Transfers and exchanges

Most Housing Executive or housing association tenants can request to transfer or exchange their property for alternative social housing.

Transfers

If you are already a tenant of the Housing Executive or a housing association and you want to move to another social housing property you can apply for a transfer. To apply for a transfer you will need to complete a Housing/Transfer Application Form (PDF 571 kB).

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​We will then assess your housing needs and place you on the social housing waiting list for a transfer to alternative accommodation owned by us or registered housing associations within your area of choice. 

Your request for a transfer won't normally be considered where:

  • you have been living in your home for less than two years
  • you have rent arrears of four weeks or more
  • your home is in a bad state of repair, or we have charged you for repairs
  • you are guilty of a serious breach of your tenancy conditions

Exchanges

As a social housing tenant it is possible to arrange a swap with another social housing tenant. We call this a "mutual exchange". 

You may find a mutual exchange useful if:

  • you need a smaller, or larger home
  • you are interested in moving to a new area
  • you want to find a more suitable home
  • you don't want to wait for a long time for a transfer

You can read more information in our 'Want to Move Home' leaflet (PDF 790 kB) 

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You must get permission to exchange your tenancy. Whilst we will not ordinarily refuse you permission there are some circumstances where we may not be able to consent to an exchange: 

  • you owe us rent 
  • your proposed new property is too small or too large for your household 
  • your current property has been adapted or is part of a sheltered scheme and the new tenant has no need for this type of accommodation
  • your home is subject to a court order for possession
  • you have carried out improvements/alterations without consent

Arranging an exchange

You can ask us to carry out an electronic search for potential properties to ‘swap’ with. We may also contact you with details of potential house swaps. 

You can also register to swap online at HomeSwapper.co.uk. This is free for our tenants and for most housing association tenants in Northern Ireland. 

You may find potential home swaps by word of mouth, advertising in newspapers or online, or postcards in shop windows. 

You must get our permission before you exchange your home. If you find a suitable swap you should contact us to register for a mutual exchange. You must also complete a Transfer Application Form. 

We will then:

  • inspect both homes before approving the exchange
  • approve the request unless there is good reason not to do so
  • send our decision in writing, to you and the other tenant, within 42 days of your request

Where we approve the exchange both tenants must sign a form to complete the tenancy assignment.

Important

You may also wish to check how this affects your Right to Buy your new home in the future, before you make your decision.

Precautions

When viewing or showing a home we recommend that you take some basic precautions to make sure you are safe:

  • arrange the viewing time in daylight.
  • have someone with you - don’t show your own home or go to see another home on your own
  • tell someone when and where you are going
  • bring a mobile phone with you and keep it switched on

Social Sector Size Criteria (SSSC)

If you are currently in receipt of either Housing Benefit or the Housing Cost element of Universal Credit, and you are under-occupying your home by one bedroom or more according to the benefit bedroom criteria, you may be affected by the Social Sector Size Criteria (SSSC).  If you are affected by SSSC, you may already be in receipt of a mitigation payment known as Welfare Supplementary Payment.

If you choose to transfer or exchange your home, and you decide to move to another social sector house and do not reduce your level of under-occupation, you may lose this payment. It is important to check with your landlord and get advice before you move, as once this Welfare Supplementary Payment is lost, it is lost for good. You can find further information here.


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