Your Mutual Exchange – Remember it’s Taken as Seen so do the checks first

I have so many members (and non-members) telling me how they have problems with repairs after exchanging properties. Some seem to be general repairs like a broken window handle and other repairs are more serious like holes in walls and broken electrics.

So you are going to view the property. Hopefully you will view it more than once, but either way please take note of a few things. If the current tenant doesn’t want you looking around (in cupboards and under sinks etc) ask why? Certainly act with a bit of caution.

I suggest that you check the:
Condition of walls and ceiling plaster (cracks,
holes in interior walls)
Operation of central heating and heaters
(ensure all radiators heat up and the tenant
shows you how to use them)
Operation/condition of windows and check
for missing/broken handles/catches. Are all
the window lock keys available?
Condition of doors (surface damage and
Condition of electrical fittings (light switches
and fittings, sockets, extractor fans, alarms)
Condition of kitchen units (check for loose
doors and drawer fronts, check everything
Condition of plumbing items generally (check
sinks, basins, bath and WCs for leaks, test
taps and flush WCs, dripping taps)
Finally and most importantly, check with the
current occupier which items they intend to
take with them when they move out. There
have been occasions when tenants have
fitted their own gas fire, for example, and
taken it when they leave.
Result: new occupier had no gas fire!!
If possible take photos.
Also, make a list of things that are being left. Make sure both parties sign this.

In theory, landlords should inspect each property. The landlords should then have their own list. In practice, I am not aware of any statistics that are available to show that landlords really do a complete a thorough check. The problems arise for tenants when some do the check and stick to it rigidly, thus the new tenant can’t have any repairs done for quite a while. I have heard of one case – “No repairs for three years”!
Other landlords are more flexible.
But you have to remember, that when you agree to exchange your property you do so on the premise that it is “Taken as Seen”. So if you don’t look properly, you won’t know of any problems that may be hiding and that may come back to haunt you at a later date. If the current tenant says that they are due a new bathroom or kitchen etc – ask for the paperwork.

I am not saying that you shouldn’t trust anyone – just take a few precautions. Do your own checks. If no time – ask to come back again. Ask for the landlords copy of their inspection results as well.

Most exchanges go well but please be prepared when viewing. This could be the house of your dreams. For some – its been a nightmare.


  1. Admin Deb

    You shouldn’t be responsible for wall decoration – its personal taste. As for the other stuff – if you signed for the property and accepted it “as seen” then you will now be held responsible. The only thing I can suggest is that you ask your landlord for a copy of the inspection that should have been done before you exchanged. It may be that they noted these things down when the inspection was done. Good luck.

  2. Keria

    I done a mutual exchange 2 months ago, i moved from a decorated ground floor flat to a very unclean un decorated second floor but it was in the perfecr area and location so hay ylu carnt have everything! Plus im enjoying decorating!
    Move day was a complete nightmare, other tennant was not prepared at all she even still has items in my loft she said she would be back for (along with the big pile of rubbish the council luckly took) we even got put back a week day before moving anyway we ended up helping move all the other tennants belongings as ‘their van fell through’ this was an agreement we made the day before we would help with any large items onto our van and take to our old place we agreed via text message she would pay £40 this is the amount she said she was going to pay the hire company which wasnt really much considering the amount of items that needed carrying down stairs and onto van and after petrol. Any way the tennant decided not to mention payment in the hope we wouldnt ask i guess? However after being left for 2 hours with my parent’s unloading her flat down and onto the van she was out with her partner as they had been having some ‘personal issues’ then finally at 10pm when we arrived to collect the van to find it still had everything in she had decided to kept the van for the night an unload in the morning knowing i was waiting in the area to collect it after this we decided to ask about the £40 and was told they didnt have the money and that they had put electric on at old property (all that was left on them were debts!) And when she had it she would let me know i didnt hear anything more from the tennant untill last week when she told me dhe wanted to come and collect her belongings in the loft i didnt reply to her message as ive been really busy and totally forgot about it plus didnt know of a time at that moment where i could make time for the tannant to empty the rest of the loft so a week after i didnt reply i get a messge from her saying she is going to take me to a small claims court obviously i have no worries as i havent disposed or damaged her items but she has no list or anyrhing of what she is saying shes left (to be honest i havent even looked) but i just wondering if you all think im in my right to hold this property untill she pays as said becuase i think this would be in her best interest as she has already stated to me that the items amount to a much grater sum of £40

