The aim of this blog post is to help its readers in answering the question of whether or not a partner can move in with a housing association tenant. For this purpose, we will discuss the different types of housing association tenancies and how they affect tenants’ rights. We will also discuss the options of maintaining your previous tenancy agreement or converting it to a joint tenancy when your partner moves in with you.
Can My Partner Move Into My Housing Association Home?
Yes, your partner can move into your Housing Association home unless your tenancy agreement states that you are not allowed to have an additional occupant in your housing association home. However, it is advisable to inform your housing association landlord in advance about your partner’s intention to move in with you.
While in most cases you will not have difficulty in letting your partner move into your housing association home, you should confirm this change of living conditions with your social housing landlord to avoid any misunderstanding in the future.
If your partner moves in with you, both of you will also need to decide whether they will continue living with only your name on the tenancy agreement or a new tenancy agreement that needs to be drawn up indicating the two of you as joint tenants.
Some housing association landlords prefer that when couples (whether they are married or partners) start to live together, the tenancy agreement for the premises is converted to a joint tenancy so that the responsibilities of a tenant (mainly rental payments and maintenance of the premises) are equally divided between both individuals and they can be held accountable to abide by the terms of their tenancy agreement.
However, you must bear in mind that once your partner moves in with you, there will be some consequences affecting your benefits and taxes. Some of these are:
If you were living alone or as the sole adult in your house before your partner moved in, you would have been getting a 25% discount on your council tax bill. You will not be able to get this discount anymore and will be required to pay a full council tax bill when your partner moves in.
If you were claiming Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, your benefits payments will be reduced when your partner moves in. The reason for this is that their income (whether through earnings or benefits) will also be taken into account for your means test which affects your eligibility for benefits claim.
How Does The Type Of Tenancy Determine Housing Association Tenant’s Rights?
In most cases, the type of tenancy you hold will determine the rights you have as a housing association tenant.
- You start your housing association tenancy on a Starter Tenancy contract. This is generally known as the trial period tenancy which is offered to new housing tenants as the period of tenancy is usually 12 months. Upon completion of the trial period, they are offered an assured or fixed-term tenancy agreement.
- If you are offered the Assured Tenancy on successful completion of your Starter Tenancy, you can continue living in the property that you are currently in, for as long as you wish to. This gives you the right to have a lodger live with you, buy your housing association home, swap your house through mutual exchange or carry out repairs on your own.
- When a housing association tenant is offered a Fixed Term Tenancy it means that their tenancy is fixed for a term of usually 5 years. The term of the tenancy is subject to renewal at the discretion of the housing association landlord.
Both Assured and Fixed Term tenancies allow tenants to purchase the property that they are living in, have home repairs done on the premises, as well as swap their house with another council housing tenant under mutual exchange.
If you are unclear about the terms stated in your tenancy agreement, you should discuss them with your housing association landlord. If you find them to be uncooperative or need to file a complaint, you can contact your local councillor.
Do I Have To Add My Partner To My Housing Association Tenancy Agreement?
No, you don’t have to add your partner to your housing association tenancy agreement as they can continue living with you without being added to it. Being on the tenancy agreement means that the nature of the tenancy will be a joint one and all the individuals named on the agreement are equally responsible for performing the duties of a tenant with the main one paying the rent on time.
However, there may be times in the case of a sole tenancy when a landlord insists that one person is listed as the sole tenant and the remaining occupant(s) are listed as well. In certain cases, landlords may also limit the number of occupants who can live with the sole tenant on their property.
On the other hand, there are cases (especially in the case of unmarried couples) where landlords insist on the tenancy to be a joint one; with both partners listed as tenants. This serves as an assurance for them that in the case of a relationship breakdown, the remaining tenant will automatically become responsible for rental payments.
A joint tenancy will give you both the following rights:
- the right to stay in the property remains intact even at the end of a relationship; unless there is a court order demanding you to leave on reasonable grounds
- both occupants remain responsible for timely payments of rent as well as the protection of the property they live in
- in case one of the partners leaves the property, the remaining partner becomes responsible for rental payments.
- if both partners decide to vacate the premises, they will be required to pay the rent amounting to the end of the contract.
The above discussion has made it quite clear that a partner can move into a housing association home with someone that they are in a relationship with; unless the tenancy agreement explicitly states otherwise. However, it is advisable for the housing association tenant to inform their landlord in advance prior to the event.