Search

Please type your search term below

    A mutual exchange is a home swap between two social housing tenants.

    It can happen for many reasons, such as needing more or less space, moving for work or to be closer to family. It’s a great option for tenants who can’t access or don’t want to wait for the normal allocation process. It gives you more control and means you’re able to choose a home that suits your needs better in a place you want to live.

    If you are thinking of exchanging, you first need to find an exchange partner. The best place to find an exchange is using HomeSwapper - it's free for West Kent tenants. They have some great tips for if you're trying to find an exchange. Just visit their website:Learn more about Home Swapper button

    If you wish to go ahead with a mutual exchange, you will need to complete the application form on HomeSwapper. The household (or households) that you want to exchange with will also need to fill this out before we can process your application.

    You'll then be set up with a SwapTracker account - this is an online portal where you can track the progress of your exchange 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Make sure you always check the portal before contacting us for an update, it's much quicker and easier for you.

    If you want to exchange your home but don't have a HomeSwapper account, please contact us by emailing allocations@wkha.org.uk

    Frequently asked questions

    • What is HomeSwapper/SwapTracker?

      HomeSwapper is the UK’s biggest and best mutual exchange service for social housing tenants. 

      It'll help you search for possible swaps, get in touch with other tenants and arrange viewings until you find the perfect new home. Once you've found an exchange, you'll complete your application on there too. 

      HomeSwapper has over 200,000 homes listed with 1000s more added each week. It’s an easy-to-use service, with a free app to download and lots of help and support.

      The best bit? It's free for West Kent tenants to use - just make sure you set up your account using the main tenant's name so we can validate you. 

       

      SwapTracker is an online portal where you can check the progress of your exchange 24/7 once you have found someone to swap with.

      You can submit your supporting documents, see if we're waiting for anything or have tried to contact you, and share information with your exchange partner. You should always check your SwapTracker portal before contacting us for an update - it's much quicker and easier. 

      You'll be set up with a SwapTracker account when you submit your application on HomeSwapper, and it's completely free to use.

    • Do I need permission to exchange my property?

      Yes. When you've found an exchange partner on HomeSwapper, you must be sure you can afford the costs of living in the other home, and be prepared to take it on in its current condition.

      If you're satisfied you can, just fill in the SwapTracker application form on the HomeSwapper website and we'll take it from there. 

       

    • What happens after I've submitted my application?

      Once you've created a SwapTracker account, you'll be able to use the online portal where you can submit supporting documents, check your exchange's progress and look for any updates. It's completely free and can be accessed 24/7.

      We’ll let you know the outcome within 42 days of receiving your application (provided we have received all the information we need) and you shouldn’t make any arrangements to move until all landlords involved have confirmed their approval.

       

    • Could my application be refused?

      Yes. For example, if the property you want to move to is too small or too large for you, if the property has adaptations you don’t need or if any legal action has been started against your current tenancy.

      For a full list of grounds for refusal please read our mutual exchange policy.

    • What happens when my application is accepted?

      After we've agreed a date for your move we'll arrange for you to come into the office to sign the paperwork. All applicants must pay the first week’s rent at this point, even if you will be receiving housing benefit.

      We’ll refund any credit on your existing account after that tenancy comes to an end and we’ll book appointments with our planning team to carry out gas and electrical safety checks. They will confirm the dates and times with you and you should arrange to have the meters read on the day you move.

    • Does West Kent help with the cost of moving?

      In most cases we can’t offer any financial support so you must make sure you consider these costs before you agree to exchange. You are also responsible for any decoration changes you want to make, so if you already know the property needs to be redecorated you must make sure you can afford to pay for it before you agree to exchange.

      Downsizing through mutual exchange

      Small is Beautiful: Over 50s who downsize through the mutual exchange process may be eligible for our Small is Beautiful scheme, which provides a menu of options you can choose to unlock some of the barriers to moving, depending on individual circumstances.  

      Discretionary payments: Other tenants who are under-occupying one of our homes and wish to move somewhere smaller by doing a mutual exchange may be eligible for a grant of £500 to help with moving expenses and/or to clear outstanding rent arrears so you can move. This is a one-off payment to you, or if you are in arrears to your rent account. However, the fund is limited, and we cannot help every case. 

      If you are interested in applying for a discretionary payment please contact us or call Customer Services on 01732 749400.

    • Can I take my pet with me?

      If you move to another West Kent home you can take your pets - as long as the property you are moving to meets our pets policy criteria. Check our pets policy to see if you can take your pets.

    • What happens if I've made improvements to my home?

      You should have asked your landlord for permission for any tenant improvements made to your home.

      During the exchange process, you'll need to provide your partner the permission letter from your landlord. They will need to know what they are accepting responsibility for maintaining and repairing if they move to your home.

      If you don't have this, you will need to apply for retrospective permission by using this form. Your exchange cannot progress without a copy of this letter being given to your exchange partner. 

      If you are exchanging with someone who has made improvements, always check what improvements or changes have been made. You will become responsible for repairs and maintenance of any improvements and if you to move again later on, you may have to reinstate the property with standard replacements.

    • Will I keep my right to buy ?

      Not necessarily. Former Sevenoaks District Council tenants who have the right to buy should find out whether they will keep it after an exchange. This depends on the type of tenancy your exchange partner has.

      Your right to buy remains with your tenancy, so the tenant moving into your home will benefit from it. 

      You will only ever have the right to buy the property you are moving to if your exchange partner’s tenancy was formerly with Sevenoaks District Council (and was an assured or protected tenancy.)

    • Is there anything else I should know?

      Your new home may have extra costs your current home doesn't have. Consider these particular issues:

      • Communal areas – for safety reasons all communal areas have to be kept clear of obstruction. One doormat outside the front door is allowed. We have a zero tolerance approach to items being left in the hallway and will sticker and remove any we find as they are a fire hazard. So think about storage space if you are moving to a flat.
      • Trees in the garden - all tenants are responsible for the maintenance of their garden, including any trees so you must make sure you can afford the cost of maintaining them. You can pay to join our tree care maintenance scheme and then we will maintain the tree for you. This is a weekly payment by direct debit added to your weekly rent. 
      • Tenant alterations - you will become responsible for any alterations or improvements the current or previous tenants have made, inside or outside the property. For example, if a previous tenant has fitted a kitchen or driveway you'll be responsible for its future maintenance.

    Read our Mutual Exchange Policy for more information.