Mutual Exchange

You can swap your Council or Housing Association home with another tenant if you follow certain rules and get permission from your landlord, this process is called a 'Mutual Exchange' or a 'house swap'. With an exchange, you must:

  1. Find someone to swap homes with;
  2. Get written permission from your landlords;
  3. Complete the legal paperwork.

Please note that swapping your home without permission or without the necessary document will put all parties at risk of eviction. 

Starting the Process?

Once you have identified a suitable partner or partners for an exchange you must fill in a Mutual Exchange request form and return to the Housing Department either via email (, or at the St Mary's Library, Porthcressa, St Mary's, Isles of Scilly, TR21 0HW. All parties involved must be either council tenants with a secure or flexible tenancy or a Housing Association tenants with an assured or secure tenancy in order to apply for a Mutual Exchange. Once the Housing Department has received your form they have 42 days to process the form and get back in touch. During the 42 day period they will either:

  1. Give the Council's written consent to the exchange request;
  2. Give the Council's conditional consent to your exchange request; or
  3. Write advising that your request is refused. 

If the Council agrees to your request then all parties involved will need to agree a date for your move. Before then you will need to sign a Deed of Assignment (you will not be able to move until this document is signed). 

Terms and Conditions of Exchanging Tenancies

  • Tenancies are usually exchanged by a Deed of Assignment;
  • We will deal with your request to exchange within 42 days of receiving your written request;
  • We will only refuse consent for you to exchange under one of the grounds contained in Schedule 3 of the Housing Act 1985;
  • Providing the following conditions are met it is unlikely that we would refuse your request to exchange;
  • You have consent in writing from both us and any other landlord(s) involved, before you move;
  • You do not owe any housing-related debt to us;
  • Your tenancy has been conducted in a satisfactory manner - there is not a Notice of Seeking Possession Order (NSP) or Suspended Possession Order (SPO) currently in force;
  • The exchange will not result in overcrowding or under-occupation;
  • If there has been a minor breach of tenancy, which you can easily correct, for example small arrears or minor damage to the property, we may give you conditional consent to exchange

Things to Think About

There are some things that you should be aware of and need to consider before exchanging your home with another tenant. These include:

  • The terms and conditions of tenancy that you would get, as they could be different to what you have now;
  • Check what your tenancy rights will be in your new home. You may have different or fewer rights with your new tenancy;
  • The condition of the other property;
  • How much the rent is and how it compares to what you pay now.

You should think carefully before you agree to assign your tenancy with another person. If you subsequently withdraw from the exchange, you may be liable for any loss and/or damages that the other person suffer. You may want to get independent advice about exchanging your tenancy from a lawyer, the CAB, or other adviser.