When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Passing on your tenancy

You may be able to pass your tenancy on to someone else if you can't live in the property. Your landlord needs to give permission to allow this to happen and will only do it in certain circumstances.

If you move out of the property and allow someone else to live in it without your landlord making that person a tenant, they have no rights to stay in the property and can be easily evicted. If you don't assign the tenancy, you'll remain the legal tenant and the landlord can take legal action against you for any rent owed.

Passing the tenancy to someone you live with

If you can't live in your home anymore, but want someone else who lived with you to become the tenant, you should ask for an 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.

Your landlord does not always have to agree to an assignment. 

Reasons for assigning a tenancy

Refused an assignment

If you've been refused permission to assign a tenancy you should speak to an adviser at Housing Rights.

Passing on a tenancy after a death

When a joint tenant dies, the other joint tenant will inherit the tenancy and become the sole tenant.  That person will become responsible for paying all the rent on the property. 

It's possible, in certain circumstances, to pass on a sole tenancy after the tenant dies.  You may be able to inherit someone's tenancy if

  • the tenancy was a Housing Executive or Housing Association tenancy and
  • you are the spouse or civil partner of the tenant and lived with him or her at the time of death or
  • you are the parent, grandparent, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, child, grandchild, stepchild or partner of the tenant and lived with him or her for at least 12 months up to the date of death  or
  • you have taken over the care of the deceased's dependent children, or
  • you gave up your own home or tenancy to move in with and care for the deceased. 

Refusal to pass a tenancy on after death

The landlord can refuse to allow you to live in the property after the tenant dies if
  • the tenant has already inherited the property from someone else
  • you aren't a spouse or civil partner of the tenant and have been living in the property for less than 12 months. 

You should be given reasons in writing if your application for succession is refused. If you've been refused permission to inherit a tenancy, you can speak to an adviser at Housing Rights to find out if there's anything else you can do. 

Private tenants

Most private tenants will only be able to pass their tenancy on to someone else if the landlord agrees to this.  The landlord will set up a new tenancy agreement.  There is a certain category of private tenant, called protected tenants, who have a legal right to succession.  If a protected tenant dies, someone who was living with them may be able to inherit the tenancy.