Changing your tenancy
You may have a sole tenancy or a joint tenancy. This page explains how you can change your tenancy, either from a sole tenancy to a joint tenancy or from a joint tenancy to a sole tenancy. It also explains when and how a sole tenancy can be assigned.
A sole tenancy is a tenancy that is in your name, or one person’s name, only.
A joint tenancy is a tenancy that is held by more than one person. Generally, joint tenancies are held by two people, who are both named on the agreement. However, a joint tenancy can be in the names of up to 4 people.
Once a tenancy is created, we cannot simply “take people off” or “put people on” to the tenancy.
Creation of joint tenancies
If you are a sole tenant but would like another adult person or persons to be made a joint tenant, we will generally agree to a joint tenancy as long as:
- both you and the other adult(s) are agreeable to a joint tenancy being created AND
- there has not already been a succession or assignment of the tenancy AND
- your relationship is demonstrated to be of a permanent nature. In the case of a partner, this can be demonstrated by either a copy of the marriage or civil partnership certificate or by a co-habitation period of 12 months or more. In other cases, it may be demonstrated by other documents showing 12 months occupancy, such as utility bills AND
- your rent account is clear and there is no legal action pending AND
- you provide proof of identity of the prospective joint tenant(s) and proof that they have permanent residency in the UK. The prospective joint tenant (s) must be entitled to the allocation of housing.
The security of the new tenancy will be that of the original sole tenant with any Preserved Right to Buy.
A deed of assignment and a licence to assign will need to be completed by both or all tenants. This action uses up the right to succeed or assign the tenancy.
Creating a sole tenancy from a joint tenancy
If you are joint tenants, you may wish to change the tenancy so that it is in the sole name of one of the joint tenants, for example because one of the joint tenants has moved out. How this is done will depend on whether both (or all) tenants are in agreement.
a) Where both tenants are in agreement
If both tenants are in agreement, joint tenants can assign the tenancy to the sole name of either one of the parties of the original joint tenancy.
The tenancy will only be changed where the rent account is clear and no legal action is pending.
Before we agree, we will look at whether your home would be under-occupied as a result of this change. If it would be, we may refuse but offer suitable alternative accommodation.
A deed of assignment and a licence to assign will need to be completed by both tenants. This action uses up the right to succeed or assign the tenancy.
b) Where one tenant has vanished or is uncooperative
If one of the tenants has vanished or is uncooperative, then it will not be possible to assign the tenancy to a sole tenant, because both tenants must agree to this.
However, in some cases we will agree to grant a new tenancy to the remaining tenant, if the remaining tenant ends the tenancy by completing a notice of termination, giving us 4 weeks’ notice. However, we would not encourage or agree to this, unless:
- the absent joint tenant has made it quite clear by their actions that they have no intention of returning to or retaining a legal interest in, the property AND
- evidence and investigation shows that there is no chance of getting in touch with the absent tenant to confirm their intentions OR such contact could put the remaining tenant at risk.
We will normally only agree to grant a new tenancy where the rent account is clear and no legal action is pending or exclusion order etc. exists. We will also look at whether the property would be under-occupied as a result.
Where we agree, the remaining tenant will need to serve a termination notice. Once this has expired, a new tenancy is then granted to the remaining tenant making them a sole tenant.
The security of the new tenancy will be that of the original joint tenancy with any Preserved Right to Buy.
A new tenancy agreement needs to be completed by the remaining tenant and the housing officer.
Assignment of a sole tenancy to another sole tenant
If you are an existing sole tenant, you may wish to assign (transfer) your tenancy, for example because you wish to leave the property. A tenancy may only be assigned to one of the following:
- your husband or wife or civil partner or a person living with you as your husband/wife/civil partner, as long as the property is their main home
- A member of your immediate family (parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew or niece), as long as they have lived with you for at least 12 months
- where there is no husband/wife/civil partner or immediate family member, it may be assigned to another member of your family, as long as they have been living in your home as their main home for the previous 12 months.
Your tenancy can only be assigned if there has not already been a succession or assignment.
The tenancy can only be assigned where the rent account is clear and no legal action is pending.
If we agree to the assignment, a deed of assignment and a licence to assign will need to be completed by both the outgoing tenant and the new tenant.
Before we agree, we will look at whether under-occupation would be likely to result from this action. If it would be, we may refuse but offer suitable alternative accommodation.
Death of tenant
If you die, your tenancy can be passed to someone else in certain circumstances. If you are a joint tenant, the surviving tenant becomes the sole tenant of the property.