8. Mutual exchanges
8. Mutual exchanges
- 8.1. Secure tenants and flexible secure tenants (i.e., fixed term) have a legal right to exchange tenancies under the Housing Act 1985.
- 8.2. Landlords, including GYBC, are able to withhold consent to exchange tenancies only in certain circumstances as listed under Schedule 3 of the Housing Act 1985. These include where:
- the Council has started eviction proceedings
- the home is adapted for a person with special needs and nobody in the new tenant's household has those needs
- the home the tenant wants to move to is 'substantially more extensive' than the household needs
- the home the tenant wants to move to is too small for their household and they would be overcrowded
- 8.3. There is no legal definition of the phrase 'substantially more extensive' and GYBC have interpreted this as being one bedroom or more in excess of the size of property required, so that the household would be under occupying the property. The Council will consider whether a household is under or over occupying a property with regard to the size criteria used when assessing Housing Benefit or the Housing Element of Universal Credit, i.e.:
- children under 16 of the same gender will be expected to share a bedroom
- children under 10 will be expected to share a bedroom regardless of gender
- a tenant or partner with disabilities requiring a non-resident overnight carer will be allowed an extra bedroom. We will require sufficient documentary evidence for this
- 8.4. The Council takes into account everyone who lives with the tenant on a permanent basis and will usually only agree to the exchange if the property is the correct size for the incoming tenant and their family. The Council, may at its discretion, consider the additional needs of the household within the next 3 to 6 months.
- 8.5. Consideration will be given for any medical or social need that leads to a family requiring more bedrooms than allowed under these criteria. Medical and social needs will be considered by a senior Council officer who may request evidence from other agencies or seek advice from the Council's medical advisor.
- 8.6. Consent may be granted in situations where allowing an exchange, regardless of the size criteria, will enable the best use of the Council's stock. This may include situations where one party would substantially benefit from a move and the only reason for withholding consent would be the size criteria. This would only apply to allow a move where a household would be one bedroom in excess of the size criteria.
- 8.7. Where it is accepted that a household requires more bedrooms than allowed under the size criteria, advice will be given on the impact of any housing benefit claim and therefore any increased net rent liability.
- 8.8. Sheltered housing homes can only be exchanged into if tenant(s) is aged 60 and over unless a local lettings plan is in place and determines otherwise.