Council Tenancy Explained

Table of contents

  • Types of tenancy
  • Your Rights as a Tenant
  • Using the property
  • Purchasing Another Property
  • A Change In The Type Of Tenancy
  • A change in the occupants
  • The Right To Take Lodgers
  • Other people living in the property
  • Sub-letting your property
  • Exchanging your tenancy
  • Right of succession
  • The right to buy your property
  • Reasons for terminating a tenancy
  • Situations where the council may have to move you out of your home

There are three types of tenancy:

1. Introductory Tenancy
2. Secure Tenancy
3. Non-Secure Tenancy

Introductory Tenancy

Unless you are transferring from a secure tenancy, you will start your tenancy as an ‘introductory tenant’. Your introductory tenancy will last for one year. If you do not break any of the tenancy conditions during this time, you will automatically become a ‘secure tenant’. If during your introductory tenancy you break any of the tenancy conditions, we will take action to end your tenancy. By law, during your introductory tenancy, you do not have the same rights as a ‘secure tenant’. You cannot do the following:

  • apply for the right to buy your property
  • vote for a change in Landlord
  • sub-let part of the property or take in a lodger
  • apply to exchange your tenancy

Secure tenancy

By law, as a secure tenant you have the right to stay in the property. We cannot evict you from the property unless we can prove grounds to do so to a court and the court grants an order for possession. As a secure tenant you will enjoy a number of rights not available to introductory or non-secure tenants.

If we have to terminate your tenancy for any reason, we must give you 28 days’ notice in writing of our intention to do so, except where the notice is based on nuisance or other antisocial behaviour, in which case we can start proceedings to terminate your your tenancy immediately. The notice must end on a Monday.

Non-Secure tenancy

Some tenancies are neither secure nor introductory. They are known as non-secure tenancies. These apply if, for example:

  • a property is linked to your job;
  • a property is let to temporarily;
  • you sub-let the whole of the property;
  • you do not live in the property as your main home.

In these cases you will not have the right to:

  • buy your property;
  • succession for members of your family;
  • exchange your tenancy with another tenant;
  • ask for another contractor to do an urgent repair when the repair has not been done in time;
  • sub-let part of the property;
  • compensation for improvements;

The tenancy can be ended by either you or the council giving 28 days notice to quit in writing and ending on a Monday.

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Your Rights as a Tenant

Your tenancy conditions give you the right to live in the property. We will not interfere with this right unless we have to take action because of reasons given in the Housing Acts 1985 or 1996 or any future law. We will take action if you break any of the tenancy conditions.

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Using the property

You must live in the property as your main or only home. You must not run a business or trade from your home without first obtaining our written permission. We will not refuse permission unless we feel that the business is likely to cause a nuisance to other people, or damage to the property. If we do give permission for you to run a business from your home, and it causes a nuisance, we will withdraw the permission.

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Purchasing Another Property

While you are a tenant you must not purchase another property, either on your own or jointly with another person and sub-let without first obtaining our written permission.

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A Change In The Type Of Tenancy

Secure tenants
If you do not live in the property as your main home or you sub-let it, you will no longer have secure tenancy. You will become a non-secure tenant. You can get more information and advice from the housing office.

Introductory Tenants
If you do not live in the property as your main home, or you sub-let it, you will no longer have an introductory tenancy. You will become a non-secure tenant.

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A change in the occupants

You must notify in writing, within 28 days, of any long-term change in the people who are living in the property. Other members of the household should let us know if the tenant dies.
You must tell the housing office if you are going to be away from the property for more that 12 weeks. We will then know you have not abandoned the property. This information will be kept confidential.

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The Right To Take Lodgers

Secure Tenants
As a secure tenant, you are allowed to take in lodgers, but you must tell us immediately if you do and you must not allow your home to become overcrowded.

Introductory and non-secure tenants
You are not allowed to take in lodgers.

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Other people living in the property

You must not transfer, hand over or sub-let the whole property to another person, or allow the property to become overcrowded by other people living or staying there.

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Sub-letting your property

Secure Tenants
You must not sub-let or hand over a part of your property without first obtaining the written permission of the Director of Housing. This will not be withheld unreasonably if you are a secure tenant.

Introductory and non-secure tenants
You must not sub-let or hand over a part of your property in any circumstances.

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Exchanging your tenancy

Secure Tenants
You have the right to exchange your tenancy with another secure tenant provided that you both have written permission from your landlords. Permission can only be withheld on the following grounds:
(a) If either party is required to give up possession under a court order
(b) If possession proceedings have been started against either party
(c) The accommodation is considered unsuitable for the new tenants’ needs
(d) The accommodation is linked to the tenant’s job
(e) The property has been adapted for a disabled person
(f) The property is in sheltered accommodation

We may ask you to pay any rent arrears or put right any other breach of the tenancy agreement before we give permission for the exchange to take place.

Introductory and non-secure tenants
You do not have right to apply to exchange your tenancy.

