Passing on your tenancy
You may be able to pass your tenancy on to other people. If you want to pass on your tenancy it is important that you follow the correct legal procedure. If you don't your housing provider could evict you and the person you attempt to pass the tenancy on to.
Can other people stay if I move out?
If you are the sole tenant of a Housing Executive or Housing Association property you may be able to pass the tenancy to another person. This person will then become the tenant. You will no longer have any right to live in the property unless the new tenant agrees to this. This process is called assignment.
For an assignment to be legal everyone involved must agree to and sign a deed of assignment. A deed is a special legal document. Assignments have to take place by deed even if there was no written agreement for the original tenancy.
If you don't carry out an assignment correctly the other person is likely to be your sub-tenant. This will give the new tenant fewer rights and will mean that you will still be responsible for paying the rent. Many housing associations forbid tenants from subletting without consent, so it's important that you get advice before moving anyone else who will be paying rent into your home.
When can I assign my tenancy?
You will usually need the consent of the Housing Executive or your housing association before you can assign your tenancy. If you are a Housing Executive or Housing Association tenant, you are able to assign your tenancy if:
I'm getting divorced or separated
If you are splitting up with your partner it may be necessary for the tenancy to be passed from one of you to the other. You might be able to do this by:
- legally assigning the tenancy to another person
- transferring the tenancy using family law
Any type of tenancy can be transferred under family law. Some tenancies (e.g. protected tenancies) can only be transferred following a court order. Your landlord does not have to agree to the transfer for it to be legal. Get legal advice if you are separating or divorcing and you're not sure what will happen to your tenancy.
Get advice if you are joint tenants and one of you wants to leave. If one joint tenant gives a valid notice to quit the tenancy will be ended. The remaining tenant(s) won't be allowed to live at the property.
What will happen to my tenancy if I die?
If you are a joint tenant and you die the other tenant(s) automatically continue with the tenancy. They will be responsible for your share of the rent.
If you are a sole tenant and you die, it may be possible for your spouse or partner to take over the tenancy. Inheriting a tenancy in this way is known as succession. There are usually rules about how long you have lived at the property and if a succession has already occurred. Succession is possible if:
- you are a Housing Executive or housing association tenant,
- you are a private tenant and your landlord agrees to you taking over the tenancy,
- you have a protected tenancy,
- your spouse or partner lives with you.
If you have a protected tenancy and you die, a family member may succeed to the property if:
- there has been no succession previously,
- they have been living at the property for at least six months at the time of death,
- there is no spouse or civil partner.
If there is no one who can succeed to your tenancy the landlord will be able to end the tenancy fairly easily. Anyone living at the property after you die could be evicted unless they are a joint tenant. The landlord will have to get a court order to start the eviction.
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