A tenancy agreement serves as a legal agreement bound by terms and conditions that the undersigning parties agree to while a living space is rented out.  An Introductory Tenancy is considered to be a 12 month trial period for tenants during which their rights to exchange property or make modifications to it are limited. 

While a Secure Tenancy secures your occupancy in the council house for life; unless you break any tenancy rules stated in the agreement. In this case, you may sub-let rooms in the property but not the entire premises. 

On the other hand, a Flexible Tenancy is usually for a fixed term of 2 to 5 years; at the end of which the council may decide to offer you a renewed contract on similar terms, offer a secure tenancy or not renew at any terms at all. 

And, finally, under a Joint Tenancy contract, you and the joint tenant both become liable for rent 

Can I Transfer My Council House Tenancy To Someone Else?

Yes, you can transfer your council house tenancy to someone else but certain conditions need to be met for the transfer both by the tenant as well the individual to whom the council house is being transferred. This is only possible with the formal permission of your local council office.

You can either transfer your council house tenancy through succession or assignment. In case of succession tenancy, the council house tenant nominates an individual (usually a close family member) who may continue with their council house tenancy in the event of their death. In this case, one must remember that even though council houses can be passed down through succession but this can only be applied once per the tenancy agreement. For instance, if the tenancy has passed down from one person to another, the successor will not be able to pass it down again. 

The only exception to this rule may be the permission for “second succession” or “discretionary succession” granted by local council authorities in their council tenancy agreement with renters.

In case of a tenancy being assigned to another individual, council housing tenants need to file an application for transfer of tenancy with their local council office. This may either be due to the current tenant moving out of council premises or seeking a mutual exchange of council property with someone else. In the case of the former, it is essential for both parties to be living in the council house in question for a minimum period of 12 months.

In addition to this, the type of tenancy also plays an important role in deciding on the succession of a renter. Let’s analyse the different situations that apply in the case of succession of tenancy:

  • The succession of a council house in case of joint tenancy: A joint succession agreement includes two (or more) tenants as the renters who share the responsibility of maintaining responsibilities towards the property. In this case, if one tenant dies, the tenancy is automatically passed on to the surviving tenant. However, it is essential for the successor to maintain the council property as their main residence.
  • The succession of a council house in case of sole tenancy: In most cases, council house tenancy can be passed down to the surviving partner/spouse/civil or unmarried partner of a deceased tenant through “succession rights”. However, it is essential for the partner to be living in the council house at the time of the demise of their partner in whose name the tenancy agreement is. In some cases, it may also be passed down to close family members if the deceased is your parent or grandparent, aunt or uncle, brother or sister, child, grandchild, niece or nephew.

In case of tenancy transfer through discretionary succession, the following terms need to be met by claimants:

  • Be a spouse or partner of the deceased council tenant, have lived at their council property as their main residence and should have been living with the deceased at the time of their death; or
  • Be the deceased’s parent, grandparent, adult child, grandchild or sibling, have lived with them for a minimum period of five years, in their council house as the main residence of the claimant. 

To learn more about council housing tenancy transfers, we will explore the following topics:

  • How Can I Transfer Tenenancy Under Discretionary Succession Rights?
  • Can Council House Be Transferred Without Succession Rights?
  • Can I Transfer My Council House To My Daughter?
  • How Can I Transfer Council Tenancy Through Mutual Exchange?

How Can I Transfer Tenenancy Under Discretionary Succession Rights?

To claim discretionary succession rights under secure tenancy, the following terms must be kept in view by claimants as councils will be basing their decisions while considering them:

  • If the deceased tenant is only survived by a minor child(ren), the council authority will ask for a trustee to be appointed from their immediate family. In rare cases, housing association charities may serve as the trust under which the children continue to live at the premises.
  • In the case of a flexible tenancy in place, it is essential for the claiming spouse or partner to have shared the premises with the deceased for at least a year.
  • When there is more than one claimant for discretionary succession, the council expects the family members to make their choice in deciding who to nominate from the benefit of discretionary succession. If they fail to do so, the council has the authority to choose from the best option in their view.
  • If the discretionary successor is spouse or partner, they can continue living in the same council house for which the claim is being made. However, in the case of any other successor, the council has the right to assess the resident’s needs due to a change in the number of household members and re-assign another council property depending on the bedroom standard.

