Swap your home

Mutual Exchange

A mutual exchange is where two tenants agree to swap their properties. It can often be quicker than waiting for a housing transfer through the normal waiting list. Any of the following tenants may swap their home with each other:

  • Any Scottish Secure Tenant of a Scottish local authority of housing association
  • A tenant of any other local authority, registered social landlord or housing association in the United Kingdom
  • A Water Authority tenant in Scotland

If you find another tenant to swap with, you must get permission from both landlords before you move. If you move without permission you could lose your home.

Finding a property

You can find a property to exchange with online using House Exchange, following these steps:

  • Register with House Exchange and create an advert for your property. This is free for Midlothian Council tenants. The Introduction to House Exchange guide contains tips on creating a great advert.
  • After you have registered use the property search to find properties listed by other tenants. The website will help you to search, find matches and contact other council or housing association residents who want to swap their homes.
  • Arrange to view each other’s houses

You can get free internet access at your local library

You can also find a suitable exchange by word of mouth, through friends or family.

Applying for an exchange

If you wish to go ahead with the exchange, you must first apply for permission from both landlords. Each tenant involved in the exchange must apply to both their own landlord, and the landlord of the other person.

If you are a Midlothian Council tenant, or applying to exchange with a Midlothian Council tenant you can apply for permission in the following ways:

After you apply for an exchange you must not carry out any further alterations or improvements to the property, or remove any fixtures and fittings until Midlothian Council has completed an inspection of the properties involved.

Once we have received completed applications from all tenants involved in the exchange, we aim to complete the process within 28 days.

If you have an enquiry about a mutual exchange you can contact Housing Services by email at housing.enquiries@midlothian.gov.uk

Conditions for applying for a mutual exchange

For a mutual exchange application to be approved the following conditions must be met:

  • Both properties must be of a suitable size for the households involved in the swap as defined by Midlothian Council’s Housing Allocation Policy. The property must also meet any other housing needs for that household.
  • You must not have any outstanding rent arrears or other debt associated with your current or any former tenancy.
  • Your property, including any garden, must be of a standard acceptable to Midlothian Council.
  • Midlothian Council will make appropriate checks with its Community Safety partners in relation to any current or previous instances of antisocial behaviour carried out by anyone involved in the exchange.
  • If you intend to exchange with a tenant of another local authority or housing association, you will also need to follow their policies and procedures for mutual exchanges.
  • If the exchange has been approved, both households must move into the other property, and must occupy the tenancy for no less than six months from the date of the exchange, unless both households seek permission to return to their original properties. Both landlords must also agree to this.