You can swap your home with another council or housing association tenant in Lambeth or anywhere else in the country, provided your landlord agrees.

This is known as a mutual exchange. Both partners in the exchange will need to obtain permission from their respective landlords for the exchange to go ahead.

1. Mutual exchange

Benefits of mutual exchange

  • It provides a broader range of choices regarding the size, type and location of your home.
  • It gives you the opportunity to find a home that is suitable for the needs of you and your family.
  • If you consider swapping with someone outside of London, you may benefit from a cheaper cost of living.

Who qualifies for this service

Anyone living in council or housing association accommodation can exchange their home subject to approval from both landlords.

Tenants of private landlords, homeowners and people living in shared ownership properties do not qualify for the scheme

Arrange a mutual exchange

A mutual exchange can be arranged independently. There is no formal application process if you do it this way. Both applicants' landlords will however need to give their approval. You should contact your landlord directly for more information.

Tips for success at mutual exchange

The exchange is more likely to be successful if:

  • you try to be as flexible as possible about the area and type of property you consider to increase your chances of finding a suitable swap partner
  • both parties are interested in an exchange, arrangements should be made for a mutually convenient time for a viewing
  • you make sure you know what kind of tenancy you will be taking on as there are differences between local authority and housing association tenancies (your landlord will be able to advise you on this)
  • you are interested in eventually buying the property, check you are able as many housing associations homes cannot be bought by tenants
  • you make sure you can afford the removal expenses. If you are claiming income support, you could qualify for a Budgeting loan.

If you give or receive money or goods to secure an exchange, or exchange without your landlord's permission you could be evicted and even fined

Mutual exchange websites

A free mutual exchange website to find someone to exchange with: Lambeth House Exchange
There is also this useful website to find someone to exchange with which you will need to pay a small fee to use: HomeSwapper

2. Seaside and Country Homes (SCH)

Seaside and Country Homes (SCH) is a national scheme providing council and housing association tenants with an opportunity to move to the seaside or country, freeing homes in high demand in London. The scheme has about 3,500 flats and bungalows located across the country.

Who qualifies for this scheme

Lambeth Council and housing association tenants who can live independently without support who are:

  • applicants (including joint applicants) over 60 years old
  • applicants moving from an under-occupied home or a property that can help the council meet local housing needs.

Benefits of the scheme

You:

  • have a choice regarding the size, type and location of your home
  • may benefit from a cheaper cost of living by moving out of London
  • will help someone less fortunate by making your home available to someone who is homeless or in housing need
  • may still qualify for benefits, even if you have savings or private pensions, if you move.

Apply for the scheme

To apply:

  • complete a registration form on the housing moves website
  • your details will be entered onto a national mobility database
  • applications for the scheme are considered using a points system.

The number of points an applicant is awarded depends on personal circumstances, such as the size and location of the current property and the level of housing needs within the borough.

The application process

  • When a property becomes available, it is offered to the applicant with the most points, who will be invited to view the property.
  • If the applicant decides not to take it, the next applicant on the list will be given the opportunity to visit the property and so on, until the property is let.
  • All applicants will be made a second offer if the first property does not suit them, or if the timing of the offer is particularly inconvenient, e.g. hospital treatment, family bereavement.
  • Only three properties in total will be offered, after which the applicant will be removed from the scheme.
  • The position on the list will vary as applicants with larger properties are always given priority in order to assist the local housing needs.
  • Cats and dogs are usually allowed in bungalows and flats with private entrances but not allowed in flats with communal entrances.
  • Permission to keep a Hearing or Guide Dog is likely to be granted providing there is responsible dog ownership and no nuisance is caused to other residents.

Important considerations before you decide to move:

Before you decide if this scheme is right for you, it is important that you consider the following:

  • some properties may be isolated from shops and local or cultural services
  • public transport may be less frequent
  • it may be difficult to leave family and cultural ties behind in London
  • once you move through the scheme, moving back to council or housing association housing in London is not always possible and you may wait for a long time to be relocated.

Tenants do not have the right to buy their SCH property

More information

Seaside and Country Homes
Housingmoves
3rd floor, City Hall
The Queens Walk
London
SE1 2AA
Telephone: 08450 21 20 20

3. Transfer Incentive Scheme

We encourage tenants who are under-occupying their property, to move to smaller homes that meet their needs through our Transfer Incentive Scheme.

We also encourage people to move to general purpose accommodation if they no longer require their wheelchair-adapted property.

We do not currently have enough larger and wheelchair-adapted homes to meet demand in Lambeth

If you are a Lambeth Council tenant and you qualify for the scheme, we will ensure that as an incentive you are given high priority for a move to an area of your choice within Lambeth.

