorthold Tenancy Agreement or a Secure Tenancy Agreement, you have the right to occupy your home for as long as you wish provided that you pay the rent and comply with the terms of your Tenancy Agreement.
You may lose your right to occupy your home for as long as you wish if you decide to go ahead with an exchange if:
- The tenant you want to exchange your home has a Fixed Term Tenancy Agreement (a flexible Secure Tenancy Agreement or an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement) which is let to them at an affordable or intermediate rent, or
- If your own Tenancy Agreement started after 1 April 2012.
This is because the Tenancy you will exchange to will probably be a Fixed Term Tenancy.
At the end of the Fixed Term your landlord may decide that you are not entitled to a new Fixed Term Tenancy Agreement, for example because you are under occupying the property or your financial situation has changed. If your landlord terminates your occupation because you are not entitled to a new Fixed Term Tenancy Agreement, then you may need to find alternative accommodation in the private sector or move to another property more appropriate to your needs.
Will you be paying a social, affordable or intermediate rent when you exchange?
If you are exchanging with a flexible Fixed Term or Assured Shorthold tenant whose rent is calculated on a different basis to your own, you may find that the rent that you will be paying for the new property is higher. You will want to check this position especially carefully if you are currently paying your rent at a social rent level and the Fixed Term Tenancy you intend to move to is an intermediate or affordable rented property.
What succession rights will be available to you?
Aragon Housing Association’s Assured Non Shorthold Tenancy Agreements allow one succession to your husband, wife or civil partner (or those living with you as husband, wife or civil partner) provided that they were in occupation of your home as their only or principal home at the date of your death. Where one joint tenant dies, this will count as a succession.
Some of our Assured Non Shorthold Tenancy Agreements also allow for close family members to succeed to your tenancy provided that there has not already been a succession and they have been in occupation of your home as their only or principal home for at least 12 months prior to your death. Although tenancies offered by all local authority and housing association landlords will continue to provide for one succession to your spouse or civil partner, some modern Tenancy Agreements will not now provide for succession by close family members including your children.
If the right of a family member to succeed is important to you, you should ask about the Tenancy Agreement you will get should you proceed with the exchange and the succession rights it contains.
Will the right to buy or right to acquire be available to you if you exchange?
Some Aragon tenants have the preserved right to buy i.e. if you were a tenant of Mid Bedfordshire District Council when your home transferred to Aragon and your tenancy has continued since the stock transfer.
Some Aragon tenants may be able to purchase their home under a scheme called Right to Acquire.
Before you decide whether or not to move by mutual exchange you should check whether you have rights and if they will be affected by the move.
Do you believe that you will want to move home again?
If you are currently in occupation under an Assured Non Shorthold Tenancy which commenced before 1 April 2012 and you wish to exchange your home with a Fixed Term Flexible or an Assured Shorthold tenant who is in occupation under a social rent (affordable and intermediate rents are different please see above) then the landlord of your new property will ensure that your security of tenure is protected by granting you a new tenancy which will either be a fully secure or an Assured Non Shorthold Tenancy depending upon whether your landlord is a local authority or a housing association. Your right to have a new tenancy given to you with a high security of tenure is based upon the fact that the Tenancy Agreement you are exchanging from is a tenancy which commenced prior to 1 April 2012 and which is fully secure or an Assured Non Shorthold Agreement.
Your new agreement will, of course, be dated after the 1 April 2012. If you wish to exchange again in the future, you will not enjoy the same protection and may be given a Fixed Term Tenancy if you chose to exchange with a tenant in occupation under a Fixed Term Secure or an Assured Shorthold Agreement. As mentioned above, if this happens upon the end of the fixed term, your landlord may decide that you are not entitled to a new Fixed Term Tenancy Agreement if your circumstances have changed (for example you are under occupying or your financial circumstances are now different).
If you think that you will wish to exchange again in the future, you will need to consider how important the security of your tenancy and your ability to live in your home for as long as you like.
Aragon tenants can contact our Allocations Team if you have any queries about this. For example the type of tenancy you currently have, when your tenancy started and what type of rent you pay.
You may also wish to seek independent advice before deciding whether to move by mutual exchange. For example from a Citizens Advice Bureau or housing law centre.