Transfers and Exchanges
A mutual exchange is where you can swap your property and your tenancy with another council tenant or tenant of a housing association. To do this you must be a secure tenant. If you are an introductory tenant, you do not have the right to exchange, although in special circumstances you may be allowed to swap your home. Mutual exchanges are often found to be a quicker method of moving house than a transfer. When you carry out a mutual exchange you will exchange or "assign" your tenancy rights with those of the tenant you exchange with. In order to exchange you will be asked to complete a Deed of Assignment and you may therefore want to seek legal advice.
If you wish to exchange your property you need to find someone to exchange with. A list of properties available is held at the Council Offices in Littlehampton and at Bognor Regis Town Hall. You need to get permission from your Housing Officer, and make sure that you have no breach of your contract, such as rent arrears. HomeSwapper is a website designed to help social housing tenants find a mutual exchange partner. As well as advertising your property, the site will search for all possible matches everyday and send you alerts by text and email when a match is found. You may also be interested in two other online services Council Exchange and Council Exchange Site.
When you have found someone to exchange with, please complete the on line form Application for Mutual Exchange. The person you are exchanging with must also request permission from their landlord. You cannot exchange until both parties have received formal permission from their landlords.
We will inform you within 42 days from the date both applications were received, whether you can exchange properties. If your application to exchange is refused, you will be given a reason why. Arrangements to exchange your home must not be made until you have obtained written approval from us.
Reasons why we may refuse an exchange
The property you or your exchange partner are moving to is either too large or too small.
You have been served with a Notice Seeking Possession or a Possession Order has been made against you.
Your home is one which is occupied as part of your job (tied accommodation).
The property you wish to exchange with has been specially adapted for people with disabilities and you do not have a need for such adaptations.
The property you wish to exchange with is in a sheltered scheme, unless you qualify for sheltered accommodation.
You have outstanding rent arrears, unless paid off in full, by the time of the mutual exchange.
It has been found that money is being offered or has been offered or exchanged in relation to the mutual exchange.
You are an introductory tenant.
Conditions and repairs
Your property will be inspected as part of the exchange process. This inspection will assess whether there are any alterations or conditions that must be put right before the exchange is allowed to go ahead. If the property is in a neglected or damaged condition, we may take action against you. This is because you will have breached your tenancy conditions. The exchange will not be allowed to proceed until outstanding issues are resolved. If there are minor issues such as poor decorations this may be acceptable to the incoming tenant, and they should accept it as seen. An electric and gas test will be done on the day of exchange and you must allow access for this. This is for your own health and safety and that of your household. You will be asked to sign an undertaking to allow access for these tests to be completed.
It is important that you check the property before you move, as damage by the other tenant cannot be put right after you move in. It will become your responsibility. Any agreement with the other tenant about what is left or taken is an agreement between you and the other tenant. You may want to get legal advice before you move if you have any concerns about this.
When you have received written permission from Housing Services to carry out your mutual exchange, a date will be set for you to sign any paperwork. You must meet any costs incurred in moving. It is illegal to offer or accept any money to carry out a mutual exchange.
Transfers for Council Tenants
Transfers within Arun
To qualify you will need to apply to go on the Housing Register. Your application for a transfer will be considered under the Council's Allocation Scheme. The scheme is available on our documents page and gives further information about how this works. If your present accommodation is suitable for your family's needs, you may not qualify to join the housing register.
Moving to a smaller home
If you are living in a housing association or council property that is too big for your needs, you can apply to transfer to something smaller and more suitable, which may be easier to afford and manage. Priority for a transfer is given to those tenants who want to move to smaller properties as this frees up family homes for people in need of them. The Council offers an Under occupation incentive scheme updated March 2016.docx [docx] 19KB to council tenants who downsize to the right size property.
Moving out of the Area
If you are flexible about where you live then you might consider moving to an area of the country where demand for housing is not so high and therefore, prices and rents will probably be lower. Some Councils and Housing Associations in the North of England often have homes more readily available to anyone that contacts them. You need to contact the relevant council to find out what is available, they often advertise on their websites. You can also check the Available Homes website. You may need to apply to go onto the Housing Register of the council covering that part of the country. You will need to contact the relevant council either by telephoning, writing, or going to their website. If you choose a low demand area for housing you may be offered a tenancy quickly and the rent may be cheaper.
Arun District Council work in partnership with various Housing Associations to ensure that waiting time is kept to a minimum. Some Housing Associations operate their own waiting lists.