Frequently asked questions
Whether you're interested in exchanging your home or currently in the process, our Frequently Asked Questions Guide will have the answers you are looking for.
Who can I swap with?
- Midland Heart tenants
- Registered social Landlords with an Assured/Secure or Fixed Term tenancy
- Council tenants
If My Tenancy is less than a year old can I still apply?
Tenants of Midland Heart begin with a starter tenancy. This is to monitor how things are going in your new home.
Starter tenants do not have the legal right to exchange, but if there have been no issues at 9 months in, you can apply for an exchange.
Can I still apply if I have rent arrears?
If you have rent arrears or any other outstanding charges such as court costs or a repair recharges you are NOT eligible for a mutual exchange- even if you are on a payment plan.
If you are in receipt of Universal Credit/Housing Benefit, we are aware these payments are made in arrears. You will need to ensure there is no outstanding balance after these payments as any unpaid shortfall on the account will result in the request being rejected.
If I have exchanged previously, can I still apply for another exchange?
You can ask for permission to exchange again.
We will review this along with all the other information you provide before we make our initial decision.
Can I still use Homes Direct?
You can continue to use Homes Direct to manage your mutual exchange until 31st May 2021 when the site closed down for good.
Don’t worry if you’re already in the process of swapping your home. Your mutual exchange won’t be affected.
House Exchange will be replacing Homes Direct on June 1st 2021.
What is House Exchange?
House Exchange is a free service that we’re offering our customers to make it easier for you to swap your home.
The site lets you search, find matches and contact other council or housing association residents who want to swap their homes.
Click here to find out more about House Exchange.
Do I have to sign up to House Exchange?
We’ve chosen to team up with House Exchange to make sure that you have a reliable service to advertise your home. We’ve already paid for the service so you don’t have to pay for anything.
If you want to use House Exchange you’ll have to sign up. It’s quick and easy and you’ll be done in a few clicks.
Can I sign up to a different swapping site?
There are several other home swapping websites that are available for you to choose from.
You can sign up to any site you like however, you may have to pay to use them. Be sure to find out about the costs before signing up.
Why would a mutual exchange application be rejected?
- Why would a mutual exchange application be rejected?
The Grounds we use when rejecting a mutual exchange application are found within Schedule 14 under Section 158 of the Localism Act 2011.
Examples of what these may mean include.
Ground 1: an exchange party having rent arrears (including court costs or repairs costs)
Ground 2: tenancy breaches, such as ASB, no access to complete checks or not receiving a landlord reference to enable Midland Heart to verify the conduct of a tenant planning to move into our property.
Ground 3: if there is a Court Order for any Landlord in the exchange to take possession of the property (meaning a court has given an eviction date)
Ground 7: under occupancy. Midland Heart aims to make the best use of our stock, and reduce under occupancy (in accordance with our allocations policy) where possible.
Ground 8: where the property is not suitable for your needs, including overcrowding (in accordance with our allocations policy).
Ground 11: where a property has a restriction, such as major accessibility adaptations, or where we have schemes that have a minimum age for residents (what you may know as “Over 55’s”). For these properties, we can only permit exchanges where the incoming tenants meet the relevant criteria.
Why would I be responsible for any repairs if the damage was already there when I moved in?
Unlike a new tenancy, with a Mutual Exchange the tenancies are swapped between the two parties, and as such the property is never classed as being empty.
The prospective tenants of a Midland Heart property do property inspections. This allows them to notify us of any issues with the property before they move in; from the point of signing the paperwork, we will no longer be able to establish who is responsible for any damage.
It is in your best interests to be as thorough as possible when conducting the property inspection, before you accept/move in.
If you find repairs within the first 2 months of being in the property which are likely to have been present at the time of exchange, you will be liable for carrying out this repair at your cost.
Discuss any potential issues with the other party, and be clear on what each landlord classes as a repair that tenants are responsible for; do not forget that these may vary from one landlord to another. Midland Heart have a video and a Repairs Responsibility Tool on our website that can help.
Please remember that once you have signed for the property, you are responsible for any damage that becomes known even if it was there when you took the property.
How long will it take for the exchange to be completed?
- Once we receive your expression of interest we will call both parties within 24 hours to complete an online.
- If you pass the initial telephone interview we will send out applications to be completed and returned along with the required documents. A deadline of two weeks is set for this to be completed. On receipt of both application packs we have 42 days to reach a decision.
- After receiving both application packs we will send and request references. We have no control over how long this can take but request that references are returned as soon as possible within 2 weeks.
- Once we have received the reference we will carry out our final checks and reach a decision. If successful we will provide all applicants with a conditional approval and notify the required landlords of our decision. Anything after this decision has been made is not subject to the 42 day period.
- Once we have made our decision, we need a minimum of two weeks to book the necessary gas and electric checks. These checks need to be completed 2 days before paperwork is signed.
- Once a date has been confirmed with the other landlord we will send out an appointment confirmation which will include the details of your safety checks and the location, date and time for paperwork to be completed. PLEASE NOTE- all of the paperwork is not completed at the same time. you will also have another appointment with the other landlord to complete their paperwork.
Throughout the process we will give you regular updates by email.
I need to move urgently; can I exchange and then get permission?
It is important that you wait until you have signed for your new property before you move in. Both parties will be classed as illegally occupying and could result in both of you losing your home.
Can I move the weekend before we sign?
You cannot move until all the paperwork is completed, i.e. when you have signed over your old property and signed to accept your new home.
If you do, this can be treated as illegal occupancy.
You become responsible for your new home as soon as you have signed the paperwork.
How does the bedroom allocation work?
Bedrooms are allocated as one bedroom for each of the following:
- A couple
- An adult aged over 16
- Two children of the same sex who are under 16
- Two children of the opposite sex who are 10 or under
- Any other child aged under 16
A non-resident carer where they provide overnight care to a person with a disability
Can I change my mind?
Before signing paperwork you can withdraw from the exchange at any time.