Summary of Rights
About your tenancy
Partners manage your property on behalf of Islington Council, and you are a tenant of the Council.
The tenancy agreement you have signed is a legal contract. The conditions of tenancy that we gave you when your tenancy started explain the terms of the contract. The contract means that we, as your landlord (being the Council’s managing agent), are responsible for certain things and you, as the tenant, have certain responsibilities for looking after your home and behaving in an appropriate way.
There are two types of council tenancy:
- an introductory tenancy
- a secure tenancy
You will start your tenancy as an introductory tenant, unless you were previously a secure tenant. As an introductory tenant you have fewer legal rights than a secure tenant. Your introductory tenancy is for a trial period, usually 12 months. You must show us that you are responsible enough to keep your home.
If you break any of the conditions of an introductory tenancy we can ask the Court to give us possession of your home. As an introductory tenant the Court automatically have to grant a possession order against you. But if you show us that you can act responsibly, you will automatically become a secure tenant after the period of your introductory tenancy. When you become a secure tenant you will get additional legal rights.
If you pass your trial period as an introductory tenant, you will become a secure tenant. A secure tenancy gives you a number of legal rights as set out below. However should you breach the conditions of your secure tenancy we can still seek possession of your home through the Court, but the Court will not automatically grant a possession order. The Court will consider the evidence in order to make a decision.
Changes of tenancy
The right to one succession of tenancy (This right does not apply to introductory tenants)
If you are a secure tenant, the law gives certain people the right to succeed (take over) your tenancy when you die:
- If you are a joint tenant, then the other joint tenant will automatically succeed to the tenancy;
- If your spouse or civil partner is living with you when you die, they have the right to succeed to your tenancy.
For tenancies which commenced before 1 April 2012, a partner or another family member, such as a son or daughter, can also succeed to the tenancy provided certain qualifying criteria are met. By law, a tenancy can only be succeeded to once.
The right to one assignment of the tenancy (This right does not apply to introductory tenants)
If you are a secure tenant and need to leave your property to live elsewhere, the law gives you the right to assign (hand over) your tenancy to someone else in some circumstances. You can assign the tenancy only to those people who would have the right to succeed (see above). If you have succeeded to the tenancy (taken it over from someone who died), you do not have the right to assign it. If you wish to assign your tenancy, you must apply to do so before you leave the property and the person you want to assign the property to must meet the qualifying criteria.
The right to swap homes with someone else (mutual exchange) (This right does not apply to introductory tenants)
You can swap homes (‘mutual exchange’) with another tenant of a Council or housing association, but you must first get permission from both landlords. There are a number of ways to find someone to exchange with – contact your Housing Services Officer using the details at the front of this handbook for more details.
When you have found someone suitable, and submitted an application it will be considered and a decision will be made within 42 days. You must clear any rent arrears in full before we agree a mutual exchange.
Sole and joint tenancies
- When you first sign up for a tenancy, you can be either a sole tenant or a joint tenant with a partner.
- If you have a joint tenancy, both of you are responsible for keeping to the conditions in the tenancy agreement – including paying all the rent
- If you hold a sole tenancy and later want to change to a joint tenancy, you must make an application to do so. We will agree to award a joint tenancy in certain circumstances.
- Either joint tenant can give notice to end the tenancy at any time even if the other joint tenant does not agree.
Other Tenancy Rights
The right to take in lodgers (This right does not apply to introductory tenants)
A lodger is someone living with you in your property who pays you rent. You have the right to take in lodgers as long as we, as the landlord, think this is reasonable.
You must ask us for permission before you take in a lodger, and we will then consider whether this is reasonable. We will look at how many people are already living in the property and whether having a lodger would result in overcrowding. If you are in receipt of Housing Benefit, you must tell the council’s Housing Benefit department and declare the rent you are receiving from your lodger.
A secure tenant does not have the right to sublet their property. If you do sublet your property:
- You will lose your security of tenure
- We will take legal action to repossess the property.
The right to buy (This right does not apply to introductory tenants)
You have the right to buy your home at a discount when you have been a secure tenant for at least two or five years, depending when your tenancy started. More information on the right to buy can be obtained from Islington Council – www.islington.gov.uk.
The right to improve your home (This right does not apply to introductory tenants)
You have the right to make alterations, additions, or improvements to your home, provided you have our permission in writing to do so. You will become responsible for the on-going maintenance of any improvements you make
The right to manage
A tenants’ or residents’ organisation has the right to set up a Tenant Management Organisation, which may be able to take on responsibility for the day-to-day management of your homes. If you would like more information about this right, please contact us.