Important changes to mutual exchanges (home swaps)


Following the government announcement of England’s third national lockdown, we’ve made important changes to the way we carry out mutual exchanges (home swaps). It’s important that you follow these new guidelines to make sure your mutual exchange can go ahead.

Mutual exchange changes

At the moment, government guidelines allow for people to move house. We’ve carried out a risk assessment, reviewed our safety measures, and decided to continue to support mutual exchanges – with some important changes to keep you and our staff safe.

Things might change

While this is our current approach, we may pause mutual exchanges if government advice about moving house changes. We’ll continue to monitor and follow government Covid-19 guidance and update our website. It’s worth checking back here from time to time. For now, let’s work together by following simple guidelines to make sure your mutual exchange can go ahead.

Our usual exchange guidelines apply

Although we’ll do everything we can to support your mutual exchange during lockdown, your application must follow our usual exchange guidelines and pass initial checks before it gets to the inspection stage, You can find more information about the different options available to you if you want to move home on our website.

Complete your health assessment honestly

We’ll book in an agreed time for your inspection to take place and contact you to complete a health assessment 1 day before your appointment. It’s important you answer the assessment honestly to help protect everyone – you, your family and our staff.

Our staff will also take the health assessment before they visit your home. If they have Covid-19 symptoms we may need to reschedule your appointment to a time when we have another staff member available. We understand this may be frustrating, but we don’t want to put you or others at risk.

Ventilate your home please

You must ventilate your property before, during and after your inspection. This means opening all your windows at least 2 hours before the inspection – regardless of the weather conditions – and keeping them open during and after the inspection. This will help minimise the risk of spreading the infection, which is important for everyone.

The 1 family member rule

Only 1 member of your household can be in your home during your inspection. All other family members, including children and pets, will need to be outside in the garden or somewhere other than in your home. If you cannot arrange this or refuse to, your inspection cannot take place, and your mutual exchange request could be postponed or cancelled. Please make sure you have planned ahead so that only 1 person attends your inspection.

You must wear a face mask

Please wear a face mask during your inspection. Unless you are exempt, and can show us evidence of this, you must wear a face mask throughout the inspection. Our staff will also wear personal protective equipment, including a face mask.

We will film the inspection

Our officers will film the whole inspection and share this film with the household you want to exchange with. To limit the amount of time we’re in your home, our officers will film the inspection on their phones rather than using professional filming equipment. The video will start as soon as we enter your property, and finish when we leave your property.

You cannot invite your exchange household

You cannot invite the household you are exchanging homes with to your inspection. We need to follow government social distancing guidelines, so we must minimise the number of people in your home during the inspection.

We’ll send all paperwork to you

We’ll send paperwork to you via post or email, depending on what you prefer. When it arrives please complete and send it on as soon as possible. Don’t worry, our staff will speak with you to find out how you would like to receive it and be clear about how to complete it.

What if you’re self-isolating or in lockdown?

If you’re self-isolating or think you have Covid-19 symptoms, please let us know as soon as you can. It’s very important that you tell us in advance or when we call you to carry out your health assessment, so we can reschedule your exchange inspection if necessary. If you do not let us know, your mutual exchange may not be able to go ahead.

What if you don’t follow these guidelines?

If we feel that you are putting yourself, your family and our staff at risk by failing to follow these guidelines, we support our officers to refuse to enter your property to carry out your inspection. This means your mutual exchange will be delayed or possibly cancelled. We want to continue offering this service to you, but our priority is always the safety of our staff and customers. We cannot compromise on this, especially at the moment when the risk is so high. We do hope you will support us to keep everyone safe.

Further information

For government advice on home moving during the coronavirus outbreak visit

Find out more information about home swapping (mutual exchanges) and how to move house.

If you have a query about mutual exchanges that is not covered in the links above you can contact our friendly Customer Contact Centre.