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Right of succession

Secure and Introductory Tenants
When you die your tenancy will pass to your husband or wife if they were living with you at the time of your death. This is called ‘succession’. If you do not have a husband or wife the tenancy can pass on to a member of your family , including your partner, if they had been living with you continuously for the past 12 months before your death. If a joint tenant dies the tenancy will pass to the other joint tenant and this will count as succession.

By law, a second succession is not possible, but we may agree to give a new tenancy to a relative in certain circumstances. Also, in some special cases, such as carers or partners of single-sex couples, we may also agree to give a new tenancy. Your housing office will give you more information.

Non-secure tenants
You do not have succession rights.

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The right to buy your property

Secure Tenants
In certain circumstances you have the right to buy your property. You should contact the Home Ownership Unit if you need more information about this.

Introductory And Non-Secure Tenants
You do not the right to buy your property.

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Reasons for terminating a tenancy

For introductory and non-secure tenants, we do not have to rely on any of the reasons given below to terminate your tenancy.

For secure tenants only there are a number of reasons why we might apply for a court order to end your tenancy and eviction may result from any of the following reasons:

  • If you do not keep up to date with your rent or you breach any of the condition of your tenancy.
  • If you or a member of your household or a visitor does anything which causes, or is likely to cause, a nusiance to anyone in the local area, or you allow your home to be used for immoral or illegal purposes.
  • If your partner, or a member of the family, has left home because of your violence or threats of violence against them and they are unlikely to return to live with you.
  • If you, or anyone living with you, damages any part of the property or the communal areas either deliberately or by neglect.
  • If you or any of your friends or relatives damages or vandalises our furniture.
  • If you deliberately gave us false information to get the tenancy or encourages someone else to do so.
  • If you received any financial gain for agreeing to a mutual exchange.
  • If your home is connected to the place where you work, such as a school caretaker, and your behaviour has been improper or unsuitable.
  • If you are staying in temporary accommodation while works are carried out to your previous home and you have already agreed to return to your previous home when the works are completed, but do not do so.

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Situations where the council may have to move you out of your home

In the following cases, if we have to move you out of your home, we have to provide you with suitable alternative accommodation. This must meet the reasonable needs of you and your family. If you refuse an offer of suitable alternative accommodation we may have to apply to the court for an order of possession of your tenancy.

  • If your home is overcrowded. You must not transfer, hand over or sub-let the whole property to another person, or allow the property to become overcrowded by other people living or staying there. A full definition of overcrowding is stated in your rent book.
  • If we have to move you out of your home so that we can get in to carry out repairs or other necessary works.
  • If your home is within the area of an approved redevelopment scheme.
  • If your home is linked to a job and we need to give it to another employee.
  • If the property has been specially designed or adapted for people with special needs and:
    (a) no-one in your household needs the type of accommodation and
    (b) we need it for a person with similar special needs.
  • If the tenancy passed to you when the previous tenant died and is too large for your needs

Table of contents

There are three types of tenancy:

1. Introductory Tenancy
2. Secure Tenancy
3. Non-Secure Tenancy

Introductory Tenancy

Unless you are transferring from a secure tenancy, you will start your tenancy as an ‘introductory tenant’. Your introductory tenancy will last for one year. If you do not break any of the tenancy conditions during this time, you will automatically become a ‘secure tenant’. If during your introductory tenancy you break any of the tenancy conditions, we will take action to end your tenancy. By law, during your introductory tenancy, you do not have the same rights as a ‘secure tenant’. You cannot do the following:

  • apply for the right to buy your property
  • vote for a change in Landlord
  • sub-let part of the property or take in a lodger
  • apply to exchange your tenancy

Secure tenancy

By law, as a secure tenant you have the right to stay in the property. We cannot evict you from the property unless we can prove grounds to do so to a court and the court grants an order for possession. As a secure tenant you will enjoy a number of rights not available to introductory or non-secure tenants.

If we have to terminate your tenancy for any reason, we must give you 28 days’ notice in writing of our intention to do so, except where the notice is based on nuisance or other antisocial behaviour, in which case we can start proceedings to terminate your your tenancy immediately. The notice must end on a Monday.

Non-Secure tenancy

Some tenancies are neither secure nor introductory. They are known as non-secure tenancies. These apply if, for example:

  • a property is linked to your job;
  • a property is let to temporarily;
  • you sub-let the whole of the property;
  • you do not live in the property as your main home.

In these cases you will not have the right to:

  • buy your property;
  • succession for members of your family;
  • exchange your tenancy with another tenant;
  • ask for another contractor to do an urgent repair when the repair has not been done in time;
  • sub-let part of the property;
  • compensation for improvements;

The tenancy can be ended by either you or the council giving 28 days notice to quit in writing and ending on a Monday.

back to top

Your Rights as a Tenant

Your tenancy conditions give you the right to live in the property. We will not interfere with this right unless we have to take action because of reasons given in the Housing Acts 1985 or 1996 or any future law. We will take action if you break any of the tenancy conditions.

back to top

Using the property

You must live in the property as your main or only home. You must not run a business or trade from your home without first obtaining our written permission. We will not refuse permission unless we feel that the business is likely to cause a nuisance to other people, or damage to the property. If we do give permission for you to run a business from your home, and it causes a nuisance, we will withdraw the permission.

back to top

Purchasing Another Property

While you are a tenant you must not purchase another property, either on your own or jointly with another person and sub-let without first obtaining our written permission.

back to top

A Change In The Type Of Tenancy

Secure tenants
If you do not live in the property as your main home or you sub-let it, you will no longer have secure tenancy. You will become a non-secure tenant. You can get more information and advice from the housing office.

