What Are The Rules For Giving Up A Council Property?

If you are wondering about the rules for giving up council property, you will find the answer to your question in the following blog post. In addition to this, we will also discuss how you can seek assistance from your local council office if you need financial help while moving out of council property.

What Are The Rules For Giving Up A Council Property?

The rules for giving up a council property are pretty basic and include the following:

  • The tenant must submit a 4 week’s notice in writing to inform the council authorities that they will be leaving the council property.
  • During this time, the tenant must perform all the responsibilities mentioned in their tenancy agreement.
  • They should make sure that the rent is paid as per the usual schedule and in case there are any rental arrears, they are cleared during the notice period.
  • The tenant should also clear all utility bill payments, as well as telephone and internet bills. 
  • Based on mutual agreement with the council, the tenant must agree to a due date by which they will hand in the keys to the council property they have been occupying.
  • Before handing in the keys, a tenant must make sure that all of their belongings have been taken out and the council property has been cleaned.
  • They must leave a forwarding address with the council authorities if they are not moving into another council property.
  • Tenants who are claiming Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction should also inform the DWP about giving up council property and changing their address.
  • If there has been any damage to the council property during the tenant’s tenure, they must have it fixed before handing in their keys.
  • Similarly, if the tenant has made any alterations to the council property, they must revert the changes to their original condition.
  • The day that they move out of the council property, tenants should make sure that all windows are shut, electrical units are powered off, the gas is switched off and no water taps are left open.

Do Councils Pay Tenants To Give Up Council Property?

Yes, sometimes councils provide cash incentives to give up their council property in exchange for a more appropriate council property; usually a smaller place that meets the tenant’s need and helps them to avoid living in a council property with extra bedrooms. 

Such incentives can help tenants to bear the costs involved in moving to another property. These include the following:

  • removals 
  • packing service
  • carpet fittings at the new property
  • disconnection and reconnection of equipment such as cookers, washing machines and dishwashers
  • handyman service for small jobs or putting together furniture
  • disposal of unwanted items

One such example is Thurrock Council in Essex which offers £2,000 to help tenants move into a smaller property. 

Meanwhile, the London Borough Of Havering offers its tenants up to £1,000 for the first spare bedroom that they give up with £500 for each additional bedroom that the tenants give up. They also provide £500 to social housing tenants to help them with the cost of moving their house.

The purpose of such incentives is to help council housing tenants move into a more suitable council property without overcrowding yet and also make the more spacious council property occupied by the tenants available to claimants who need the additional space.

How Can You Get Help From The Council If You Give Up Council Property?

There are many ways to get help from local councils when you give up council property. This can either be in exchange for another council property or if you choose to move to a privately rented place. Councils can help you with deposits, rental payments and moving costs. 

For instance, they can offer tenants a rent deposit scheme or a rent guarantee scheme. If a tenant is on a low income or finding it difficult to meet the cost of living, these convenient options can help them make deposit payments.

Then there is the option of availing the Discretionary Housing Payments through local councils. These are one-time, non-refundable amounts for individuals claiming Housing Benefit or Universal Credit. You can use them to make payments for the following:

  • rent not covered by benefits
  • tenancy deposits
  • advance rent
  • removal costs

If you are claiming welfare benefits such as Universal Credit, you may also qualify for a “Budgeting Advance”. This is an interest-free loan that covers the costs of advance rent, removal or moving costs.

On the other hand, claimants of benefits other than Universal Credit can request a “Budgeting Loan” from the DWP to pay for the cost of moving. Deductions for loan repayment, in both situations, will be made by paying back in instalments through reduced benefits payments in the future.  


The above discussion helps to conclude the basic rules involved in giving up a council property. These are quite similar to the rules for giving up any rented property and include essentials such as a 4-week notice, maintaining rental payments until you submit the kets to the authorities and making sure that the property you hand over is left in a neat condition.


Ending a council tenancy

End your council property tenancy

Ending a tenancy | Sheffield City Council