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Changes to Mutual Exchange Policy

Mutual Exchanges help tenants to move by swapping their homes with other tenants. In Highland, each year, around 180 households move this way.

We are putting in place a shared Mutual Exchange Policy with the other Highland Housing Register landlords.  We are proposing to update our criteria for refusing requests.  Our changes aim to help us to: make better use of our funding and meet the needs of people who have a ‘need’ for housing in the Highlands along with ensuring that we have consistency among landlords.

We would like your views on our proposals.  This will help us understand tenants’ views on our proposed changes.  We will take your views into account when we decide whether, or not, to go ahead with our proposed changes. Please give us your views by answering the questions below.

More Information on the Policy and proposals can be seen here 

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* 1. Who is your Landlord?

Change 1
To ensure fairness in the allocation of properties through the Highland Housing Register, we are proposing that it will be reasonable to refuse a request to exchange if the tenant has recently been allocated their home and they have not yet lived there for 6 weeks. And, moreover, we are proposing that it may be reasonable to refuse a request if they have not lived in the property for 12 months. This is unless there is evidence that the move will either:
·         ease overcrowding;
·         help the tenant to get support that they could not get in other ways;
·         help to resolve an issue which could lead to their tenancy failing;
·         significantly ease a travel-to-work issue or;
·         resolve an issue which, we agree, is reasonable to resolve in this way.

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* 2. Do you agree with this change?

Change 2
If there is evidence of a significant shortage of housing in a community and, at the same time, there is evidence of high demand for that particular property, we are proposing that we may consider it reasonable to refuse the tenant’s request to mutual exchange depending on the circumstances.  We will not refuse the tenant’s request if their reason for the exchange is to help them solve a housing or support need or other such issue.

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* 3. Do you agree with this change?

Change 3
Mutual Exchanges are to help tenants sort their housing issues.  There is reported to be misuse of the process on occasion.  When this happens, we do not think it is fair that the costs are passed onto all the tenants.  We are considering that we will recharge tenants who have moved through a Mutual Exchange and who then, within the next 12 months, transfer or terminate their tenancy. This recharge will be reasonable and will reflect the costs of carrying out exchanges i.e. for electric and gas safety checks etc.   We will not charge these costs if the exchanging tenant does not move within this short timescale.  (We recognise that there may be exceptional reasons why a tenancy may come to an unexpected end and may waive costs in these circumstances.)

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* 4. Do you agree with this change?

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* 5. If there is anything else that you would like to tell us about the way that we assess or carry out Mutual Exchanges, please tell us here.

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