Transfers between secure contract-holders

  • If you have a secure occupation contract with a community landlord you can swap your home with another secure contract-holder if they have a community landlord.
  • This is known as a ‘transfer to another secure contract-holder’.
  • This is a fundamental term of all secure contracts, as long as your landlord is a community landlord (i.e. a council or a housing association)

Transfer to another secure contract-holder

If you have a secure contract with a community landlord it is a fundamental term of your contract that you can swap your home with another secure contract-holder in Wales, as long as they have a community landlord. This used to be referred to as “mutual exchange” but is now called a “transfer to another secure contract-holder”.

The right to swap your home with another secure contract-holder in this way also applies to you if you moved in before 1 Dec 2022 and have a converted secure contract.

A transfer between secure contract-holders is different to applying for a waiting list transfer because your housing needs have changed. This is where you apply to the housing register for another community landlord property. Find out more here.

Do I need my landlord’s permission to swap my home?

You will need your landlord’s consent to swap your home but your landlord can only refuse to give consent if there is a good reason. The law states what your landlord can take into account, for example:

  • your landlord has started eviction proceedings
  • you, someone who lives with you, or a visitor has engaged in antisocial behaviour
  • your home is adapted for a person with special requirements and nobody in the new contract-holder’s household has those requirements
  • the home you want to move to is larger than your household needs
  • the home you want to move to is too small for your household and you would be overcrowded
  • you have rent arrears (your landlord may tell you that rent arrears must be paid before you can swap your home)
  • the succession rights of the person/s you want to swap with

This is not a full list of the circumstances your landlord can take into account. You can find out more about landlord’s consent here.

Get help if your landlord doesn’t give you permission to swap. An adviser may be able to negotiate with your landlord so the swap can go ahead or can submit an appeal against the decision.

The swap must be arranged properly and the contract-holder or tenant you are swapping with will also need consent from their landlord. If you go ahead and swap without both landlord’s permission, you could both lose your homes.  

You may be able to swap your home with a secure or assured tenant from elsewhere in the U.K. Your community landlord should have a policy about swapping your home with another contract-holder, or swapping with a council or housing association tenant elsewhere in the U.K. They should provide you with a copy if you ask for it. Their policy must follow what the law says. If you are unsure, get help.

Who qualifies to swap homes with another secure contract-holder?

To swap secure occupation contracts in Wales, you must be:

You can’t swap secure contracts if you:

How do I find someone to swap  my secure contract with?

Contract-holders arrange transfers between secure contracts themselves, often with the help of a dedicated ‘homeswap’ website, such as:

Some sites charge a fee for registration. Ask your landlord if they have an arrangement that allows you to use a home swap website for free.

When you register online to use a homeswap website you are asked for details about your current home, the kind of home you’re looking for and where you want to live. Include photographs if you can.

Once you have registered, you can get details of properties, make contact with other contract-holders or tenants and arrange to view their homes.

There may also be dedicated ‘homeswap’ groups on social media sites, such as Facebook.

When you find a suitable property and you and the other contract-holder or tenant is happy to swap, you must make a written request to ask your landlord’s consent. The person you want to swap with must do the same with their landlord.

Your landlord has 1 month to decide whether or not to give you permission to swap your contract. If your landlord asks for more information from you before they make a decision, they have 1 month from the time you provide the information they asked for. Find out more here. If you get no decision within this time, get help.

What rights do I have if I swap my home?

Before you agree to swap your secure contract with another contract-holder or tenant:

  • check what type of occupation contract (or tenancy if you are moving elsewhere in the U.K.) you will be taking over in your new home. You may have different rights with your new agreement, especially if the new home is not in Wales where there are different types of tenancy
  • check if any repair or redecoration is needed. When you swap, you accept the property in the condition you find it
  • find out how much rent you will pay
  • don’t make or accept any payment for swapping with the other contract-holder or tenant. This is illegal and you could be prosecuted and evicted.

If you are swapping with a secure council tenant or assured housing association tenant elsewhere in the U.K. you might have to sign a “deed of assignment” in order for the swap to be legally binding. This is a legal document that must be signed by an independent witness.

If you are swapping with another secure contract-holder in Wales, signing a deed is not necessary, but your community landlord will ask you to sign a new occupation contract and other relevant paperwork. If you are uncertain about what you  are being asked to sign, get help.

Did you find this helpful?

Rydym yn ymddiheuro na fedrwn ddarparu’r wybodaeth yma yn Gymraeg, ond os hoffech siarad ag ymgynghorydd yn Gymraeg yna cysylltwch ar 08000 495 495.
We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 08000 495 495.

This page was last updated on: April 20, 2023

Shelter Cymru acknowledges the support of Shelter in allowing us to adapt their content. The information contained on this site is updated and maintained by Shelter Cymru and only gives general guidance on the law in Wales. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law.