Exchanging property with another tenant

On this page you can find out more about exchanging property with another tenant:

What is a mutual exchange?

A mutual exchange is when two or more tenants wish to swap their properties.

You may exchange with:

The exchange must meet the requirements of our allocation policy and with any other participating landlord’s policy. A mutual exchange ends your current tenancy agreement and a new one is created for you. You can not exchange your property without our permission.

Find out more in our guide to mutual exchange (PDF 1MB).

How do I look for a mutual exchange?

The best way to search for a mutual exchange is through our mutual exchange website - House Exchange website.

This site allows you to search both locally and nationally for an exchange. As long as you are a tenant of the council or one of the partners this site is free to use.

You may also wish to place an advertisement in a local newspaper or shop and check similar advertisements placed by other tenants.

If you need further guidance please contact your local Housing office.

What do I do when I find a tenant who wants to exchange with me?

If you, and the person you wish to exchange with, are both tenants of Aberdeenshire Council then you should both contact your local Housing office to get exchange proposal form or download the form, available in two formats:

These should be completed and returned without delay.

If the person you wish to exchange with is not a tenant of Aberdeenshire Council, then you should both also contact their landlord to apply for permission.

What should I check before I agree to an exchange?

When you have found a tenant who you wish to exchange with, you should first check the condition of their house. Once the exchange has taken place, the house must be accepted in its present condition. It is also important to discuss what is to be left in the house, such as carpets and curtains.

If you wish to exchange with a tenant of another housing provider, you should read their tenancy agreement carefully. You may be taking on different rights and responsibilities. If you are unsure of the conditions of your new tenancy, ask your Housing Officer or seek legal advice.


We will carry out any essential repairs, such as:

  • making the property wind and watertight
  • making the property secure
  • fixing doors and windows so they open freely and are secure
  • doing gas and electricity checks
  • issuing an energy performance certificate
  • providing an adequate hot and cold water supply

These are examples, a full list of essential repairs is available on request. Contact your local Housing office if you are in any doubt about what qualifies as an essential repair.

Repairs due to wear and tear will be considered by us after a qualifying period of six months after the date you exchanged.

If you have made improvements you may be entitled to compensation.

What happens after the exchange forms are sent to the Housing Office?

The clerk of works will visit you to inspect the condition of your house and garden. The inspection covers:

  • structure stability
  • damp
  • water supply
  • toilet and bathroom facilities
  • drainage
  • cooking facilities
  • state of internal and external repair
  • light / ventilation / heating
  • gas inspection

The clerk of works will let you know if repairs are needed and tell you what is our responsibility and what is yours. The property has to be brought up to standard before we will approve a mutual exchange. If you, or the person you are exchanging with, is happy to accept the property in its present condition we will ask you both to sign a declaration to that effect.

Gas and electricity checks will also need to be done when the tenancy changes.

We look at if each family is moving to a suitable size of property. The move should not result in overcrowding. An exchange may also be refused if either you, or your exchange partner, would be under-occupying the property. We may let you exchange into accommodation larger than you need now if you can show you will need a larger property in the future. Only permanent members of your household are taken into account when deciding what size of house is suitable for you.

We also check that there are no outstanding debts. If there have been frequent rent arrears during the previous twelve months, and the move is to a house with a higher rent, then we may not agree to the exchange.

We will not reasonably withhold consent when two or more tenants request to exchange their properties.

How long does the exchange take to process?

Generally, the exchange will take four weeks from the date the forms are submitted. We must give you an answer to your request to move within 28 days. If we do not tell you our decision within this time, you may assume that we have given our permission.

If you do not give all the relevant information within 28 days, your application to exchange will be declined.

Important points to remember

  • you must get written permission before you exchange
  • if you are a joint tenant, you must both sign the exchange proposal forms. You must sign a new tenancy agreement before actually moving
  • the whole family must exchange