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Types of council tenancies

There are different types of council tenancy that we give our tenants, each of which has different rights and responsibilities.

When you become a council tenant you will be provided with a written tenancy agreement which states clearly the type of tenancy you will be given. This agreement outlines your rights and responsibilities as a tenant and our rights and responsibilities as your landlord.

The vast majority of our new tenants will be given one of two types of tenancy.

Introductory tenancies

If you are not an existing secure or assured tenant (assured tenancies are the housing association equivalent of our secure tenancies) we will give you an introductory tenancy. It could also be called a “probationary” tenancy. Introductory tenancies normally last for one year. If you have kept to all your responsibilities as a tenant during that year (for example, if you have paid your rent on time and have not committed any anti-social behaviour) your introductory tenancy will automatically become a full secure tenancy when that year is up. We can also extend your introductory tenancy by a maximum of six months if you have broken some terms of your tenancy but are working with us to rectify the breach.

As an introductory tenant, you have the same responsibilities as secure tenants (see below under “Secure tenancy”.

An introductory tenancy also gives you many of the same rights as a secure tenant; however we can evict you much more easily if you break the terms of your tenancy agreement. In addition, as an introductory tenant you cannot:

  • Exchange your tenancy with any other tenant
  • Transfer your tenancy, unless you are ordered to by a court or in other very rare circumstances
  • Exercise your right to buy (however, the period of introductory tenancy may count towards the right to buy)
  • Take in lodgers or sublet all or part of the property
  • Make improvements to the property without our permission

Secure tenancy

The vast majority of our tenants are secure tenants. This is the standard tenancy granted to council tenants. A secure tenancy gives you very many rights as well as responsibilities.

Some of the more important rights you have as a secure tenant are that:

  • You can live in your home for the rest of your life as long as you abide by your tenancy agreement
  • You can buy your home at a discount
  • You will be able to pass on your home to a spouse or civil partner when you die as long as they were living with you at the time and no previous succession has taken place
  • You may be able to pass on your home to someone else in your family who had been living with you for over a year when you die
  • You can take in lodgers, and you can sub-let part of your home with our permission
  • You can get certain urgent repairs done quickly and at no cost to you
  • You can carry out improvements to your home with our permission
  • You might be entitled to compensation for certain improvements you have made if you move home
  • You can help to manage the estate where you live
  • You can exchange your property for another one with our permission
  • You must be consulted on housing management matters
  • You must be given information about how we manage the homes we own

As a secure tenant you have a number of responsibilities regarding how you use your home:

  • You must pay the rent and other charges weekly
  • You must give four weeks’ notice in writing to end the tenancy
  • You should personally live in the home and not run a business from it without seeking and obtaining our permission first
  • Involvement in any act of nuisance, vandalism, anti-social behaviour or harassment/hate crime is considered a tenancy breach if it occurs in or around the home and elsewhere on the estate
  • You should seek our advice before keeping any domestic pets: there are restrictions applicable to different types of housing. Guide dogs are permitted in all our homes
  • If you own a car or have visitors who do you must ensure it doesn’t cause an obstruction and is not parked on any grassed area. If there is space to park in front of your house you must have a properly constructed pavement crossover and hardstanding. You should get permission before parking any trailer or caravan
  • You must take good care of your home. You must keep any gardens tidy, the inside of your home clean and in a good state of decoration
  • You must report emergency repairs immediately, such as blocked drains, water leaks and problems with the gas or electricity supply. If you report such a problem outside office hours an emergency service will come out and make safe to allow a repair the following working day or after, depending on the urgency

If you are involved in any serious breach of your tenancy agreement, you may have your tenancy status demoted.

Further information regarding the rights and responsibilities of a secure tenant can be found in the leaflet “A guide to your tenancy”.

Demoted tenancy

If you are a secure tenant and commit serious acts of anti-social behaviour we may apply to the court to demote your tenancy. A demoted tenancy is a one-year probationary council tenancy.

Demoted tenants have some, but not all, of the same rights as secure tenants. The most important thing, though, is that they can be evicted much more easily if, for example, serious acts of anti-social behaviour continue. Demoted tenants lose the following rights:

  • They lose their right to buy for the period of the demotion
  • They can’t take in lodgers or sublet their home
  • They can’t transfer to another home or do a mutual exchange

If demoted tenants stop causing anti-social behaviour or don’t break their tenancy agreement in other ways they will automatically become secure tenants again after 12 months; and all rights will be restored.

Special rules apply to passing on demoted tenancies. We will be happy to discuss these with you if you would like more information..

Equitable tenancy

Sometimes we house people who are not yet 18. As a “minor” they cannot hold a standard tenancy but we need a type of tenancy agreement that can be enforced and which gives binding rights and responsibilities to the minor. An “equitable” tenancy is the way by which we do that. In most respects it’s the same as an introductory tenancy in that certain rights are restricted (see “Introductory tenancy” above).

When the equitable tenant reaches 18 they will become an introductory tenant and then, after a further year, a full secure tenant as long as they have kept to the terms of their tenancy agreement.