Transfers and Mutual Exchange 

Last updated - 15 March 2019

Transfers and mutual exchange

If your current home no longer suits your needs, you can register for a transfer or try an exchange with another resident. 

Transferring to another Notting Hill Genesis Property can be very difficult unless you have a very high priority and you are willing to be flexible.

Another alternative to moving is a mutual exchange.  This is where you swap your home with any other council tenant or housing association tenant anywhere in the country.  This means that you move into their home and they move into yours.

Both parties in the exchange will need to obtain permission from their respective landlords for the exchange to go ahead.

Qualifying for Mutual Exchange

Only assured, secure and some assured shorthold tenants have the right to exchange. Please check your tenancy agreement to see if you have the right to exchange.  If you do, you can swap with anyone living in a council or housing association accommodation subject to approval from both landlords.

For landlords to refuse they must have a very specific reason such as legal action.  For a list of refusal grounds please see FAQs at the bottom of this page.

Top tips if you are looking for a mutual exchange

Finding a Mutual Exchange partner

To arrange a mutual exchange, you will need to find someone who wants to swap with you. You can find potential exchange partners on the following websites: 

Exchange Locata
House Exchange

Tips for advertising your home

  • Use the right photos – the quality of photos on your property’s listing will make a huge impact on the number of viewings you receive. Before you take the photographs, you may want to tidy the rooms and ensure that no clutter can be seen. 

  • When describing your property make sure that the information you give is clear and accurate - the potential "exchangers" are relying on your information

  • Pay attention to the details - clean/tidy/smell clean/check that the windows are free from grime and think of the garden as another room in the house: sweep up and weed

  • Get ruthless with clutter - It’s important for potential swappers to be able to see how their items will look in a property and it’s easier to do that if rooms are free of too many items.

  • This advice even extends to furniture, unnecessary furniture in rooms could make it appear smaller than it is.  Remember you’re persuading someone that this is going to be their home

  • Try and be as flexible as possible about the area and type of property you are willing to consider as this will increase your chances of finding a suitable swap partner.

Take some simple precautions when visiting other properties or showing another tenant around you property

  • Arrange viewing in daylight hours

  • If possible host the viewing / view a property with a partner or a friend. If that is not possible let them know where you are

  • Do not give out unnecessary information such as the names and ages of your children

  • Trust your instincts

Deciding whether to exchange

  • You take on the tenancy of the person you are exchanging with. Some tenancies with other councils and housing associations are now for a fixed term whereas you may have a lifetime tenancy. You should check with the landlord on the type and length of tenancy you will be taking on and think very carefully about whether to proceed with the exchange if it is not a lifetime tenancy

  • That the condition of the property you are hoping to exchange to is satisfactory to you and your family

  • What repairs you are responsible for and if the outgoing occupier has carried out any improvements. See "Repairs to the property" section.

  • The amount of rent due including any service charge – make sure you can afford it.

  • What type of tenancy you will have. Not all tenancies are the same and some have fewer rights

  • That you are aware of the tenancy conditions

  • The reason why the other tenant wants to move. This is important to find out and it is worth visiting the property at different times to learn more about the local area.

  • You are interested in eventually buying the property, check you are able as many housing associations homes cannot be bought by tenants

  • You make sure you can afford the removal expenses. If you are claiming income support, you could qualify for a budgeting loan.

Repairs to the property

  • It is important that you check your new home thoroughly before you move in. Look at everything including the inside of fitted cupboards and behind furniture if possible.

  • Once you move in you are responsible for the repair and maintenance of any alterations, fixtures or fittings made by the previous occupier and not by us. This often includes showers, fences, laminate flooring and kitchen fittings. We will recharge you for any repairs that are required as a result of damage or neglect.

  • We will undertake repairs which are in line with our repairs policy. If you are unsure or need clarification on any repair, please contact our Customer Services team.

When you move

  • This must be on a weekday (Monday to Friday) as on the day you leave your property we must undertake a gas (if you have gas) and electrical installation safety check

  • If gas or electrical appliances (such as a gas fire or electric cooker) are being left in the property, they need to have been connected by an approved qualified engineer. If gas or electrical appliances (such as a gas fire or electric cooker) are being removed from the property, they need to have been disconnected by an approved qualified engineer. This needs to have taken place prior to the safety checks we carry out on the day you move.

  • For gas you must use only ‘GAS SAFE’ qualified engineers and for electricity only ‘NICEIC’ qualified engineers. The internet, local papers or yellow pages should provide you with details of approved engineers.

  • You need to organise your removals, take utility meter readings and contact the utility companies (gas, electricity and water)

  • It is your responsibility to check the property thoroughly before you agree to move and again before you swap keys and complete the paperwork. You should agree with your exchange partner exactly what they will be leaving in their property and what decorating, repairs or cleaning they will do before they leave. This work will not be carried out by the landlord.

  • If you are in doubt about whether to proceed with your mutual exchange application do not sign over your tenancy or move. Contact your housing services officer or our customer services for help and advice.

Apply for mutual exchange

How long will it take and how much time will I have to invest?

This will depend on how many bedrooms you have, how many you want and the location you want to move to.  Some people find a move quickly but for others it can take a while, it all depends on how you are trying to find a match.  

On a  website such as Homeswapper, you will find on average 130 matches for each property.  Most people only look at the first 20. If you are keen to find a move, it is worth going through ALL the matches that come up for you, not just the first page. If you don’t get many matches, or you get too many, you can try changing your choice of areas. This may increase your chances of finding the home you want.