We will also pay you £500 for each bedroom you give up when you move to a smaller home or £500 for every wheelchair-adapted property you no longer need.

We will pay for reasonable removal costs if the move is within Lambeth

Who qualifies for this scheme?

  • Lambeth Council tenants.
  • You must be living in a property with two or more bedrooms and want to move to a property with fewer bedrooms.
  • Alternatively you may be living in a wheelchair-adapted property, which you no longer require and want to move to general-purpose accommodation.
  • You must have adhered to the conditions of your tenancy.
  • You must have no rent arrears, or be willing to agree with the council that the incentive can be used as payment to clear any arrears you do have.

Benefits of the scheme:

  • you have high priority for a move to an area of your choice
  • you will get £500 for each bedroom you give up when you move to a smaller home or £500 for every wheelchair-adapted property you no longer need
  • you get a home that better suits your needs, plus you help someone less fortunate than yourself
  • your running costs, such as gas and electricity charges, will be reduced in a smaller home
  • we will pay for your removal and connection costs if you move to another home in Lambeth.

What to expect from the scheme

  • Applying does not commit you to anything and you will have the final say about where you move.
  • You can bid for council or housing association homes.
  • You may be able to move more quickly if you bid as widely and regularly as possible.
  • If you are aged 60 or over, or 55 and over with a disability, you can bid for a property in a Sheltered Housing Scheme, subject to eligibility.

Moving out of Lambeth

Although you can move out of Lambeth through the scheme, very few properties in other areas become available. Those that do become available, we advertise through our Choice Based Lettings scheme and everybody can bid for them in the usual way.

We won’t pay your removal expenses if you move out of Lambeth

Claims for the incentive payment must be made within 28 days of moving. Please note that the incentive fund is cash limited and may be stopped at any time. Assistance with removals is not covered unless agreed in advance.

Housing associations

You may be able to move more quickly if you also consider moving to a home that is managed by a housing association. Housing association homes are advertised alongside council properties through our Choice Based Lettings scheme.

This can mean we have a better chance of finding you the right place to live in. However, if you do become a tenant of a housing association, you may no longer have the right to buy your home.

Sheltered housing

If you are aged 55 or over, you may choose to move into one of our sheltered-housing schemes. Sheltered housing offers totally independent living in your own flat in a secure environment, with a sheltered housing officer available to offer you support if you need or want it.

4. Wheelchair adapted properties

Wheelchair adapted properties are homes that have been specifically adapted for people with physical disabilities. Some are purpose-built while others have been adapted to suit the individual needs of a tenant.

Wheelchair-standard housing

This type of housing is specifically built or adapted for permanent wheelchair users. Features include:

  • self contained houses or flats located on the ground floor
  • wider doorways and passages to allow wheelchair users to move around comfortably
  • some bathrooms have walk-in showers with built-in seating and others have baths with hoists that allow the user to be lowered into the bath
  • kitchen units are lower for easy access and electrical switches and sockets are within easy reach
  • some adapted houses have lifts, giving the wheelchair user the freedom to move around their home.

More information

Contact your Area Housing Office for more information. Please note that the cash incentive is only available for moves through our Choice Based Lettings scheme and is not available if your move to a smaller home independently.

5. Mobility-standard housing

The type of adaptation found in a mobility-standard home depends on the disability of the person living there. It can have:

  • ramps outside the home
  • handrails in corridors and bathrooms
  • toilets that have been raised
  • stairlifts for people living in houses and maisonettes.

Anyone on the housing register can apply for an adapted property

Applying for an adapted property

To access wheelchair and mobility housing, you need to be medically assessed as suitable by a community occupational therapist and a medical assessment officer who will then recommend the type of home we can offer you. The medical recommendation is noted on your application and you will be able to bid for suitable properties through Choice Based Lettings.

  • If you are a private tenant, you must register for a council property.
  • If you are already on our Housing Register, contact your caseworker who will arrange for a medical assessment.
  • If you are applying for the first time, one of the questions on the application form asks if anyone in your home has a disability. If you answer 'yes' to this question, your caseworker will arrange for a medical assessment to be carried out.

Benefits of wheelchair and mobility housing:

  • allows you to move to a home that has been specifically adapted to meet the needs of people with disabilities
  • adaptations can be made to help you remain in your own home, promoting a stable home environment and maintaining local connections.

For further advice about this scheme, please contact:

Housing Options and Advice Service
Telephone: 020 7926 4200
Email: housingoptions@lambeth.gov.uk