Exchanging your home

You can exchange your Merlin home with another of our tenants, a tenant of another housing association or a tenant of a local authority.

Finding someone to exchange with

We're registered with Homeswapper, a national register which provides a listing of all the homes available for exchange across the whole country.. You can log onto the Homeswapper website to advertise your home and look for people to exchange with.

What happens when you find someone to exchange with?

You must visit the property that you want to move into before you exchange  homes. It's important you do this as you will take on responsibility for the property in the condition it's in when you see it.

If you're happy with the property and want to go ahead with the exchange then both you and the person you're exchanging with need to fill out our mutual exchange application form, which you can download by clicking the link below. If you are exchanging  with the tenant of another housing association or council, you may also have to fill out a similar form for them as well.

Download the Mutual Exchange Application Form [docx] 44 KB

If you have any questions or queries about the form, or would like us to send you a form in the post, please contact us on 0300 123 2222.
It is illegal for you to give any money or to receive money from anyone else involved in the exchange. If you do this, you could lose your home.

What happens next?

We must agree or refuse permission for your mutual exchange within 42 days of receiving your request to exchange. There are a number of things that we will do during this time – some of them are:

  • Make sure that you do not owe us any rent or money for anything else
  • Arrange an inspection of your property
  • Inspect the other property (if it belongs to another landlord then they will do the inspection for us)
  • Request a landlord’s reference for incoming tenants
  • Arrange gas and electric safety tests.

What reasons might we refuse a Mutual Exchange?

We will usually give you permission to mutually exchange unless:

  • You owe us money
  • We have started legal action against you
  • The homes would be significantly too big or too small for your family's needs or the needs of the family you are exchanging with
  • You have not looked after your home and/or garden and it is in poor condition
  • You have numerous outstanding repairs
  • You have made alterations to the property and/or garden to a poor standard or without our permission
  • The homes involved are designed to meet a specific need and you do not meet these requirements, for example you want to exchange  with someone living in sheltered housing for older people and you are younger than the age limit
  • You have a starter tenancy.

What happens to your tenancy?

You should check what type of tenancy the other person has to see if it is the same or different to yours. If it is the same then your rights may stay the same. If they have a different type of tenancy, the exchange may not be approved or your rights may change.
Tenants with an Enhanced Assured or Assured tenancy have to give up their current tenancy and take over the tenancy of the person they are exchanging with. This means that you would take on the other tenant's rights and responsibilities.

Fixed term tenants on a social rent exchanging with Assured tenants must give up their tenancies and will have a new one issued. This is called surrender and re-grant. We'll offer Fixed Term tenants a new five year Fixed Term tenancy and Assured tenants a new Assured tenancy.

Fixed Term tenants exchanging with other Fixed Term tenants will surrender their tenancies and will have new five year Fixed Term tenancies issued.

Note - if you have an Enhanced Assured tenancy and you move to a property owned by another landlord, you will lose your protected rights, such as the Right to Buy.

If you have any questions about what will happen to your tenancy when you exchange homes please contact us on 0300 123 2222.

When can you move?

We will write to you to give you permission for the exchange to go ahead. After that we will agree the date for your move.
We will arrange a meeting for all parties to sign a Deed of Assignment or Surrender and Re-grant to show that you agree to the exchange. Once you have done this, you can move in. You should not move until all of the paperwork is completed.

Moving in frequently asked questions

Do you have to pay for removal costs?

Yes, you'll have to pay all the costs of moving house, such as buying boxes and hiring a removal van.

What if you find problems with the other property after you move?

It's very important that you visit the property before you exchange homes to make sure you're happy with the condition it's in.

When you exchange you accept the property in the condition you see it in. By taking on the new property you also take on the responsibility for any repairs or damage. You're responsible for putting it right if the previous tenants haven't. This includes changes, improvements, or alterations they made to the home. For example, if the tenants replaced a bath with a shower, we won’t replace it with a bath.

We'll only carry out repairs that are our responsibility as your landlord. We'll send you a copy of the inspection report, with a letter setting out any items and repair works that are not our responsibility.

You are responsible for:

  • carrying out small repairs
  • repairing damage to the property that was done by the previous people living there
  • decorating the property

Can you leave things like a washing machine, build-in cooker, shed or flooring?

Yes, if you have agreed this with the incoming tenant. Then they are agreeing to take responsibility for them. We will not be involved by may ask the people you're exchanging with to remove them if they ever leave the property.