If you use other website such as Gumtree or Loot or you advertise locally in shops, you may find less matches but they may be more appropriate as they are in the areas of your choice. 

Remember, advertising your home is  similar to selling a house so put as much information on your advert as possible.  For example, if it’s on a bus route, near a school, supermarket or doctor’s surgery it is worth pointing this out as other people may not know the area as well as you do. Use as much information as possible and make sure its correct. The exchanger is relaying on your information to get a clear idea of your home, and remember first impressions count!

Once you have found someone to exchange with, we have 42 days from the receipt of your application to respond and administer your request.   

What to do when I find someone to swap with?

  • The first stop in that process is to complete the mutual exchange form.  Alternatively, you can contact the customer service centre team on 033 3000 3000.
  • Make sure you do not owe us any money and that you are not in breach of your tenancy conditions. This means for example that your home and garden are in good condition
  • If you are exchanging with a tenant of a different landlord we will send the other landlord a report about your tenancy and request a report from them on their customer
  • We have to give you a decision within six weeks  (42 days) of the date of your application to exchange and we will keep you informed of progress throughout this period
  • We may approve the exchange on condition of you undertaking some repairs to your home or on condition that you clear any debts owing to us.
  • If we approve your exchange unconditionally then you should agree a removal date with the other occupier
  • Please keep us informed of the agreed date so we can arrange for the paperwork to be prepared and we must undertake a gas (if you have gas) and electric check on the day you move. If you do not make arrangements to allow for these gas and electric safety checks you will not be able to move
  • You must also not move before we have given you written permission. If you do we can take legal action against you which may result in you being homeless
  • We will arrange for you and the other customer to sign the paperwork, normally this is at the property but it could be at our offices. If you have a joint tenancy both tenants must be present to sign the paperwork. Please note we do not hold any keys to your property so you are responsible for handing over all keys to your property to the person you are exchanging with.
Can my exchange be refused?

For landlords to refuse they must have a very specific reason such as legal action.  Your exchange request can be refused for a number of reasons which include:

  • Legal action has been taken, for example, a Notice to Seek Possession has been served or a Court Order has been obtained
  • The property is too small or too large for your needs
  • The property has been adapted for someone with a disability and nobody in the new tenant's household has a disability
  • There is a restriction on the property, for example lettings can only be made to a particular vulnerable group. 
  • You work for your landlord and your home was provided in connection with your job
  • If any member of your household has behaved in an anti-social way, and action including possession proceedings, injunctions, anti-social behaviour orders or a demotion orders against them are in place or are been sought.
  • The landlord is a charity and the proposed new tenants moving into the property would conflict with the objects of the charity.
What if the property is not on in the condition I expected it to be once I move in?

It is your responsibility to check the property thoroughly before you agree with the exchange. You should agree with your exchange partner exactly what they will be leaving in their property and what decorating, repairs or cleaning they will do before they leave. This work will not be carried out by us.

If you are in doubt about whether to proceed with your mutual exchange application do not sign over your tenancy or move. Contact us for help and advice on 033 3000 3000

Can I purchase the property I am moving into?

This depends on the type of tenancy you have and when you initially obtained it. If this is important to you, please seek advice from us for the property you are moving into. Please do not assume you have the right to purchase a property from us.

I would like to move to a different Genesis property, is there criteria I need to meet?

Housing in London and the South East is in short supply. Our transfer rules make sure we are helping those most in need of social housing.

To be eligible to transfer an applicant must:

  • have a housing need
  • be able to demonstrate you can afford to pay the rent
  • have no outstanding debts to Genesis, including rent, court costs or charges
  • be an assured, secure or fixed term tenant
  • have maintained the property in good condition
  • have complied with the terms of their tenancy
  • to apply for the appropriate size property that they are eligible for using our bedroom standard

If you believe you are eligible, please download and complete our Transfer Form.

I don’t meet the criteria for a transfer, do I have any other options?

If you don’t meet the eligibility criteria for a transfer, you can apply directly to your local authority. However, it is likely that, as you don’t meet the eligibility criteria, you will be deemed to have adequate housing.

If you are still keen to move the other options available to you are: mutual exchange; shared ownership and private accommodation.

If you don’t meet the criteria but require a move due to domestic violence, harassment or sever financial hardship there is the option of a management transfer. If successful, you will be registered to bid on Locata.

In exceptional cases, where there is an imminent risk by remaining in your property, we may consider making a direct offer of housing.

I've sent in my transfer form, what happens next?

Once you’ve sent your form in, you will hear from our Allocations team within 10 working days. If your application was successful, you be given a banding from our Allocations team. The banding ranges from A to D, with A being the highest priority to transfer property and D the lowest. This is based on a number of factors, from medical issues to overcrowding. You can then go on to Locata to search for available properties if you’re in Brent, Ealing, Harrow, Hillingdon or Hounslow. If you’re not in one of those boroughs, you have to go to your local authority to enter the housing list. They will then work with you and let you know when a suitable property becomes available, however there is no timescale on this and it could take many years. This is why we encourage a mutual exchange above transfers.

What happens if my transfer application is unsuccessful?

Unless your circumstances are severe, it’s unlikely a transfer will be accepted. We always recommend trying for a mutual exchange instead of a transfer as you’re more likely to find a new home. 


I'm having trouble with Locata, who can help me?

If you’re having trouble with Locata, you should first check on the ‘Help’ section of the Locata website. If you’re still having trouble, you can get in contact with our customer service team via Live Chat or other contact channels who can get you in touch with our Allocations team for assistance.