Assignment of tenancy

This is a brief report to explain the rights of a tenant wishing to assign/succeed a tenancy to a member of their family.

What is an assignment?

An assignment is a transfer of tenancy.  The Housing Act 1985 states that a tenant can assign their tenancy to:

Their husband / wife / partner or a member of their family which includes:

  • Parents
  • Grandparents
  • Children
  • Grandchildren over the age of 16
  • Brother and sisters
  • Uncles and aunts
  • Nephews and nieces

The above categories include step relations, half relation, illegitimate children and people who are living together as husband and wife.

The housing department defines partner as being a husband and wife relationship, the law includes a relationship between a couple of the same sex.

How do I apply to assign my tenancy?

Tenants will need to contact their housing officer using the details on this page, who will assist in completing an application form and explain the law and procedure in full.

What happens if the tenancy is Introductory?

Introductory tenancies are granted to all new tenants, unless they have transferred from another council or housing association property. An introductory tenancy is granted for 12 months, before it becomes secure.

For introductory tenants, the same rules on assignment apply, however, the tenancy will remain Introductory, until the 12 month period has passed.

Does the person they wish to assign the tenancy to need to be living at the property?

In all cases the person tenant’s wish to assign the tenancy to must be living in the property as his/her only principle home.

If the person tenant’s wish to assign the tenancy to is not your husband, wife or partner he/she will also need to prove that they have lived at the property for the last 12 months.

How does the council reach a decision on a tenant’s application to assign tenancy?

If a tenant wishes to assign the tenancy to their husband/wife/partner they will be permitted to do so, provided that they are living at their property as their only or main home, and there have been no previous successions or assignments.

If a tenant wishes to assign their tenancy to a family member who is not their husband/wife/partner we will ask him/her to prove that they have lived at the property for the last 12 months. In addition we will also consider:

  • If the property is the right size for the remaining occupants.
  • If the property has been adapted to be used by a disabled person, the housing department will need to ensure that at least one of the remaining occupants needs this type of adapted property.
  • If there has been any previous successions or assignments.
  • If there are any breaches of tenancy

How quickly will a decision be made?

A decision will be made within 28 days of receiving an application.

If the tenancy can be assigned, the tenant will be invited to the local housing office, with the person they wish to assign. They will both be asked to sign to agree to the assignment.

If there are any outstanding rent arrears, the person accepting the tenancy must accept responsibility for the repayment of the arrears.

Are there any other occasions when a tenancy can be assigned?

The court has the power to order the assignment of tenancies in certain circumstances, e.g. divorce proceedings, between spouses, former spouses, and couples who are living together or have lived together as husband and wife (at the present time this does not include couples of the same sex).

The information provided here is designed as a guide to tenant’s rights, however, it does not provide a full explanation of the law.