Historically, tenants searching for their next home were likely to use a property advertising platform such as RightMove or Zoopla. These platforms let people search for a property by location, price range, number of bedrooms, type of property such as flats/apartments, house or bungalow etc. Eventually, the tenant was given a list of properties matching their search criteria and the ability to click on a property for more information, such as how to contact the landlord or letting agents. Unfortunately – despite recent legal changes preventing landlords and agents from discriminating against tenants dependant on the Local Housing Allowance to pay their rent – this is often as far as people on benefits will get.
Most landlords and lettings agents do not have the specialist knowledge or experience to understand the benefits of accepting tenants in receipt of Local Housing Allowance or to appreciate the value of tenants exchanging properties. It is more likely that they will offer a property to a working applicant above a benefit dependant claimant, without completing affordability assessments. Often they advise a tenant that the only way to move to another property is to serve notice. In other words, benefit recipients are penalised and their access to private rental properties is reduced.
HomeSwap seeks to change attitudes of landlords and open up a whole new market to privately rented tenants through a mutual exchange programme. Tenants will be assessed on how well they have managed their tenancies and their financial ability to move to their chosen property. Support will be provided to maximise income, and to create a detailed income and expenditure form, giving prospective landlords reassurance that a benefit dependant tenant is a suitable candidate for their property. Tenants gain access to many more properties, UK wide.
How to register for HomeSwap
Request a registration and housing application form by:
- sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- speaking to one of our agents on 0333 772 1396
- making an enquiry through our website: https://bourneslettings.com/.
Return them to us by email at email@example.com or post to
Unit 2, The Pavilion
How HomeSwap works
We check to ensure you meet the qualifying conditions:
- You must live in a privately rented property in the UK
HomeSwap is a mutual exchange scheme which means you must be an existing tenant of a property let through a private landlord. We cannot accept applications from people renting through the Social Housing or Local Authority sector, as different legislation applies.
- We need permission from your landlord
Before a property can be exchanged through the HomeSwap scheme, we contact your landlord to let them know you are looking for an exchange partner and obtain their formal consent for the exchange to proceed.
Your landlord will also be asked given a series of questions to answer about how you have managed your tenancy and if they would like additional conditions applied to the exchange process.
Applicants who do not qualify for public funds due to immigration status, or are subject to any immigration control, cannot register on the exchange programme, even if one of the joint applicants meets the qualifying rules.
- Antisocial behaviour
Applicants or prospective members of their household who have engaged in behaviour that is considered unacceptable will not be accepted on the exchange programme.
Unacceptable behaviour includes, but is not limited to:
- financial misbehaviour such as benefit fraud or any criminal offence of a similar nature
- unacceptable behaviour including but not limited to non-payment of rent, antisocial behaviour, or any behaviour that would be considered a breach of the terms and conditions of the landlord’s tenancy agreement.
- conduct that has resulted in any unspent criminal sanction, any Court Order, including a civil Court Order being made against you that affects your suitability to be a tenant eg any possession order, criminal conviction or antisocial behaviour injunction
- giving intentionally false information on any part of your application. If such information comes to the attention of HomeSwap after registration, you will be removed from the register.
- Rent arrears
You must show that there have been no rent arrears above £250.00 in the 24 months preceding the date of the application.
- Non-disclosure or false information
Any applicant who makes an application where they have knowingly given false information or failed to disclose information that could impact the decision of the application will be banned from the register for five years.
- County Court Judgments
You will not be accepted onto the register if you have any unpaid County Court Judgments
Advertising your home and finding a new one
We’ll provide you with a free platform to advertise your current home. All you need to do is to send us pictures and tell us a little about your property. We’d like to know how many bedrooms the property has and the layout of the house. You could also tell us about your garden and what you think the best features of the house are, how far you are from shops, schools, and other amenities – anything that will help find an exchange partner for your current property.
Once we receive this information, we’ll create an advert and post the property on our website. We’ll also search our database and provide you with a list of exchange partners that match your ideal home specifications. It will then be up to you to make contact with these matched exchange partners.
Don’t worry if you do not see properties on our site. Landlords can request that we do not post the property there, but rather allow us to hold the information on our database and provide full specifications to you once your application has been approved.
Transfer of tenancy agreements
You are not being offered a new tenancy but ‘swapping’ (assigning by way of exchange) your existing tenancy. In doing so the exchange partners take over the terms and conditions of each other’s tenancy.
Condition of the exchange property
The condition you are willing to accept the property in should be discussed and agreed upon by you and the person you are exchanging with before you move. If you are not happy to accept the property in its existing condition, you should not agree to move.
Each landlord will be asked to produce a copy of their latest EPC, Electric and Gas Safety certificates prior to a mutual exchange taking place. If these documents cannot be produced, the exchange process will be suspended.
Registering for HomeSwap and advertising your current property is absolutely free. Once you’re ready to exchange, HomeSwap takes care of the legalities, leaving you to organise the removal of your furniture to your new home.
Our fees, on exchange, are £92.00 per exchange partner for a single tenancy, and £124.00 for joint tenancies.*
Please arrange to have any landlines disconnected (the operator can explain the procedure) and to have your post redirected.
Please do not arrange to have your gas and electricity disconnected as there will then be reconnection charges for subsequent tenants. Instead, when you vacate, make sure the meter readings are recorded so that these figures can be passed on to the utility suppliers when your exchange partners move in and you will only then be sent a termination bill.
Please note that you will need to request the return of your deposit from your landlord once all parties have agreed to an exchange date. HomeSwap does not get involved in requesting that the deposits are returned.