  3. Admin Deb

    I’m sorry that I haveb’t answered straight away. I’ve thought anout this a lot. To be honest do you really want all of this hassle? She can’t take you to a small claims court because this will be classed as a civil matter.
    I would just give her the stuff in the loft and forget about the £40. DO NOT let her into your property. Take photos of the loft and its contents then put her stuff in bags and leave them outside BUT still on your property. Give her one week to collect the bags. If she doesn’t collect you can then dispose of her stuff. Make sure she knows and understands what will be happening.
    Good luck.

  4. Maggie Moo

    I have been offered a property. A bungalow in exchange for my Ground floor flat. They say they cannot manage the garden any longer – fair enough. Anyhow, I went to view the property and I just dont know where to begin… so i will say what I saw and what I plan to do. Hopefully you will all be able to advise me if this is the right course of action. Right! Here we go… apparently they had the water tank in the roof explode, thus flooding the bungalow. There is black mold damp above and around the living room window, above the kicthen window, above the bathroom window and some cracks in the wall in the kitchen. Now… they say the council have been out and looked at it all and that everything is OK and that they have just been advised to ventilate and heat. Now… this is where I am confused. The property looks like its never been appreciated or looked after. No decor seems to have ever been done. damage to doors. paint cracking and peeling off the bathroom wall, peeling in the lounge…. its so hard to work out if this is all because of the damp/flood….. OR neglect. or BOTH. I have to question if they have attempted to truly deal with the mold, if they ever really heat the home. I am also concerned about them saying that they get flying ants in an internal cupboard! i have only ever known people to get them near outside walls / doors…. I can see soooooo much potential for this little bungalow, can see beyond the damage, can see beyond the messy overgrown garden….BUT… I am just an everyday person, im not a construction surveyor or an expert in structural issues. I have tried to make enquiries but were told that unless I sign forms, they cant divulge information to me due to confidentiality. So this was my plan…. sign the forms, provide as much information about my concerns as possible, ask as many questions as possible in writing. Ask to see all reports about the initial flood/water tank incident and what actions were taken, if they did a structural assesement etc…. now… my logic tells me and my intuition that this is partially a neglect problem on the part of the tenants… I noticed the council have recently spent money installing a 6 foot secure fence and gate at the property….so my mind says why spend money on it and allow them to continue living there if its unihabitable. I guess I just have to get as much info as possible and make a decision after. Can i request they take abother look at the damage and do tests again? Really am at a loss what to do… i could easily do what others have done and RUN…..but I feel I need to at least give the property and the council a chance to provide me with some answers in hope they reveal that the property just needs someone who will show it love and respect, and that the mold issue can be resolved over time. Thanks in advance

  5. Admin Deb

    The most telling comment from you is that you can see potential in the bungalow. That ultimately is your answer. Black mould can be gotten rid of. The garden can be dug. Decoration is to personal taste.
    The landlord has to abide by the law and make the bungalow safe for a tenant. For you. It may take a while but you can get it to the state that YOU want to live in. Bear in mind that they are under no obligation to provide you with the paperwork you are asking for – it will just delay the time in which someone can move in. All landlords have to get properties filled asap. If you sign for it just make sure that the landlord will not charge you for repairs that were caused by problems that occurred before you take possession. Good luck.

  6. Carlie

    I’m going through a mutual exchange, it’s 4wks today that my HA received my forms etc & I have not heard a thing, no acknowledgement letters, nothing, I’ve rang & emailed them to chase it up & all I get told is “it takes 42 days please be patient” I do understand this but I really want this exchange so have everything crossed! The lady I’m exchanging with has received a letter from her landlord for the electrical & property inspection, that’s being done next week! I rang my HA again today they said the lady is running behind & I should receive the acknowledgment letter by the end of this week! That’s fine but I still have no clue as to when my inspections will happen, is this normal this late on into the 6wk period? Can an exchange go over the 42 days?

    Thank you

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