Housing association tenancy transfer (A guide)

In this brief guide, we are going to discuss housing association tenancy transfer. We will discuss the different steps and how to do it.

Housing association tenancy transfer

A housing association tenancy transfer is when your housing association landlord or local council permits you to transfer your tenancy to another housing association or council in the local area.

A housing association tenancy transfer is different from a tenancy exchange which is where you agree to swap your home with another council or housing association tenant.

If you are currently a housing association or local council tenant then chances are you are eligible for a housing association or council tenancy transfer. 

To make an application, you can simply ask your local council or housing association for the details of how to go about with a local council or housing association tenancy transfer.

You may also be able to do a tenancy transfer to a different council if you need to be near to your place of work, a school or where you are receiving medical treatment.

Transfer exchange

You may find a tenancy exchange more suitable in a scenario the council does not grant you a tenancy transfer.  

A tenancy exchange will require you to find another tenant who is willing to exchange their tenancy with yours.

How to apply for a  housing association tenancy transfer

To apply for a housing association tenancy transfer you should contact your local council or housing association and ask them about the process. 

The local council or housing association will explain how their tenancy transfer process works and provide you with free information on how you can register if there is a waiting list and when you can apply. You may also need to apply to join the council’s allocation scheme.

Your local council or housing association will also ask you why you want to move. You should explain in detail why you want to move, if you have any special needs, if you have any family problems or if the house you currently have is unsuitable for you.

You should provide any supporting documents in order to back up your claim and make it more likely that a tenancy transfer is approved. This could be a doctors note or similar.

They will provide you with a form which you will need to fill in. This may be an online or paper form.

When assessing your need for a tenancy transfer the local council or housing association will look into:

Why you want to move

If they currently have houses which may be suitable for you (If you need a much larger home then you may find you need to wait longer as these homes are in short supply but have a high demand)

If you need a specially adapted home which could make your wait much longer.

How long will a tenancy transfer take?

A tenancy transfer can take up to a few months and even years in some instances as there is a shortage of homes and in some cases, there may be a shortage of suitable homes for those who have special needs. You may have to compromise in order for you to reduce how long it takes.

Who is eligible for a tenancy transfer?

To be eligible for a local council or  housing association tenancy transfer you will need to be either:

A housing association tenant with an assured tenancy or secure tenancy

A secure council tenant

You will not be able to apply for a tenancy transfer if:

You rent a bedsit or a hostel room from the local council

You live in a care home

You live in supported housing

You are a council tenant with an introductory tenancy- if this is the case you must wait till your tenancy becomes a secure council tenancy

You are a council or housing association tenant but your tenancy has been demoted

You are a housing association tenant with a starter or assured shorthold tenancy

You or a member of your family were found guilty of serious offences.

Priority for a tenancy transfer

In some instances, you may be able to get priority for a housing association tenancy transfer or a local council tenancy transfer. Although you may have priority your application will be assessed in the same manner as those who do not have priority and you must still meet the eligibility requirements.

Below are some of these instances:

You require medical treatment and need to move to a particular area to be closer to where you get treatment from.

You have a new disability which makes your current home unsuitable for your needs.

You now have a much bigger home and your family can no longer fit in.

Your home has fallen in a state of disrepair and requires serious renovations to bring it back to a suitable level.

You may also be able to get priority for a tenancy transfer if:

The bedroom tax has shown you that you are under-occupying your home and you can no longer afford to pay rent

Your home is too big and you want to downsize.

What to do if your tenancy transfer application gets rejected?

If your tenancy transfer application gets rejected you can ask for the decision to be reviewed but you must do this within 21 days of receiving the decision. You can ask a charity like shelter or your local citizens’ advice for help in doing this.

Your application should have been treated the same as everybody else, regardless of if they had priority or were making a repeat application.

Bids for a new tenancy

In many local councils, they offer a choice-based letting scheme. This means you will have to bid for empty council and housing association houses which are advertised by the local council or the housing association.

Offers for a new tenancy

In some areas, the local council or housing association will offer you a new home. You can then choose to accept or reject but be warned, offers for new homes rarely come up so if you reject the offer then you may be waiting a long time.

Different councils may have different policies on this so ask your council what their policy is on offering new tenancies to existing tenants.

Transfer incentive schemes

Your local council may also offer you some cash to downsize or to move on to property on the open market through its cash incentive scheme.

FAQs: housing association tenancy transfer

Can you inherit a housing association tenancy?

Yes, you can inherit a housing association tenancy but this can only be done once unless the tenancy agreement allows for multiple occurrences of this.

You won’t be automatically able to rent a housing association tenancy. It will depend on your relationship with the deceased and the type of housing association tenancy.

Can I add my son to my housing association tenancy?

Yes, you can add your son to your housing association tenancy but you will first need to get the Housing Executive or housing association’s permission to create a joint tenancy.

When you add someone to your council tenancy they will become jointly liable in the agreement with you.

In this brief guide, we discussed housing association tenancy transfer. If you have any questions or comments please let us know.

If you need financial advice and you live in the UK then you could contact the Money Advice service over the phone or via chat for impartial advice.

You can also contact the debt charity “Step Change” if you are in debt and need help.