Your Tenancy


If you have questions about managing your tenancy then this is the page for you. We’ve listed the key areas that we’re regularly asked about, but if you can’t find an answer you’re looking for then please get in touch with us – find out how here

If you’re looking for help with social, health or financial issues then take a look at our Tenancy and Money Support Service pages.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Starter Tenancy Agreement?

This agreement is for an initial trial period of up to 12 months from the start date of the tenancy, and it may be extended for a further six months trial period, if you breach the terms of the agreement.

Within the first year you do not have all the rights of an Assured Tenancy. If you successfully manage your tenancy in the first year, we will covert the starter tenancy to full assured tenancy.

What is a Assured Tenancy agreement?

This means that there is no limit to the length of your tenancy, as long as you do not break the terms of the tenancy agreement. An assured tenancy agreement will begin with a 12-month starter tenancy that will convert to a full assured tenancy at the end of this period.

What is a tenancy audit?

A tenancy audit involves a visit from one of our staff who will check that our records about your household are up to date.

They’ll also check the condition of your property and give you the opportunity to discuss any queries about your home, your tenancy or your neighbourhood, face to face.

We aim to audit around 20% of all our properties each year, so you can expect to have a tenancy audit at your home at least once every five years.

Tenancy audits may be carried out unannounced or by appointment, but we will always introduce ourselves, provide identification and explain why we’re visiting you in your home.

If you have any questions about the tenancy audit process, please let us know.

How do I avoid a breach of tenancy?

Your Tenancy Agreement sets out how we expect you to live in our properties. Most of these are common sense and relate to paying your rent, keeping your home well maintained and living peacefully with your neighbours.

If you are worried that you may have breached your tenancy please talk to us. We can arrange a confidential meeting to talk things through, and we will be able to let you know of any extra support that may be available to help you.

What is tenancy fraud?

Across the UK it is estimated that 50,000 housing association and council homes are occupied by someone who shouldn’t live there or have obtained the tenancy fraudulently.

There are different types of housing fraud. Here are some of the most common ones:

Where a tenant lets out their council or housing association home without the knowledge or permission of their landlord. They often continue to pay the rent for the property directly to their landlord, but charge the person they are subletting to a much higher rate. It is unlawful and unfair to sublet and to profit from a property which could be given to someone legally entitled to occupy it. The Social Housing Fraud Act 2013 makes it a criminal offence for a tenant to sublet their home. The maximum penalty is a two-year jail sentence and a fine of up to £50,000. The court also has the power to make the tenant pay back any profits made through subletting.

Where a person gets a council or housing association home by giving false information in their application, for example not telling the landlord they are renting another council or housing association property, or giving false information about who lives with them.

Where a tenant dies and someone, who is not entitled to, tries to take over or succeed the tenancy. For example, they might say they lived with the tenant before they died, when in fact they were living elsewhere.

Where a tenant is paid to pass on their keys in return for a one-off payment

Why is it important to tackle tenancy fraud?

There isn’t enough social housing to meet the needs of people who genuinely need it. We have to make the best use of the housing that is available ensuing that it is occupied by those who are legally entitled to do so. People waiting for social housing will have to wait even longer if homes continue to be occupied by people who have no right to be there

What will happen if someone is subletting?

Any Town & Country Housing tenant subletting their home or committing tenancy fraud should arrange to hand back their keys without delay to avoid legal action being taken against them.

If someone is caught illegally subletting one of our homes, they could face a two-year jail sentence or a fine of up to £50,000.

We will be carrying out tenancy checks at a number of properties every year to ensure that no fraud is being committed. We will use this opportunity to update the information we hold on who is living at the property, collect up to date phone numbers and e-mail addresses, and assist with any other issues that may need resolving.

If you suspect tenancy fraud in one of our homes please contact us.

How do I pass my home to someone else by assigning my tenancy?

You can assign your home to someone else in certain circumstances. These include:

  • Where you may decide you want to leave your home and set up home elsewhere because of your personal circumstances
  • Where the tenancy of your home is the subject of divorce proceedings
  • If your relationship is breaking down.

You will be asked to sign a request form.



We expect the person you are assigning your home to will have lived with you for at least a year, or has been given rights to the home under a Court agreement.

As with a Joint Tenancy, please be sure to clear any outstanding arrears before making your request, but don’t let this stop you from asking us about Assignment of tenancy if you do owe money on your account. Your Housing Manager can help you work out how to pay the arrears.

The Assignment of Tenancy Form itself is a legally binding document and both parties have to sign this.

What help or advice can you offer?

