When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Exchanging or swapping your home

Secure Housing Executive (NIHE) and housing association tenants can exchange their homes with other secure NIHE or housing association tenants as long as the landlords both agree. Introductory tenants can only exchange in rare circumstances.  Speak to Housing Rights if you’re an introductory tenant who needs to swap.

Finding an exchange

Before you start looking for a swap partner, tell your landlord that you’re looking for an exchange and get its permission to do so. You can swap with any other secure social tenant in the UK as long as both your landlords agree. The easiest way to find an exchange partner is to look online.  You can use the Homeswapper website to register your home and search for exchange partners.  

Applying for the exchange

You and your swap partner need to ask your individual landlords to authorise the swap.  Write to your landlord letting it know

  • your name and full address
  • the name, full address and landlord of your swap partner

If your landlord is happy to let the swap go ahead you should get an answer within 4 weeks.  If it doesn’t allow the swap your landlord needs to write to you within 42 days and explain why.

Refusal to exchange

Your landlord can refuse to allow you to swap your home in certain circumstances, such as

  • a court has ordered your swap partner to leave their home
  • the swap partner’s landlord has started legal proceedings to evict them
  • either property has more rooms than the proposed new tenant needs
  • either property isn’t suitable for the proposed new tenant’s needs
  • either property was designed or adapted for someone with physical disabilities and the new occupants doesn’t require this type of housing
  • either property belongs to a housing association that provides housing for a specific group of people (eg older people, students) and the proposed new tenant isn’t a member of this group
  • a member of either partner’s household has been convicted of an offence related to improper use of the property.

If your exchange has been refused for another reason, get in touch with an adviser at Housing Rights who might be able to help.