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Ending a council tenancy

In the case of a joint tenancy, the surviving tenant will normally be entitled to succeed to the tenancy. This is also the case where there is a sole tenancy but there is a spouse living in the property.

In the case of a sole tenant where there is no spouse it is possible that the tenancy can be transferred to another member of the tenant’s family (Section 113 of the 1985 Housing Act defines members of a tenant's family for the purposes of succession as: spouses, parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren, siblings, uncles, aunts, nephews and nieces; including step-relations, half-relations and illegitimate children and persons living together as husband and wife), provided that the relative has been living in the property for at least one year prior to the death of the tenant, and there has been no previous succession since 1980.
However, the council can exercise its right to move the remaining tenant to accommodation appropriate for their needs.

In cases where more than one party has right to succeed the parties involved must either decide between them who succeeds or the decision will be made by the council. If you require further information on this issue, please contact us.


If both parties agree that tenant can voluntarily assign the tenancy in favour of the remaining partner.
If there is a dispute then either party in a matrimonial relationship may apply to the County Court for an order transferring the tenancy to their name and this is a matter where you should seek advice from a solicitor.
The court will normally give the tenancy to the person who is given custody of the children.

In non-matrimonial relationships a partner's right to the tenancy is not automatic and advice should be sought from the housing department.

While any dispute over the tenancy is being resolved the other party should register on the housing waiting list so their needs can be assessed.


When you accepted your tenancy from the council you agreed to give four weeks notice when you wanted to to leave. Notice should be given in writing and a form that you can print off, complete and send to the housing department is included in the downloads section. Upon receipt of this Notice to Quit you will receive a notification from your Neighbourhood Officer advising that the Notice has been received, if it is correctly completed and the effective date of your tenancy ending. If you do not receive this acknowledgement the dates in box 3 and 4 will not be effective and a new notice will be required to be submitted.

All the keys for sheds, bin stores, communal entrance doors, etc should be handed in to the housing department before 12 noon on the Monday on which the four weeks notice period ends. If the keys are not returned by this time, or notice is not given, you may be held responsible for rent of the property.

After you have left, a repairs inspector will carry out a survey of the property and you may be charged for any repairs beyond those which would be reasonably expected through fair wear and tear. It is therefore in your interest to report any repairs needed well before you move, and try not to cause any damage to the property or decorations when moving out. The council also has a scheme whereby tenants moving to another of its properties may receive a decorating allowance if their previous home has been kept in good decorative order.

Remember to tell the electricity, gas and telephone companies that you are moving, and let them know your forwarding address so that your final account can be sent on to you after a final reading is taken. It is also advisable for you to take final meter readings yourself.

Always leave a forwarding address with the council so that they may forward post.

For more information see our factsheet offering advice to executors or next of kin following the death of a tenant. Close

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Last updated: 15 June 2018 | Last reviewed: 15 June 2018