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Council house mutual exchange

A mutual exchange is where 2, or more, tenants swap homes with each other. This is a good way to find a new home when there are a lot of people on the housing register.

Council tenants can exchange homes with:

  • another North Ayrshire Council tenant
  • any tenant of a UK housing association
  • any tenant of another UK council

What do I need to know?

  • you must not go ahead with an exchange until you have our permission in writing
  • if the other tenant is not a North Ayrshire Council tenant, he/she must also have written permission from their landlord
  • landlords cannot refuse permission without good reason
  • landlords must reply within 20 working days (if you do not get a reply within that time, you can go ahead with the exchange as if it was agreed)
  • going ahead without permission can result in you being forced to move back
  • when you exchange, you take over the existing tenancy and so take over full responsibility for any alterations, improvements or damage done by the people you exchanged with (if we have to repair any damage they have done, you will have to pay for the costs)
  • it is illegal to pay anyone to exchange with you (if this happens, all the people involved could be made to return to their original homes).


  1. register online at the North Ayrshire Housing Register (NAHR). 
  2. create an advert
  3. search for suitable properties
  4. express an interest
  5. submit bids.

Exchange in a different area

Search on a national basis in the Home Swap Direct section.

What happens when I find a suitable exchange?

Once your bid has been accepted by another party, you have viewed each other's homes and wish to proceed, you must both confirm the exchange online and complete a mutual exchange application form (PDF, 142kb). You can collect an application from your local housing office. 

Return the completed form to your local housing office. Adverts will be removed from the website and we'll arrange to inspect your home. If another landlord is involved, we will ask them for a tenancy report on the other party.

We'll write to you within 20 working days telling you whether we have given permission or not. If we give you permission, we'll ask you to sign a new tenancy agreement. If we don't give permission, we'll tell you why.

We will not normally give permission if:

  • your home is not big enough and this would create overcrowding
  • you are breaking the conditions of your tenancy agreement, such as being behind with rent payments
  • your home has been adapted for a disabled person and the new tenant does not need these special facilities
  • we have already applied for a court order to make you leave your home
  • your home, or the new home you want to move to, is only provided in connection with the tenant's job.

The other landlord may refuse permission for the same reasons.

If the exchange is refused, you have the right to appeal to a senior officer. If, following an appeal, you are still not satisfied; you have the right to appeal to the Sheriff Court.

Repairs to the exchange property 

You must report any repairs to us. 

Once you have moved into your new house, we will not change the locks for you, but we recommend that you get this done for your own security. Contact a locksmith or council repairs at the number below (there is a charge for this work).

Contact Housing

Get in touch with your local housing office


01294 310000


NAC Housing Services Facebook page

Staff training

Please note: Housing offices close from 1.30pm on the second Thursday of every month for staff training.

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