Can Council House Be Transferred Without Succession Rights?

There are times when someone without succession rights would like to stay in a council house vacated either by the tenant’s choice to move out or their death. In such a situation, the interested party may file an application with the local council or the housing association landlord.

Their application has a greater chance of acceptance if the previous tenant was under a secure tenancy agreement and if the current applicant:

  • had been sharing the council house with the previous tenant for at least one year
  • had been taking care of the previous tenant
  • had taken the responsibility of the previous tenant’s children (if any)

If the applicant fulfils any of the above criteria, the council may consider allowing them to continue with living in the same property under a new tenancy agreement or find more suitable council housing premises for them.

Can I Transfer My Council House To My Daughter?

Yes, you can transfer your council house to your daughter if you are able to fulfil the following conditions:

  • The council house is her main home
  • She has lived there for at least 12 months 
  • It is a secure tenancy
  • There is no partner to inherit the council housing tenancy

If the tenancy agreement of the premises in question started before April 1, 2012, your daughter will gain succession rights to the council house. However, if the tenancy agreement started on or after April 1, 2012, she will have succession rights only if she meets all the conditions that are pre-set in the tenancy agreement.

If you and your daughter were joint tenants to the council housing property, she will become the sole tenant if you move out of the premises. However, if there has already been a previous succession of the property in question, a second succession may not be possible; until there is an exception made by council authorities.

How Can I Transfer Council Tenancy Through Mutual Exchange?

While you can swap your council house; however, the amount of time it takes will depend upon finding another property and the terms on which you are leaving the previous council house.

When a tenant is looking for another council housing tenant who is also intending to move, it is called “mutual exchange” as the decision to swap council houses depends upon a mutual agreement between both parties involved. You can either look for a swapping partner through your local council or through a mutual exchange website.

It must be kept in mind that you are required to first inform your local council or social housing landlord about your decision to move and then register yourself through council/housing association/private websites such as HomeSwapper or Home & Property Markets | House Buying & Improvements to search for your future property.

Once you and your landlord/council are in agreement, you can register yourself on the council’s website and list your council house as available for mutual exchange. You can easily find a swapping partner through the same website (if you haven’t already found one before making the decision to swap).

Your tenancy type and your eligibility for priority housing will play a very important role in the amount of time that it will take to find another council house to swap with.

Conclusion:

Whether or not someone can claim tenancy transfer depends upon two main factors:

  • the type of tenancy 
  • succession rights

Secure and Flexible tenants can easily transfer their tenancy through succession rights, while Introductory tenants may not. However, for a child to be able to claim succession rights over their parent’s council property, there needs to be an absence of a partner; whether spouse or unmarried partner. In the case of a surviving partner, the first right of succession is granted to them and it will be at their discretion to allow children to share the premises with them. 

FAQs: Can I Transfer My Council House Tenancy To Someone Else?

Can I give my council tenancy to someone else?

Council housing tenants can request their local council or housing association to assign the tenancy of their council house to someone else, however, the final decision rests at the discretion of council authorities.

Can you change the name on a tenancy agreement?

Yes, you can change the name on a tenancy agreement as long as you, is the tenant, your landlord and the person in whose name the agreement is to be changed to, are all in agreement with regards to the terms and conditions.

How do I do a tenancy transfer?

To apply for a tenancy transfer you should contact your council office or housing association. They will ask you to fill a request form online to proceed further.

Can I swap my council house?

Yes, you can swap your council house by taking permission from your council housing landlord. In certain cases, tenants tend to find another council housing tenant who is looking to swap their house and if all parties agree, the exchange can take place quickly.

What is a tenant transfer?

If a tenant wants to leave the property that they are renting and would like to nominate someone else to continue in their place, this is termed as a tenant transfer.

References:

Can I pass on my Council tenancy to someone else?

Giving your tenancy to someone else | Your council tenancy | The Highland Council

Transferring your Tenancy

Council housing: Types of tenancy – GOV.UK

Can_you_inherit_a_council_tenancy

Tenancy agreement changes and transfers | nidirect

Staying in your council home when someone dies

Taking over a tenancy

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