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Transferring to a different area or exchanging your home

Updated: 28 Feb 2017
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Most social housing tenants are eligible to transfer or exchange their homes
Connswater Housing Association Harland Walk
Most Housing Executive and housing association tenants are allowed to transfer from or exchange their property.

Transfers

If you are already a tenant of the Housing Executive or a housing association and you want to move, you can apply for a transfer. You will need to complete a housing/transfer application form.
Your landlord will then assess your housing needs and place you on the list for a transfer to alternative accommodation owned by any of the participating landlords within your areas of choice.
Your request for a transfer will not normally be considered where:
  • your existing tenancy is less than two years old
  • you have arrears of four weeks or more
  • the existing property is not in a good state of repair or you owe recoverable charges for repairs
  • you are guilty of any other serious breach of the tenancy conditions.

Exchanges

You may want to exchange homes with someone who has another tenancy.  If so, you should write to your landlord and ask for permission to do the exchange. Your landlord will then consider the request. Requests will normally be approved unless the landlord has good reasons not to do so - for example, a request that would lead to a home being overcrowded would not normally be approved.
Mutual exchange is especially useful for tenants who:
  • Need a smaller or larger home
  • Are interested in moving to a new area
  • Want to find a more suitable home
  • Want to avoid a lengthy wait for a transfer.
You must get permission to exchange your tenancy. We will not unreasonably refuse permission; however, there are some reasons why we may not be able to consent to an exchange:
  • You owe us rent
  • The new property is too small or too large for your household ;
  • Your current property has been adapted or is part of a sheltered scheme and the new tenant has no need for this type of accommodation;
  • Your home is subject to a court order for possession;
  • You have carried out improvements/alterations without consent.

How to do it

Contact your landlord and register for a mutual exchange. Your local housing officer will visit you and explain the process.
You can ask your landlord to carry out an electronic search for potential properties to ‘swap’ with at any time. Your landlord may also contact you with details of potential house swaps.
You can register to swap online at www.homeswapper.co.uk - this is free for any Housing Executive tenant and most housing association tenants in Northern Ireland. There are almost 200 homes currently available for exchange through Homeswapper and that number continues to grow.
You can also find potential home swaps by word of mouth, advertising in newspapers, advertising online or postcards in shop windows.
If you find a suitable swap, you both need to contact your landlord(s) and complete the application forms. Both homes will be inspected by local housing officers before approval is granted. The landlord(s)’ decision is sent out to both tenants in writing within 42 days.
Once approval is granted both tenants sign a form to complete the tenancy assignment.

Important

When exchanging your tenancy by way of assignment you are accepting the property you are exchanging to in the condition it is in. Your landlord will not carry out any change of tenancy repairs except for those that are required to comply with health and safety legislation. You may also need to check your Right to Buy your new home, before you make your decision.

Precautions

Whether viewing someone else’s home or showing your own, we recommend that you take some basic precautions to make sure you are safe. Here are some pointers:
  • Try to arrange the viewing time in daylight
  • Don’t go and view or show your own home alone – have someone else with you
  • Tell someone when and where you’re going
  • Have a mobile phone with you and keep it switched on.