Your tenancy agreement
Every tenant signs an agreement with us, and it is important that this is understood. Find out more about your tenancy agreement on this page.
Your tenancy agreement is a legal contract between you and the Council. It sets out our responsibilities to you and your rights and obligations as a tenant.
What type of tenancy do I have?
For the first 12 months of your first Council tenancy, you will be an introductory tenant. This is a trial period, that allows us to see if you are willing to keep the terms and conditions of your tenancy agreement.
During the trial period, you must show us that you understand your responsibilities to the Council and your neighbours by:
- paying your rent on time
- ensuring that you, or anyone living with you and your visitors, do not cause a nuisance to your neighbours or the local community
- looking after your home and garden
- keeping the other conditions of the tenancy agreement
Introductory tenants do not have the right to:
- buy their home
- take in lodgers
- make improvements
- exchange their home
If you break the tenancy conditions, we will offer as much advice and support as we can to help you get back on track. However, if you refuse to accept our help or continue to break the rules, we may extend your trial period for an extra six months or - if you seriously breach the agreement - take legal action to evict you.
During the first year, a housing officer will visit to ensure all is well and consider any support you may require to sustain your tenancy. At the end of the first year (or extended period), as long as you have kept to the terms and conditions of your tenancy agreement, you will become a secure tenant.
If you want to appeal a decision of having your introductory tenancy extended, or being served a Notice of Possession Proceedings that leads to eviction, you must do so within 14 days of receiving our written notice.
Once you have completed your 12 months introductory period, you will be eligible to become a secure tenant. This will happen automatically unless we have taken any form of legal action against you during your introductory tenancy.
Once you have successfully completed your introductory period, you may in some instances receive a fixed-term tenancy dependent on your home. This type of tenancy is also known as an assured short-hold tenancy and is intended to last for a fixed period of time. We normally issue five year fixed-term tenancies.
If you have a fixed-term tenancy, you may have the right (subject to permission) to:
- mutual exchange (swap your property)
- add and remove a person from the tenancy
- pass on your tenancy
We will contact you to arrange a meeting before your fixed-term tenancy is due to end, normally nine months before. We will discuss your current circumstances to see if you still require the same type of home and review your tenancy history with us.
What can secure tenants do that introductory tenants can't?
Secure tenants can:
- stay living in their home as long as they like
- with written permission, sublet part of their home
- exchange their home with another council or housing association tenant
- buy their home
What are my responsibilities as a tenant?
We want your time living with us to be as enjoyable as possible. As one of our tenants, you have certain responsibilities that can be found in your tenancy agreement, with some of them outlined below. Please read your tenancy agreement carefully to make sure you know your responsibilities.
Responsibilities of the tenant
On signing your tenancy agreement, you are pledging to:
- pay your rent and any other charges on time
- live in harmony with your neighbours
- be respectful to our staff and contractors
- keep the inside of your home in good order and report any repairs promptly
- give us access to your home, when necessary, so that our contractors can undertake any essential repairs, such as your annual gas safety check (if applicable)
- maintain your private garden and fences (if you have them)
- give us 28 days written notice if you want to end your tenancy
Responsibilities of the landlord (the Council)
As your landlord, the Council will:
- help you to live peacefully in your home
- complete any necessary repairs to your home within the timescale we promise
- keep your communal areas well maintained (if you pay a service charge for your property)
- allow you to exchange homes with another council tenant, or a tenant of a housing association, if your tenancy agreement allows and you have our written permission
- provide general information on the housing services we provide
- give you the right to complain if we have not delivered any aspect of our service
- give you access to any information we hold about you
- consult you on any changes to your rent or service charges
What happens if a secure tenant breaches their tenancy agreement?
If you breach the agreement, an officer will review the matter with you, consider any support you require to sustain your tenancy, and be clear on the change of behaviour required.
In very serious cases, or where you fail to adhere to your tenancy conditions despite repeated requests, we may take formal legal actions against you. This could include:
- taking possession of your home
- an injunction
- demotion of your tenancy
- other legal remedies
A demotion of tenancy may be applied if you commit anti-social behaviour. Demoted tenants have similar rights to introductory tenants and can be evicted if they continue to be anti-social. A demotion order usually lasts for 12 months and if there are no more breaches you will become a secure tenant again.
Who gets the house if my relationship with my partner breaks down?
Can I pass on my Council tenancy to someone else?
There are two main ways your tenancy can be passed on to someone else:
If you want to succeed to a tenancy you should complete a tenancy amendment form. A housing officer will contact you to arrange a visit. A spouse, civil partner or partner can succeed the tenancy on the death of a sole tenant providing they were living with the tenant at the time of the tenant's death, and that the property is their only or principal home.
If the tenancy commenced before 1 April 2012, a qualifying family member, which includes partners may also succeed, that person must have been living in the property for the previous 12 months as their only or principal home.
Only one person can succeed the tenancy.
You may be able to assign your tenancy in certain circumstances but only with our consent, unless an order to assign has been made by the Court. You can make a request in writing, which will consider and let you know our decision within 28 days.
If you disagree with our decision in either succession or assignment cases you can ask for a review of the decision.
Can I add someone to my tenancy agreement?
You can request a joint tenancy using our Request for Joint Tenancy form. We will consider each application and may refuse if the prospective joint tenant does not meet the eligibility criteria.
What you need to know
A sole tenant can at a later date apply to the Council to consider their request for a joint tenancy. There is no legal right to a joint tenancy and GYBC will consider each application upon its merits.
The following criteria applies:
- the tenant's spouse, registered civil partner or partner has continuously resided with the applicant in the previous 12 months
- the tenant's carer where a medical need for a residential carer exists and the carer has either:
- surrendered a tenancy from a Registered Provider in order to move in with the tenant to provide care, or
- lived with the tenant or not sought independent accommodation for a period of 12 months or more due to undertaking caring responsibilities of the tenant and where the exceptional circumstances of the case mean that awarding a joint tenancy will substantially increase the likelihood of that tenancy being sustained
To ensure the best use of our housing stock, children of tenants will not normally be considered as joint tenants unless the criteria as a carer or exceptional circumstances exist.
A joint tenancy may not be awarded in any of the following circumstances:
- the existing tenant has more than 3 minor breaches or is significantly breaching their tenancy agreement
- the prospective joint tenant has an interest in another property or land
- the prospective joint tenant has previously demonstrated that they are unable to sustain a tenancy or are unsuitable to be a tenant. This will be by conduct that, if a secure tenancy was in place, would result in a breach of that tenancy
- the property has additional features or adaptations which are specific to the needs of the tenant and, in creating a joint tenancy; it would have a direct effect on the possible future best use of the property
Can I change my name on my tenancy?
Can I buy the home I rent from you?
I have a mobility scooter, where can I store it?
It is important that all access routes out of communal entrances, hallways and stairways are kept clear at all times. Mobility scooters must not be parked or recharged in any of these areas at any time as they pose an obstruction to people who may need to exit the building quickly in an emergency and can pose a fire risk if the scooter battery overheats.
Mobility scooters should be stored and recharged inside your own property. Do not leave your scooter on charge for long periods as the battery may overheat and this can cause a fire risk. For your own safety, choose a place in your property to park the scooter that does not block your exit route out of the property, or prevent emergency services getting into the property in the event of an incident.