How do I add / remove my partner to / from my Tenancy?

What is the difference between a ‘sole’ and ‘joint’ tenancy?

A ‘sole’ tenancy

A sole tenancy is where there is only one name on the Tenancy Agreement. This person will be 100% responsible for the payment of rent and for looking after the property. This person will be solely responsible for all aspects of the Tenancy Agreement including any nuisance caused and any other breaches of tenancy.

A ‘joint’ tenancy

Where there are two names (or more) on the Tenancy Agreement, both (all) people will be jointly responsible for the payment of rent. We are not interested in who pays how much of the rent – only that the full rent is paid to us.

In the event where one person leaves the property to live elsewhere and they do not take their name off the tenancy, they will still be legally liable for the rent due for the property. This means they can be taken to Court for rent arrears if the rent is not paid by either tenant.

Both tenants (regardless of whether they live there or not) are liable for any nuisance caused and any other breaches of tenancy.

Most importantly though, either tenant has the right to end the tenancy (even without the other person’s consent), which means the tenancy will end for both tenants, even if one person wants to remain in the property.


How do I add someone to my tenancy? (Sole to Joint)

We are often asked about adding new partners or spouses to sole tenancies. The first thing you will need to do is contact us and we will check to see whether you were originally a sole tenant and whether or not you have already completed any assignments (an ‘assignment’ is when the names on the tenancy agreement have already been changed before). Please be fully aware that you can only complete ONE assignment per tenancy – therefore if you have removed or added someone to the tenancy in the past, we will not be able to do it again – this is Housing Law, not our own policy.

We will also check what kind or tenancy you have. You will only be able to complete an assignment if you have an Assured Tenancy. Anyone on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy will not be able to complete an assignment.

If you are a sole tenant, have not completed any previous assignments and have an Assured Tenancy, we will then ask you to provide documentary evidence that the spouse or partner you are trying to add has permanently lived at your home for at least the last 12 months and is entitled to benefit from social housing.

Please be very clear that if your rent account is in arrears we will never agree to add someone to the tenancy.

Once we have all the information we need we would then create a brand new tenancy in joint names.


How do I remove someone from my Tenancy? (Joint to Sole)

We can only remove someone from a tenancy as long as both tenants are in agreement. If one tenant is absent and cannot be found, or refuses to be removed, then this would be a matter for the Courts to deal with. This is because by law we are not allowed to remove someone from a tenancy without their express permission or without a Court Order.

If both tenants are in agreement we would need to check that the rent account is up to date and that there are no outstanding debts due to the Association, such as legal costs or recharges.

In addition to this, the remaining tenant needs to be prepared to accept full responsibility for the current property condition and for all aspects of the Tenancy Agreement.

Once we have all the information we need to make a decision, both tenants must sign a Tenancy Relinquishment Form. Once this is done, the tenancy can be amended and the tenant that is left becomes a sole tenant.


What happens if a Joint Tenant dies?

If you have a joint tenancy and one of the joint tenants dies, the tenancy will normally transfer to the surviving tenant so that they become the sole tenant.

This is called ‘succession’ and is classed as an ‘assignment’ of the tenancy.

If you have any questions about adding or removing someone to your tenancy or just need some advice, please do not hesitate to contact us.