What is HomeSwapper?
HomeSwapper is the UK’s biggest and best direct home swap service, it’s a quick and easy way to find the right property for you. It’s a community of 500,000 social housing tenants and a leading Mutual Exchange service.
It’s free to create an account on HomeSwapper if you’re a KHT tenant. We cover all your membership fees so join now.
Once you’re set up with an account on the HomeSwapper site, you’re ready to get started with a mutual exchange. Find out more about the HomeSwapper process below.
Advice for swapping
- No matches? This may be because you’ve made your search area too small. When searching for homes, widen your search area a little. A home you could love may be just a little further away from areas you normally search in.
- If you’re getting matches for somewhere you don’t want to live, it’s usually because you’ve added a location and then a large search radius around it. The system will show you everything within the search radius but if you want to be more specific, try adding more locations with a smaller radius.
- Remember to check your rent amount – you may search with the rent amount you want to pay but there may be additional costs to consider, such as service charges.
Get back to people
- Respond to all messages. One of the biggest complaints is of people who don’t reply. If you don’t reply to all your messages over 3 months, you’ll no longer be able to arrange or accept swaps until that has been done.
- If you’re not interested in proposals or have found other matches that better suit you, it’s much better to explain this, so that people aren’t wasting time waiting for you.
- It’s worth remembering when you’re trying to swap homes with another person. Remember, you’re talking to someone who may be desperate to move for many reasons. If you’re not interested in their home, be polite and nice. Equally, if you receive unpleasant messages, there’s a button allowing you to block another user within the Messages section of your HomeSwapper account.
Find a match
When you set up an account, you can change your search by using the tabs at the top of the ‘Find a match’ page.
- This is the most used tab and shows homes you want AND swappers that want a home like yours.
- This shows homes which you might be able to move into via a chain of swaps. If you see a home you like in this search, the system can help you build a chain of swaps to make this work.
- A one-way search that matches what you’re looking for only, NOT what other swappers are looking for. This will show you a lot more homes than you would see on the other tabs. Be aware though, these swappers will not necessarily be looking for your type of property or area.
Looking for a home like yours
- Another one-way search, but the opposite way around. This brings all the people who are searching for your type of home into one place. You might find a great home here that wouldn’t have shown up in your results otherwise!
Research the area
- For some this is almost as important as the home itself. Do you need good local schools? Or is your priority being close to public transport? Make sure you’ve researched it all before making the move.
- You need to find out what belongs to the tenant and what belongs to the landlord. Even if they say they’re leaving something of theirs behind, there’s no guarantee as this isn’t included in the paperwork. If in doubt, assume anything that isn’t the landlord’s property will be going.
- Many swappers are searching for a ‘dream home’. Whilst this can happen, the realistic chances of finding perfection will reduce your options. It’s worth jotting down what you’d like to change and how important it is, so you’ve got a realistic picture of any costs before you move. Most of all, keep in mind a property’s potential!
- Check the tenancy type of the home you want to swap into, and make sure you know yours. If you’re not sure, ask us. A different tenancy type means that you may lose your Right to Buy or may not have the Right to Acquire with this new property, so it’s worth checking.
Rent and bills
- Find out how much the rent is. This can be different to the amount the current tenant pays as they may receive housing benefit. It’s worth asking what the usual bills are – gas, electricity, internet, water, council tax – as these can vary. It’s no guarantee yours will be the same, but it’s an indicator.
- A great neighbour can be priceless, but a bad neighbour can ruin your experience of a new home… so what are the neighbours like? Can you meet them? If it’s a block of flats, make sure you think about the neighbours above and below too.
Remember, you’re accepting the property ‘as seen’ – so give it a good look over! It’s important to check that the current tenant has permission to make any changes to the property. If they haven’t got this permission, it can be a reason for the landlord to refuse a swap.
Some things to consider:
- Is it in good condition? Are there signs of damp? Do repairs need to be carried out?
- Are there any broken items of furniture that will be staying?
- Is there central heating? Is it properly insulated? Is there double glazing?
- Is there enough storage space?
- Is there any sign of bad wiring, loose wires or faulty plugs or lights?
- Are there enough kitchen cupboards and work surfaces?
- Check the bathroom(s) and make sure taps are not leaking. Does the shower work properly? Are the sealants around the bath / shower intact?
- Are there enough electrical and telephone points and are they in the right places for your needs?
All of these are important things to look out for and the landlord will expect you to do your research.
Some homes have eligibility rules in place that you must meet in order to move in. Some things to check are:
- Age restrictions
- Mobility restrictions, e.g. it’s a sheltered home
- It’s been adapted for disability and this isn’t applicable for you
- You have to work for the council or in a specific job to move in
There can be other eligibility issues too so if you’re unsure, ask.
- If the home is too big or too small for your needs, you probably won’t be able to move in. Some landlords are more flexible than others, but it is a valid reason to decline a swap and it’s one of the most common. If in doubt, check the government’s eligibility calculator here
How serious is the other swapper?
Anyone on a swapping site will have read stories about ‘timewasters’. Here’s some advice:
- Don’t make any major changes to your life until your swap has been approved and you’ve signed the paperwork.
- If you’re worried about not having time to do everything, sign the paperwork and set a swap date for a couple of weeks later to give you the chance to make all these changes. Swaps can fall through for many reasons so try not to get too emotionally invested in your potential new home before the paperwork is signed.
All tenants must complete a mutual exchange form, just ask us for details. It’s usually a paper form rather than one you can fill in online and it asks for details about your home and the tenant you want to swap with. Once you’ve filled it in, return the completed form to us.
We then have a maximum of 42 days from receiving your form to tell you in writing whether your application has been approved or refused.
Things you need to check
You must make sure you check the rent amount of your new home and the type of tenancy you will hold with your new landlord. You may lose your ‘Right to Buy’ or may not have the ‘Right to Acquire’ so it’s worth checking. Make sure you have a few viewings as you’re accepting the property “as seen”. Ask lots of questions and think about:
- Condition of the home – decoration, layout, state of repair
- Location – make sure you visit at different times of day and night so you can get a feel for the area
- Transport – is there parking? Are you close enough to public transport?
- Amenities – where’s the nearest supermarket? What are the local schools like?
- Neighbours – what are the neighbours like? Visiting several times can help you assess
Before a swap can be finalised, we may carry out a few visits to check that your home is ready for the new tenant. Your new home will also go through the same checks as follows:
We’ll assess the condition of your home and look for any damage or alterations you may have made. We’ll discuss any items you may be leaving or taking with you, such as fridge-freezers or cookers. We’ll discuss tenancy matters and any rent arrears. If you or the tenant you’re swapping with has made alterations without permission, the swap could be refused. If you or the person that you want to swap with have rent arrears, the swap is likely to be refused
Health & Safety checks
We’ll complete a thorough health & safety gas and electrical check. Anything that needs to be fixed should be identified and sorted out before your move.
Energy Performance Certificate
It’s a legal requirement for social landlords to provide an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) on change of a tenancy. We may arrange for an Energy Assessor to contact you for an appointment to complete an EPC prior to your move.
“I have a beautiful house now and when I wake up every day I still can’t believe that it’s mine. Have used this site a couple of times now. Love it. Easy to use, nice platform and loads of options. I couldn’t be happier”
“It takes regular input, communication and extending searches sometimes to find the right property. Don’t give up, as there will be homes you like and eventually someone will be in agreement and the swap can proceed. I am currently in the middle of the actual swap, completed forms and we have agreed a swap date – I have to say this is all going smoothly! Overall this has been a great experience and remember, you only get out of it what you put in :)”