FAQs for professionals

How long does it take?

Once we have the completed property request form and received approval from the applicant’s landlord, we can circulate the property request within a week. We are however unable to give a timescale on a property offer being made as it depends on properties becoming available in the boroughs requested. If there is an immediate risk please support your client to access temporary accommodation while waiting for a property offer through the Pan-London Housing Reciprocal.

My client needs refuge/ emergency accommodation

The Pan-London Housing Reciprocal is not an emergency accommodation scheme as moves can take time. If your client is at immediate risk in their home, please support them to access emergency accommodation before making a referral to the Pan-London Housing Reciprocal. It is essential that they do not relinquish their social tenancy while accessing emergency accommodation.

Can I make a referral for a family in temporary accommodation?

If the family had a social tenancy before being placed in TA, yes. It would be their original landlord who would need to approve their referral rather than the local authority who placed them in TA.

Is it a housing swap system?

The Pan-London Housing Reciprocal works as a ‘central pot’ rather than a direct swap between two applicants. If a family is successfully rehoused, their landlord will owe a property to the scheme and the landlord who rehoused them will be owed a property. As coordinator, Safer London keeps track of properties owed and ensures the system is fair for all partners. We advise against direct swaps due to the risks associated such as perpetrators harassing the new tenants or the previous address being disclosed.  

Will the scheme pay for my client’s relocation or offer any additional support?

No. The referring agency needs to ensure that appropriate risk assessments are completed and sufficient support is provided including support around resettlement. A diagram with some additional considerations for those fleeing domestic abuse and other VAWG strands can be accessed here. For those at risk of harm from gangs, please see our gang-related referrals flowchart for more details. 

What is my role as nominating officer?

As Nominating Officer, you will be the main point of contact for the applicant, Safer London and any landlord making a property offer. Please stay in touch with the applicant and inform Safer London of any update including if the applicant no longer needs to move.

What is a Named Lead?

Each local authority or housing association signed up to the scheme has at least one designated Named Lead who will lead on approval reciprocal requests for their tenants. Please contact Safer London to find out a specific Named Lead contact.

Will my client be able to choose the area and property type?

The purpose of the Pan-London Housing Reciprocal is to enable quick moves to areas where your client is not at risk, therefore increasing their safety. We match property offers with requests based on the number of bedrooms requested and the boroughs requested. We recommend applicants to include as many boroughs as possible where they would be safe and willing to move to. Property offers will reflect the existing social housing stock in London and as such are likely to be flats on estates.

What if the perpetrator is still living in the property?

Local authorities/registered providers are responsible for action relating to the perpetrator who may still be residing in the property. Where necessary and safe to do so, this can include eviction proceedings. When approving a reciprocal move for one of their tenants, the landlord agrees to owe a property to the Pan London Housing Reciprocal, whether or not they have evicted or moved the perpetrator from the property.

What is Safer London’s role?

Safer London’s role is to provide central coordination for reciprocal moves. Safer London will support moves between boroughs through keeping the central contact list up-to-date, receiving and disseminating requests and then tracking when offers are made. Safer London will ensure the centralised system is fair, with a cap which means that housing partners cannot make more than three successful referrals without successfully reciprocating a property to another borough or provider.