Household changes

Let us know if anyone from your household leaves to live somewhere else, or if anyone comes to live with you permanently by sending us an email at

Note: If you are in receipt of benefits then it is your responsibility to tell the relevant department about any changes to your household, or your households' income.

Joint tenancies

A joint tenancy is when more than one person is named in the tenancy agreement. Partners (married or unmarried) who have made a joint housing application will usually be offered a joint tenancy. This means that tenant has equal rights and therefore:

  • Each tenant is responsible for making sure that the rent and other charges are paid in full
  • If one tenant breaks the conditions of the agreement, the other (others) tenant can also be held responsible
  • If one tenant dies, the other can continue at the tenant
  • Joint tenancies can be ended when any one of the joint tenants gives the council 4 weeks' notice in writing. When this happens the tenancy ends for the other joint tenant too, even if they do not agree to this

Note: If you want someone to become a joint tenant during your tenancy please contact your neighbourhood officer to discuss it. You should think carefully before changing to a joint tenancy and giving up a sole tenancy and seek independent legal advice.

Family or relationship break-up

Joint tenants have equal rights to stay in the home until one of the tenants ends the tenancy and then both tenants will have to leave. In some exceptional situations the council may give a new sole tenancy to the remaining tenant for the same property, however, this is not a standard procedure and should not relied upon

  • If you are not joint tenants, the person whose named as the sole tenant on the tenancy agreement has the right to ask their partner to leave the home
  • If you are not joint tenants and the sole tenant agrees to leave the home then the remaining partner has no automatic right to stay in the home
  • If you have children living with you, a family court will normally put their interests first to make sure they do not become homeless. The court will usually give the tenancy to the parent who has the main care responsibility for the children

Taking over a council property when the tenant has died

When a tenant dies, under some circumstances their tenancy can be passed on to a husband, wife or civil partner (or sometimes to another family member) through a process called succession. 

There can only ever be one succession to a council tenancy. If the original tenancy was a joint tenancy and one of the tenants dies, the tenancy will pass to the other joint tenant. When they die, the tenancy cannot be passed on to anyone else.

If the person who died was the only tenant, their husband, wife or civil partner can take over the tenancy as long as they were living there when the tenant died.

For tenancies that started before 1 April 2012:

  • If the tenant did not have a husband, wife or civil partner, then another family member might be able to take over the tenancy providing they were living in the property when the tenant died and had been living there for at least 12 months before they died. “Family member” means the tenant’s child, grandchild, parent, grandparent, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew or niece.

For tenancies that started after 1 April 2012:

  • There is no right for other family members to take over the tenancy, only a husband, wife, civil partner or someone who lived with the tenant as though they were married or in a civil partnership can take over the tenancy.

If you take over a council tenancy, you will have the same type of tenancy as the person who died. For example, if they held a secure tenancy, you will have a secure tenancy and if they held an introductory tenancy, it will remain introductory until the introductory period has passed.

If you were a joint tenant with the person who died, you will be responsible for any rent arrears at the time of their death, plus the ongoing rent for the property.

If the property is not suitable for the person taking over the tenancy, for example if it is too big or it is an independent living property, they can still take over the tenancy but they might be asked to move to a different property.

Succession is a complicated area so if it applies to you, please contact us at so we can help you through the process.

Taking in a lodger

You can take in a lodger provided they do not overcrowd your home.

  • A lodger is someone who shares your home as a member of the household and pays to rent a bedroom and share facilities (kitchen, bathroom and lounge etc.)
  • If you do decide to rent a bedroom to a lodger you must tell the council about them and the date they will move-in
  • If you are in receipt of benefits then any payment you receive from a lodger may be considered as income so you must inform the correct benefit department as well

For further information about any of the above email or contact your neighbourhood officer.