Orkney Islands Council
Working together for a better Orkney

Mutual Exchange

Scottish secure tenants have a legal right to exchange their tenancy with other Scottish secure tenants. This applies also where tenants are tenants of different social landlords. This right of exchange is dependent on tenants first obtaining their landlord's written consent. Consent may be refused only if there are reasonable grounds for refusal.

Tenants of Public Sector Landlords

Tenants of public sector landlords who are not currently Scottish secure tenants may also apply to exchange houses with our tenants. Examples of such tenants would be tenants of English local authorities and English housing associations. Applications to exchange will be considered in line with the provisions that apply to exchanges involving Scottish secure tenants. Again, consent may be refused only if there are reasonable grounds for refusal. Although non-Scottish secure tenants do not have a statutory right of appeal, we will allow tenants to appeal through our internal appeals system if their exchange applications are refused.

Mutual Exchange Policy

All applications for a mutual exchange are dealt with in accordance to our Mutual Exchange Policy which is available in the related downloads section of this web page.

How Do I Apply For a Mutual Exchange?

If you wish to exchange your home, you must first find another tenant who is willing to exchange with you. It is important to ensure that the property you wish to move to is of a suitable size for your household and that your property is suitable for the household who will be moving to it.

When you have identified a suitable person to exchange your tenancy with, you must both submit the Housing Application Form, available through the related downloads section of this web page, to our Housing Management Section. Tenants of Orkney Islands Council will be subject to a pre-tenancy termination inspection and may be required to carry out necessary repairs prior to the application being approved.

Application Process

After full consideration of the application, our Housing Management section will either consent or refuse consent where it is reasonable to do so. All applications must be dealt with and notified of the Council’s decision within one month of receiving the applications.

In the case of a Council tenant seeking an exchange with a Scottish secure tenant of another landlord, the tenant will require to make a written application to that landlord.

Why Would My Application for a Mutual Exchange be Refused?

There are no definitive grounds for refusing consent. Each case requires to be assessed on its merits. Specific reasons mentioned in the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 where it is deemed reasonable to refuse consent are:

  • A Notice of Proceedings has been served that specifies any of grounds 1 to 7 (Schedule 2).
  • An order for recovery and possession has been made against the tenant.
  • The house occupied by the tenant has been provided by the landlord for employment purposes.
  • The house has been designed or adapted for occupation by a person whose particular needs require such accommodation and, following the exchange, no person with such particular needs would occupy the house.
  • The accommodation of the other house is either substantially larger than that required by the tenant and his or her family, or is not suitable for the needs of the tenant and the tenant’s family.
  • The exchange would result in statutory overcrowding.
  • Where the tenant is a tenant of a co-operative housing association, the tenant must also be a member of the housing association before consent is granted.

Appeal a Decision

Where an application is refused, tenants must be advised of their appeal rights. For further information on mutual exchanges, please contact our Housing Management section on Tel: 01856873535.