Removing Ex-Partner From a Council Tenancy Agreement

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. There may be times when council housing residents need to add someone to their tenancy agreement; while there may be times when a previous resident who was listed on the tenancy agreement moves out and their name needs to be removed from the tenancy agreement. In both cases, a tenant will need (a) permission from their council or housing association landlord (b) a new tenancy agreement to be put in place and (c) legal advice from a professional.

Can I Remove Ex Partner From Council Tenancy Agreement?

Yes, you can remove your ex-partner from your council tenancy agreement; however, the way that you may need to go about depends on your circumstances and relationship status.

Firstly, if you are both listed as joint tenants, you will need an agreement from your ex-partner and landlord for removal from the tenancy agreement. In this case, if your ex-partner fails to comply, they must be informed that being listed as joint tenant keeps them responsible for a contribution towards the council house rent. If your landlord or ex-partner do not agree to a tenancy transfer or your tenancy agreement prohibits it, you can file an application in court.

However, if you are listed as the tenant and they are listed as an occupant, you can simply inform your council office or housing association of the change and ask them to draw up a fresh tenancy agreement.

If your partner is listed as the tenant and you as the occupant and is the one to move out of council premises, you can request your council authorities to change the name on the tenancy agreement. If your ex-partner is not willing to assign the tenancy to you or your landlord fails to support your claim, you can file an appeal in court.

If you were married or in a civil partnership, not only can your ex-partner be removed from the tenancy agreement upon dissolution of your relationship, you may be able to seek financial support from them as well. Your local Citizen’s Action Centre may help you with arranging financial support after you separate. In case of a divorce, tenancy transfer can be added in the divorce proceedings.

In the case of unmarried partners having children under the age of 18, the Family Law Act 1996 protects the welfare of the children. By seeking legal advice, you may be able to file an appeal in court for a tenancy transfer.

In cases where an ex-partner’s name is to be removed from council tenancy agreements due to domestic violence, you can get help from council authorities on a priority basis as this counts as being homeless.

To have a broader view of the occupancy rights of council tenants, let’s explore the following topics through this article: 

  • Sharing a council house
  • Adding someone to the council tenancy agreement
  • Tenancy transfer of council house
  • Tenancy transfer of council house to daughter
  • Different types of council tenancy agreements

Can I Share My Council House With Someone?

Yes, someone can live with you in your council house as they are generally intended for eligible candidates and their families; whether they are dependants or non-dependants. However, if you are on Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, any changes to the number of people in your home might have an impact on the amount of benefit you were receiving prior to them moving in especially if they are expected to contribute towards the rent. Even if the additional occupants are not expected to contribute towards the rent, the council expects them to share your rent and taxes if they are non-dependants. This means that you will face a reduction in your benefits if someone who is classified as a non-dependant comes to live with you.

If you are under a Secure Tenancy or Fixed Tenancy agreement with the housing authorities, you may sub-let rooms in your council house; however, subletting of the entire council house is not allowed. You will find a clause in your tenancy agreement that confirms the same. Therefore, it is advisable not to add someone to your council house with the intention of subletting the premises.

Can I Add Someone To My Council Tenancy?

Yes, you can add someone to your council tenancy. For this purpose, you will be seeking permission from your local council and following their guidelines with regards to changes in your tenancy agreement. Joint tenancies are usually applied in cases where:

  • The additional tenant is the resident’s husband, wife or civil partner
  • The additional tenant has been living with the resident as part of their household for at least 12 months
  • The additional tenant has succession rights and could inherit the tenancy 
  • The additional tenant has lived with the resident when they first moved into their council home

As joint tenants, both of you will become responsible for the following:

  • Timely payment of the rent
  • Protection and care of council property
  • Each other’s social attitudes

A disadvantage of adding someone to your tenancy agreement is that you may lose a significant proportion of the benefits you claim especially Housing Benefit and Universal Credit.

Can I Transfer My Council House Tenancy To Someone Else?

Yes, you can transfer your council house tenancy to someone else either 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 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.

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 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.

What Are The Different Types Of Tenancies For Council Housing?

Tenancy agreements for council housing may be classified as below:

  • Introductory Tenancy: This 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. Unless the tenant is evicted or the agreement extended for another 6 months, these will automatically convert to secure or flexible agreements once the trial period is over. 
  • Secure Tenancy: This form of 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. You may also transfer the tenancy to someone else, exchange the premises or even apply to purchase the property.
  • Flexible Tenancy: This type of 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. You continue to enjoy all the privileges of a secure tenant under such a contract; however, it remains time-bound. 
  • Joint Tenancy: This is a contract that comes into place after a secure or flexible tenancy as a result of the addition of a spouse/partner/joint tenant to your home. Under this contract, you and the joint tenant both become liable for rent payments and become eligible for all the privileges under secure tenancy jointly. 


If your ex-partner continues to remain on the tenancy agreement, he/she remain liable for rent payments as well as maintenance of council property. Therefore, it is more in their own interest than yours to be removed from the council tenancy agreement to reduce their liability with regards to it. However, should they be unwilling to cooperate, the legal system will protect the rights of the partner who continues to stay on the council property. If the ex-partnership is due to the dissolution of marriage, you have the right to seek tenancy transfer during the divorce proceedings.

In the same way, joint tenants can be removed from tenancy agreements, they can also be added and tenancies be transferred to other individuals as well; be it through succession, mutual exchange or assignment. However, you will need your landlord’s permission and legal documentation to proceed further.

FAQs: Can I Remove Ex Partner From Council Tenancy Agreement?

How do I get my ex partner off my tenancy?

In case of a joint tenancy, you can ask your ex-partner to agree in principle and both of you can inform your landlord or council office of the change in circumstances. They will then draw up a fresh tenancy agreement. If your ex-partner does not cooperate, not only will they remain liable for council housing rent payments and maintenance, but you may take them to court as well.

Can you remove a name from a tenancy agreement?

Yes, you can remove a name from a tenancy agreement in consultation with your council landlord. You can also have spellings changed or last names altered as well. However, in case of an addition to a tenancy agreement, the claimant should have lived with you for at least 12 months to be considered.

How do I change from joint tenancy to sole tenancy?

To change from a joint tenancy to a sole tenancy, you will need an agreement from your joint tenant and landlord. On the basis of this, a new tenancy contract will be made stating you as the sole tenant. 

What happens if one person leaves a joint tenancy?

There is no risk to a joint tenancy if one of the tenants leaves the council premises. The tenancy continues to remain in place as long as one of the joint tenants occupies the premises and continues making timely rent payments.

What are my rights as a joint tenant?

As joint tenants, both parties enjoy equal rights as well as responsibilities to the premises. They are equally responsible for rent payments as well as maintenance of the property that they live in. In case of the death of a joint tenant, the surviving partner becomes the sole tenant of the premises.


What happens to your home when you separate – Citizens Advice

Joint tenancy and relationship breakdown

Relationship Breakdown and Tenancies – FAQ – Nearly Legal: Housing Law News and Comment

Relationship breakdown: joint tenancies – Shelter England

Can someone live with me in my council house?

Council housing: Types of tenancy