For up to date service information or to report an emergency housing repair, please click on our service updates page here

Want to move house but not have to wait on the housing list?

What is a mutual exchange?

A Mutual Exchange is when two or more tenants agree to swap housing accommodation. Their landlords must agree to the exchange.  This exchange can be between Stirling Council tenants or Stirling Council tenant and a Housing Association tenant or another local authority. A mutual exchange can be a quick way to get another size or type of property or a move to another area without having to wait on the Council’s housing list.

Who can apply?

Anyone who has a Scottish Secure Tenancy can apply. This includes tenants of:

  • a local authority (does not need to be Stirling Council)
  • a registered social landlord, e.g., housing association
  • any local authority in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland
Before swapping homes you must get written permission from both landlords,  please call 01786 237670 to requests the relevant forms or information. Mutual Exchange Guide available for download, alternatively you can download Mutual Exchange Forms and also view the Mutual Exchange Acceptance Form.

How do I apply

Once you have found someone to exchange with please contact 01786 404040 to arrange an appointment if you require help to complete a mutual exchange form.

If you want to exchange with someone who is not a tenant of Stirling Council you will also have to apply to his or her landlord. There is no restriction on the length of tenancy you have before you can apply.

What happens next

Before agreeing to exchange we will carry out the following checks:

  • that all parties have secure tenancies
  • that the houses are suitable for the needs of you and your family and will not cause overcrowding or under occupancy
  • the tenancies have been maintained to a satisfactory standard, which includes the houses being in a good state of decoration and repair, there are no outstanding debts and there is no legal action against you or any member of the household
  • if any of the properties are specially designed or adapted for persons with special needs
  • that any other landlord involved agrees to the exchange

There may be other circumstances when we will not allow an exchange to take place, but we will give you a written decision explaining why within 28 days of receiving your application.

How do I find someone to swap homes with?

You can apply to swap with the tenant of any social landlord in the UK. The main way that we recommend finding someone to swap with is to go to the House Exchange website at www.houseexchange.org.uk and create an account. All Stirling Council tenants can sign up to the website for free. We recommend that you upload pictures of your home to attract people to swap with, and people with pictures uploaded are much more likely to find a swap.

Once you have an account and have pictures uploaded you can search for other people looking to swap homes and contact them to see if they are interested. Once you’ve found someone to swap with, you should contact us (and the other person’s landlord if it is not Stirling Council) to make an application to swap.

There are also Facebook groups set up where people look for house swaps, though these are not run or monitored by Stirling Council.

What are the conditions for getting permission for a mutual exchange?

We cannot unreasonably withhold permission for a mutual exchange. However, we may refuse an application if: -
  • A court has granted a decree for repossession of your property or that of the person you want to swap with;
  • We are taking legal action to repossess your property or that of the person you want to swap with;
  • One of the households would end up being “overcrowded” (as defined in our allocations policy) or grossly under-occupying the property as a result of the swap; or
  • The exchange would mean that a property adapted for the needs of the elderly or those with a disability would have nobody living in it who needs the adaptation.
This list is not exhaustive there may be other reasons why we would withhold permission.

They are: -

  • We will inspect your property to make sure it is in good condition and carry out an electrical safety check.
  • We will check your rent account. If you have any rent arrears the swap cannot go ahead unless you have been keeping to an arrangement for 13 weeks and are continuing to make payments.

If the person you wish to exchange with is a tenant of another landlord, we will ask their landlord for a tenancy reference.

What will happen if the mutual exchange is refused? 

We will write to you and explain the reasons for refusing permission unless this would involve a breach of confidentiality, for example, we cannot tell you if a court order has been granted to repossess the other person’s property.

If either party does not agree with our decision you can appeal against this decision in writing to the relevant manager. The manager will then advise you of their decision within 10 working days.

  • If you are not satisfied with their decision you can appeal to the Service Manager. You will receive a response within 15 working days.
  • If you remain dissatisfied you can use the Council’s Complaints Procedure.
  • If you are still not satisfied with our decision you will have a further 21 days to lodge an appeal to the Sheriff Court.
When can I move
If the exchange is approved, an appointment will be arranged for all parties to sign the relevant documents.  Your new tenancy will begin on the date which is agreed. You can move any time thereafter.

 

Last updated: Friday, June 25, 2021 2:03 PM