Understanding Tenancy Changes

Changes to your tenancy

If you’re considering changing your tenancy status for any reason, please read the following information.

Changes to your tenancy

A joint tenancy is where two or more people are named in the tenancy agreement. We usually give a joint tenancy to couples, including couples of the same gender.

With a joint tenancy, all tenants have equal rights and responsibilities, such as paying the rent. If one tenant breaks a tenancy condition, the other tenant can also be held responsible.

You can ask us to add a partner to an existing tenancy. The new joint tenant must have been living with you for the last 12 months and you must be up to date with your rent. You will be granted a new tenancy agreement.

If one joint tenant dies, the tenancy may be passed on to the other joint tenant (succession). However, if your relationship breaks down, the joint tenancy can only be changed if:

  • the association and all named tenants agree to the change
  • or a court orders the change

Succession and Assignment

What is succession?

  • Succession is the transfer of a tenancy following the death of a tenant.
  • In the event of a tenant’s death, the tenancy will pass to the sposue or civil partner of the tenant, providing they were living with at the proprty as their only or principle home at the time of the tenants death.
  • A family member (other than a spouse) may have a legal right to succeed to a tenancy if they have lived with the tenant for over 12 months.

There can only be one succession to a tenancy. If a tenant changes a tenancy from sole to joint this will automatically generate a new tenancy which will mean succession rights are reinstated. If However, a joint tenancy has been changed by assigment to sole status this will mean the succession right has been used up.

In the event that a tenant dies leaving a relative in occupation who does not have a legal right of succession we will use our discretion to decide if the tenancy is granted taking into account the size of the property and the needs and vulnerability of the person concerned.

What is an assignment?

An assignment is where a tenancy has been legally transferred.

Tenants who have not succeeded to the tenancy themselves, have the right to assign (pass) their tenancy to their spouse, partner, provided that they would have qualified to succeed to the tenancy if the tenant had died immediately before the assignment.

An assignment is done by a legal document this means the right of succession is used up and the successor cannot then pass on the tenancy.

The courts can also order an assignment between married partners and civil partners as a result of divorce proceedings, or dissolution of a civil partnership. This is called a ‘tenancy transfer’.

Joint to sole tenancy

A tenant may ask to remove a joiint tenant from the tenancy following a relationship breakdown or if one party chooses to move out. A sole tenancy is created when a joint tenant assigns their part of the tenancy to the remaining tenant.

When the tenancy has been changed into one person’s name, that person is solely responsible for paying the rent and ensuring that the tenancy is managed correctly.

You won’t be able to change your tenancy from joint to sole if:

  • Both tenants and Birmingham Civic don’t agree to the change
  • There are rent arrears or other costs owed to us
  • We are taking any legal action.

For an assignment both tenants will need to meet with us to complete the legal documents. Once an assignment takes place the ‘Succession rights’ have been used up.

Sole to joint tenancy

A joint tenancy is created when a sole tenant wants their tenancy to include a partner. Where there is a joint tenancy, both tenants are then responsible for ensuring that the rent is paid and that the tenancy is managed correctly.

We will not unreasonably withhold consent but we are unlikely to give permission when:

  • There are rent arrears or other monies owed to us
  • We’re taking legal action or

The proposed tenant:

  • owns a property or has a tenancy somewhere else
  • owes money to us
  • has been involved in serious anti-social behaviour or criminal activity

The person wishing to become a joint tenant must be a spouse or partner who has lived at the property with the sole tenant for the last 12 months. You will need to provide proof of this such as:

  • bank statements and any income paperwork such as benefit letters or P60
  • Council Tax or utility bills
  • a marriage certificate or civil partnership certificate

Both parties will need to meet with us to sign a new tenancy agreement.

Sub-letting and Lodgers

As a tenant you have the right to invite anyone to come and live with you provided the property does not become overcrowded and they agree to the tenancy conditions.

You need our permission to take in a lodger but we wont refuse without good reason. But remember someone else living in your home may affect your housing benefit entitlement so you will need to notify the benefits team.

We may at times also require Proof of Identification, residency and other information for the lodger.

The property must be the sole residency of the tenant.

This means you cannot sub-let all of your property to another person.

In circumstances where we suspect someone is sub-letting all their home we will investigate the claim and where necessary take legal action to end the tenancy.

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