A request to assign a tenancy may mean you are going through a difficult period in your life. Your Housing Manager is there to offer advice and assistance, as every person’s circumstance is individual and different.

Everything is treated confidentially, but if you are part of a Joint Tenancy we are legally bound to give the same advice to all parties about their rights and responsibilities under the Tenancy Agreement.

We may suggest you seek the help of the Citizens Advice Bureau or a Solicitor.


Passing on your home to someone else by succession


How can I do this?

On the death of a tenant, the tenancy of the home can be passed to another person in the following circumstances:

  • If you share the tenancy, should a joint tenant die, the tenancy continues in the sole name of the remaining tenant
  • Where the tenant is survived in the property by a husband, wife or partner who has lived in the property as their principal home, he/she can succeed to the tenancy
  • To another member of the deceased tenant’s family, such as a son or daughter, who has lived in the property continuously for the 12 months immediately prior to the tenant’s death and where there has been no previous succession. If this should be a child or young person, please discuss the options with your Housing Manager.

The offer of a new tenancy is at our discretion and subject to the housing needs of the area.

If the property is larger than a person’s needs, or has been provided or adapted for an elderly or disabled person, the new tenant will normally be required to move to another of our properties.

What help or advice can you offer?

Housing Managers are there to offer advice and assistance. We can also come and give you advice at any time about this or any of the options on this page. Every query is different and we want to provide you with as much advice as we can.


How do I set up a joint tenancy?


What is a Joint Tenancy?

A Joint Tenancy is one where all parties to the Joint Tenancy have equal rights to the tenancy, while being equally or individually liable for the smooth running of the tenancy. This means we can talk to you together or individually about issues relating to the Tenancy. You all have the right to the same level of information about your Tenancy. You are also responsible together and individually for ensuring the terms of the Tenancy Agreement are maintained, for example, by paying the rent.

Becoming a Joint Tenant

If you are married or have a partner with whom you would like to share the tenancy of your home, contact your Housing Manager. Every case is different and we want to be sure to give you the right advice.

You will be asked to sign a form requesting a Joint Tenancy to be created. If your name has changed from the time you signed the original Tenancy Agreement we will ask for proof of this, for example a Marriage Certificate or Deed Poll document.


When requesting a Joint Tenancy please ensure there are no rent arrears on the account as this may lead to a refusal, however don’t let this stop you from asking advice on what to do.

Your Housing Manager will help you come to a repayment schedule for any money you may owe us.

Once all the formalities are complete you will be asked to sign a new Tenancy Agreement.

You can have a lodger unless you are on a starter tenancy, and as long as you don’t exceed the legal occupancy (Section 4.2 of your tenancy agreement). If you are in a Sheltered Scheme there will be age restrictions depending on the scheme. Please check with the Tenancy Sustainment Officer to discuss whether a lodger would be allowed.


What happens to my tenancy if I die?

If you have a joint tenancy, the other named tenant will automatically take over the tenancy.

If you’re the sole tenant and someone living in your property wants to take over a tenancy this may be an automatic process, or it may be at our discretion as to whether this should be approved. This will depend on the type of tenancy they have.

For more information or advice, this article from Shelter explains more about what happens to a tenancy when a tenant dies.

How do I give notice as an executor or next of kin?

If you have a joint tenancy, the other named tenant will automatically take over the tenancy.

If you’re the sole tenant and someone living in your property wants to take over a tenancy this may be an automatic process or it may be at our discretion as to whether this should be approved. This will depend on the type of tenancy they have.

For more information this article from Shelter explains what happens to a tenancy when a tenant dies.

Can I get help to manage my garden?


Our Gardening Help Scheme is available at a small cost for those who find it difficult carrying out larger garden jobs such as cutting grass and hedges.

If there is no one living with you who can do the work, and you are above pensionable age or have a disability that prevents you from doing the work, you could be eligible for this service. You will need to provide evidence of your age and/or disability.

How does the scheme work?

Your grass will be cut eight times during the mowing season and hedges will be trimmed twice a year. Hedge cuttings will be picked up. The charges are reviewed each year.


How to apply for the scheme

  • Complete the online form
  • We will assess your application and let you know whether you are eligible to join this scheme and confirm the weekly charge
  • The Contractor who will carry out the work will then be notified.

The appropriate charge will be added to your rent account. Please note if you decide to leave the scheme part way through the year you will still be charged for the remainder of the year.

You must have a clear rent account to use this service. If you fall into arrears the service will be withdrawn and you will still be charged for the entire year. The Gardening Help scheme is not covered by Housing Benefit.