Tenancy Rights & Responsibilities
Your responsibilities as a tenant, and our responsibilities to you as your landlord, are contained in your tenancy agreement. Your responsibilities will include the following:
- paying your rent and any other charges on time
- allowing access for safety checks (such as the annual gas check) and for landlord repairs to be carried out
- keeping your property and any garden area in good condition and carrying out those repairs for which you are responsible
- keeping all shared areas clear of rubbish and obstructions
- ensuring that you, your family and visitors do not cause nuisance or annoyance to other people living in the local area
- letting us know of any changes to who is living with you at the property.
Your tenancy rights
We will support you to exercise the tenancy rights contained in your tenancy agreement. Tenancy rights may differ, depending on the type of tenancy you have, and when it was issued, and so it is always important to check what your tenancy agreement says. If you have any questions about your tenancy rights, please let us know.
An assignment is when one tenant legally passes their tenancy on to another person. A tenant may have the right to assign their tenancy through legislation or as a condition of their tenancy agreement. They can only assign it in the following circumstances:
- by way of a court order made under Matrimonial or Family Legislation, or
- with the written permission of Bucks Housing when exercising the right to exchange as set out in their tenancy agreement, or
- to a person who would be qualified to succeed them, as set out in their tenancy agreement, if the tenant had died immediately before the assignment.
Where there is no right of assignment, Bucks Housing may agree to an assignment of the tenancy at our discretion.
Where a tenant dies, our policy is to grant rights of succession to other occupiers in accordance with current legislation and the terms and conditions of individual tenancy agreements. In most cases, the tenant’s spouse, civil partner or partner will have a legal right to succeed a tenancy. We may also consider offering a new tenancy to an adult member of the family even if they have no legal right of succession. The family member must provide evidence that they:
- are a member of the tenant’s household
- have lived with the tenant for a minimum of 12 months prior to the death of the tenant
- have lived in the tenant’s home as their only or principle home at the time of the tenant’s death.
Please note that for most tenancies, there is only one right of succession. This means that if the tenancy has already passed to a joint tenant, spouse, civil partner, partner or family member, then no further right to succeed to the tenancy will be granted.
In some circumstances, Bucks Housing can require the successor to move to an alternative property should the current property be considered unsuitable or larger than the successor needs.
A mutual exchange is where social housing tenants (council, housing association or other registered providers) can swap properties with other social housing tenants.
Each tenant moves into their exchange partner’s property and takes on responsibility for that tenancy. We promote the use of mutual exchanges as a way of enabling our tenants to move and we will help facilitate mutual exchanges where possible.
Tenants may exchange to a larger or smaller property and/or they may move to a different location. Most tenants with a secure or assured tenancy are eligible to carry out a mutual exchange. However, you will not be eligible if any of the following apply:
- you have an assured shorthold tenancy
- you have rent arrears
- you have a history of antisocial behaviour or other breach of tenancy.
The most popular way of finding an exchange partner is online. We have signed up to www.homeswapper.co.uk and membership is free for our tenants. Once you have registered with Homeswapper you will have to provide:
- a description of your property and its location
- photos of your property
- a description of the type of property you are looking for
You will then have the opportunity to search for the type of property and location you are looking for.
If you have found another tenant with whom you wish to exchange, you must let us know so that we can confirm that you and your proposed exchange partner are eligible for the exchange. It is important that you visit and inspect the property you want to move to. You should look for any improvements the tenant has made, as they will become your responsibility.
You will then need to complete an application form. We will let you know our decision within 42 days of receiving your application form. We will not refuse permission without good reason.
It is very important you understand the possible implications of carrying out a mutual exchange. You should not make any arrangements to move until you have received written approval from all landlords. You must not exchange your home without our permission. If you do, you may have to move back and we could take legal action to end your tenancy.
For new tenants, we will issue joint tenancies to those nominated by the local authority as joint applicants.
A current sole tenant, who wishes to add someone to their tenancy agreement, must apply to us in writing. We will usually only agree to creating a joint tenancy for married couples, civil partners and people in a relationship that live together. We will require proof of length of residence.
It is important to be aware that joint tenants are jointly and severally responsible for the tenancy and for the payment of rent. Therefore, even if one joint tenant leaves, both tenants are still liable for any unpaid rent.
Once a joint tenancy has been created, the landlord cannot transfer the tenancy to one of the parties unless one of the parties has died, they are both in agreement or there is a court order. If you wish to discuss your tenancy, you should contact the Housing Management Team.
Depending on your tenancy, you may have the right to take in a lodger. If you do have this right, you must comply with the following conditions:
- the property must not become overcrowded as a result
- a sub tenancy must not be granted
- if you are in receipt of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, you must inform the Housing Benefit Department of your local council or the Department of Work and Pensions
- you must check that your lodger has the ‘right to rent’ in line with immigration legislation.
Where you have the right to take in a lodger, you do not need our permission beforehand, however, you must inform of us of anyone living within the property.
Depending on your tenancy, you may have the right to sublet your property and permission will be granted in accordance with your tenancy agreement. If you do not have the right to sub-let all or part of your property, it is unlawful, and you would be in breach of the terms of your tenancy agreement. Where unlawful subletting is identified, legal action will be taken to regain possession of the property.
Running a business
Permission is required for tenants to run a business from their home and permission will not be unreasonably withheld. Factors that will be taken into consideration when making our decision will include:
- the type of business and possible impact on neighbours
- possible impact on the building insurance for the property
- any planning, or other, restrictions
Permission may be withdrawn if the business causes or leads to anti-social behaviour.
Where the tenancy agreement states that permission is required to have a pet, permission will not be unreasonably withheld. Where the tenancy agreement does not state that permission is required, consent will not be needed beforehand. All tenants should inform us of any pets within their property even if permission is not required. Permission may be withdrawn if the pet(s) causes or leads to anti-social behaviour.