Mutual Exchanges

What is a Mutual Exchange?

A mutual exchange is when two or more council or housing association tenants in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland have a legal right to exchange their tenancies under section 92 of the Housing Act 1985.

  • Each tenant must move into their exchange partner’s property
  • A tenant cannot exchange into an empty property
  • You must not exchange your property without our permission

You can exchange with:

  • Another Sheffield City Council tenant;
  • A tenant of a housing association;
  • A tenant of another Council.

For more information about Mutual Exchanges you should contact us on 0114 293 0000 or 0114 205 3333. Alternatively you can download the latest version of our information leaflet below:

Who Can Apply for a Mutual Exchange?

The 1985 Housing Act (part 4, section 92) gives tenants this right under certain circumstances. An exchange will normally be allowed, and can only be refused on the following grounds:

  • The tenancy is subject to a court order for possession.
  • The tenancy is subject to a notice seeking possession or possession proceedings are pending.
  • The tenant or a household member is subject to any court order or any proceedings are pending in respect of antisocial behaviour.
  • The property is substantially larger than you and your family need.
  • The property is too small for you and your family and would result in Overcrowding/Over Occupancy, or would break the normal letting criteria in relation to the size of the property and the number of occupants.
  • The property has been let as a service tenancy.
  • The property has been adapted for a person with a physical disability and is very different from other properties and if the exchange were to go ahead, a disabled person would no longer live in the property.
  • The property is one of a group let to people with special needs near to Social services or a special facility and if the exchange was to go ahead someone needing those services or facilities would no longer be living in the property.
  • The property is the subject of a management agreement of a Housing Association and at least half the tenants of the properties within the agreement are members and the proposed tenant is not willing to become a member.

The landlords of everyone involved in the exchange must agree to it. Also, we strongly recommend that you view any new home to make sure you are happy with it before you apply to exchange.

Eligibility Checks

Before we can agree to any exchange, we must check that:

  • You qualify for the size and type of property you wish to move to.
  • Your rent account is clear and there is not a possession order on your home for either rent arrears or antisocial behaviour.
  • Your home is in a satisfactory condition.

If you exchange without permission from all landlords involved, you could be asked to move back and could be subject to posession proceedings.

How Do I Find an Exchange?

You can advertise your property details on the HomeSwapper website at:

HomeSwapper is an independent nationwide service for social housing tenants who want to exchange their property.

If you are an existing Sheffield City Council tenant you will be able to register free of charge. For other tenants you will need to check with your landlord whether or not the service will be free to you. If your landlord is not a partner there will be a small charge for membership.

If you have registered your property on HomeSwapper, it will check for potential new exchanges for you. You will be matched with tenants who are looking for the type of property you have and will send you updates by text or email should any new homes which meet your criteria become available.

You can then choose from this list of matches or you can browse available homes separately.

You could also advertise in other places such as local shops and newspapers. Don't forget to tell your friends and family that you want to move, they might know someone who wants to exchange with you. You might even already have someone who you would like to exchange homes with.

How Do I Apply for a Mutual Exchange?

Once you have found a suitable person to exchange with, you will each need to contact your individual landlords to get their approval. You normally do this by completing a Mutual Exchange Application Form.

It will usually take us between 4 and 6 six weeks to process your application and carry out the necessary checks. If you want to exchange with someone who is not a Sheffield City Council tenant, this may take a little longer. We will process your exchange as quickly as possible and confirm if your permission to exchange has been granted or not.

You can download and print the mutual exchange application form below.

If you need any further advice regarding the mutual exchange process, please contact us.

What Type/Size of Property Can I Exchange To?

The eligibility criteria for mutual exchanges are different from regular lettings. The table below details the type of property you may be able to exchange to:

Property Size

Minimum Household Size


Single Person

One Bedrooms

Single Person

Two Bedrooms

Single Person

Three Bedrooms (Flat/Maisonette)

Single person with access to a child, couple or two adults sharing

Three Bedrooms (House)

Family with one child, couple or two adults sharing

Four Bedrooms (Flat/Maisonette)

Family with two children or a household of four people

Four Bedrooms (House)

Family with three children or household of five people

Five Bedrooms

Family with five children or household of seven people

Sheffield City Council tenants can exchange ‘like for like’ - the same size of property or the same number of people living there.

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