Mutual exchange

You can swap your rented home for a different one through a scheme known as mutual exchange.

You can do this as long as the person you swap with is one of the following:

  • another Orbit customer
  • a customer of another registered social landlord (usually a housing association)
  • someone living in a council-owned and managed home.

You will have to find the other person to swap homes with. You can do this in a number of ways, including:

  • putting an advert in the local newspaper or shop windows
  • registering with your local council
  • signing up to the Homeswapper website.


Orbit offers a mutual exchange scheme through This website lets you swap your home with other housing associations and council customers in any other part of the UK. This service is free if you are an Orbit customer.

Am I eligible to swap?

You can swap your home if:

  • you aren’t moving to a property where you will be overcrowded or have more space than you need
  • you aren’t in debt with your rent
  • the other person’s landlord is happy for the exchange to happen
  • the swap does not breach any planning regulations
  • you get Orbit’s permission in writing
  • there is no ongoing legal action relating to your tenancy

There may be other conditions, depending on your type of tenancy. Please check with your local housing team to see if you are able to exchange.

How do I apply for a mutual exchange?
  • When you find someone to swap with, you need to complete a mutual exchange request form. You can get this from your local housing team or by contacting Orbit
  • Orbit staff will decide what you can do within six weeks of receiving your request. They will write to you to let you know their decision
  • Don’t do anything until you get Orbit’s agreement in writing and an agreed move or exchange date has been set by both landlords

When you sign up to a mutual exchange, you accept the home you move to in the condition you find it. Make sure that you know the state of repair and the decorative standard of the property before you commit to anything.

Homeswapper tips

Tips for Making the Most from HomeSwapper

If you are an Orbit customer, you can subscribe to Homeswapper for free!

Here are some top tips on how to make the most of your subscription and potentially find the new home you have been looking for and how to make your property stand out:

1. SNAP! 90% of successful exchanges that happen on HomeSwapper have photo’s!

  • Photos are very useful for getting people to look at your advert. Adverts without photos are often be overlooked. 
  • Start with a photograph of the outside/front of your property. If you can, tidy the front garden of rubbish, children’s toys and remove any vehicles on the driveway.
  • Photograph every room. Remove any rubbish bins and ensure that toilet seats are down in bathrooms. Avoid shooting into mirrors as your image will reflect. Open the curtains/blinds and turn on the light. If you can, try to get the whole room into the picture so that people can imagine themselves living there. Don’t forget to take a photo of any outside space/garden.

2. LOCATION, LOCATION! Additional details about your home and local area

Ensure that you provide lots of information about your home and local area. (If you need ideas why not look at descriptions of similar properties that have been written by estate agents?)

  • Do you have a large garden, light living area, double bedrooms?
  • Are you close to local amenities such as shops, parks, schools?
  • Are you close to the local bus route?

3. WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR? Provide information about the that you want

  • Try to be specific about what you are looking for in a new property. If you are only interested in houses with small gardens put that in your advert.

4. YOU HAVE MAIL! Reply to all messages

  • You should reply to every message you receive. Even if you are not interested, you should reply to let them know. If other people look at your advert and see you haven’t replied to several messages they may not try to contact you.

5. OLD NEWS! Check your matches regularly

  • New people are registering everyday with homeswapper and may be new to your advert! Ensure that you log in to your account regularly and keep your profile updated. 
  • Update your photos if you have recently decorated.
  • Other users can see when you last logged in, and may not contact you if you haven’t logged on for some time!.