Introductory Tenants
If you do not live in the property as your main home, or you sub-let it, you will no longer have an introductory tenancy. You will become a non-secure tenant.

back to top

A change in the occupants

You must notify in writing, within 28 days, of any long-term change in the people who are living in the property. Other members of the household should let us know if the tenant dies.
You must tell the housing office if you are going to be away from the property for more that 12 weeks. We will then know you have not abandoned the property. This information will be kept confidential.

back to top

The Right To Take Lodgers

Secure Tenants
As a secure tenant, you are allowed to take in lodgers, but you must tell us immediately if you do and you must not allow your home to become overcrowded.

Introductory and non-secure tenants
You are not allowed to take in lodgers.

back to top

Other people living in the property

You must not transfer, hand over or sub-let the whole property to another person, or allow the property to become overcrowded by other people living or staying there.

back to top

Sub-letting your property

Secure Tenants
You must not sub-let or hand over a part of your property without first obtaining the written permission of the Director of Housing. This will not be withheld unreasonably if you are a secure tenant.

Introductory and non-secure tenants
You must not sub-let or hand over a part of your property in any circumstances.

back to top

Exchanging your tenancy

Secure Tenants
You have the right to exchange your tenancy with another secure tenant provided that you both have written permission from your landlords. Permission can only be withheld on the following grounds:
(a) If either party is required to give up possession under a court order
(b) If possession proceedings have been started against either party
(c) The accommodation is considered unsuitable for the new tenants’ needs
(d) The accommodation is linked to the tenant’s job
(e) The property has been adapted for a disabled person
(f) The property is in sheltered accommodation

We may ask you to pay any rent arrears or put right any other breach of the tenancy agreement before we give permission for the exchange to take place.

Introductory and non-secure tenants
You do not have right to apply to exchange your tenancy.

back to top

Right of succession

Secure and Introductory Tenants
When you die your tenancy will pass to your husband or wife if they were living with you at the time of your death. This is called ‘succession’. If you do not have a husband or wife the tenancy can pass on to a member of your family , including your partner, if they had been living with you continuously for the past 12 months before your death. If a joint tenant dies the tenancy will pass to the other joint tenant and this will count as succession.

By law, a second succession is not possible, but we may agree to give a new tenancy to a relative in certain circumstances. Also, in some special cases, such as carers or partners of single-sex couples, we may also agree to give a new tenancy. Your housing office will give you more information.

Non-secure tenants
You do not have succession rights.

back to top

The right to buy your property

Secure Tenants
In certain circumstances you have the right to buy your property. You should contact the Home Ownership Unit if you need more information about this.

Introductory And Non-Secure Tenants
You do not the right to buy your property.

back to top

Reasons for terminating a tenancy

For introductory and non-secure tenants, we do not have to rely on any of the reasons given below to terminate your tenancy.

For secure tenants only there are a number of reasons why we might apply for a court order to end your tenancy and eviction may result from any of the following reasons:

  • If you do not keep up to date with your rent or you breach any of the condition of your tenancy.
  • If you or a member of your household or a visitor does anything which causes, or is likely to cause, a nusiance to anyone in the local area, or you allow your home to be used for immoral or illegal purposes.
  • If your partner, or a member of the family, has left home because of your violence or threats of violence against them and they are unlikely to return to live with you.
  • If you, or anyone living with you, damages any part of the property or the communal areas either deliberately or by neglect.
  • If you or any of your friends or relatives damages or vandalises our furniture.
  • If you deliberately gave us false information to get the tenancy or encourages someone else to do so.
  • If you received any financial gain for agreeing to a mutual exchange.
  • If your home is connected to the place where you work, such as a school caretaker, and your behaviour has been improper or unsuitable.
  • If you are staying in temporary accommodation while works are carried out to your previous home and you have already agreed to return to your previous home when the works are completed, but do not do so.

back to top

Situations where the council may have to move you out of your home

In the following cases, if we have to move you out of your home, we have to provide you with suitable alternative accommodation. This must meet the reasonable needs of you and your family. If you refuse an offer of suitable alternative accommodation we may have to apply to the court for an order of possession of your tenancy.

  • If your home is overcrowded. You must not transfer, hand over or sub-let the whole property to another person, or allow the property to become overcrowded by other people living or staying there. A full definition of overcrowding is stated in your rent book.
  • If we have to move you out of your home so that we can get in to carry out repairs or other necessary works.
  • If your home is within the area of an approved redevelopment scheme.
  • If your home is linked to a job and we need to give it to another employee.
  • If the property has been specially designed or adapted for people with special needs and:
    (a) no-one in your household needs the type of accommodation and
    (b) we need it for a person with similar special needs.
  • If the tenancy passed to you when the previous tenant died and is too large for your needs.
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