Your tenancy agreement is a legal document and tells you all the rules about living in your property. Different council tenants have different tenancies. These give you different rights and responsibilities.
New tenants may be offered an introductory tenancy, which usually last up to 12 months.
You automatically become a secure or flexible tenant after 12 months, unless we have:
- started action to evict you
- extended your introductory tenancy for a further 6 months
There are limits to what you can do with an introductory tenancy, for example you cannot:
- make major improvements to your property
- swap your property with another council tenant
- apply to buy your property through the Right to Buy scheme
A secure tenancy allows you to live on a long term basis in the property, as long as you do not break the conditions of your tenancy agreement.
- rent out rooms - but you cannot sub-let the whole property
- buy your property through the Right to Buy scheme
- swap your home with another council or housing association tenant - with our permission
- transfer your tenancy to someone else in some circumstances (see assigning your tenancy) make improvements to your home - but you’ll need permission from us for certain types of work
- normally live in the property for the rest of your life, as long as you do not break the conditions of the tenancy.
Under a joint tenancy, all tenants share equal responsibility.
You can apply for a joint tenancy at any time if you’re married or in a registered civil partnership. You must usually have lived together at the property for at least 12 months if you’re a cohabiting couple or related (like brother and sister).
Assigning a tenancy is one of the ways a tenancy can be legally transferred or ‘signed over’ from one person to another during their lifetime.
Assigning a tenancy does not create a new tenancy and can only be done by obtaining a legal document called a Deed of Assignment.
You can sometimes assign or 'sign over' a council or housing association tenancy if you want to:
- transfer your tenancy to a partner or family member who lives with you
- swap homes with another council or housing association tenant
If you want to swap homes find out about 'mutual exchange' rules
If you want to assign your tenancy to a partner or family member, you must:
- check you have the right to assign to them
- provide evidence that they live with you
- complete a 'deed of assignment'
If you don't follow the correct steps, the person you assign to could be at risk of eviction
Your assignment may be refused for the following reasons:
- You have not made an arrangement to clear any debts that you owe to us
- The person you wish to assign to does not live with you at the property
- The person you wish to assign to has not lived with you for over 12 months
- The property you live in is deemed too large for the person you want to assign it to
You will need to complete a Request for Assignment of Tenancy form and return to us by email at email@example.com or by post to Coastal House, 17-19 Abingdon Street, Blackpool, FY1 1DG.
Once we have received your application form, we will look at your case and advise you in writing if you have the right to assign your tenancy.
If we agree that your tenancy can be assigned, we will ask you to complete the Deed of Assignment documents. The person you are signing your tenancy over to will also need to complete this with you.
We will then change the details on the tenancy and a letter will be sent out to confirm that the assignment has taken place.
All tenancy rights and responsibilities pass from the original tenant to the new tenant.
- When you assign your tenancy over, you will lose all of your rights to that tenancy. Please think carefully before proceeding.
- The new tenant could ask you to leave the property – if you had nowhere else to go you could be at risk of becoming homeless.
- An assignment of tenancy could have an effect on the households entitlement to Housing Benefit
A ‘mutual exchange’ - is when you swap your home with another council or housing association tenant.
It's different to a tenancy transfer where you ask to move to another council or housing association home when one is available.
With an exchange, you must:
- find someone to swap homes with
- get written permission from BCH
- complete the legal paperwork
If you swap homes without permission from BCH or without the necessary documents, you will both be at risk of eviction.