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Tenancy policy

Policy Principles

All social housing landlords are required to publish a clear and accessible Tenancy Policy. This policy will ensure that current and future tenancies with the Council are managed consistently. The Policy supports the Council’s vision for Leicester residents who are renting, to have a clear understanding of their tenancy, the level of security their tenancy offers them, their rights and responsibilities and what they can expect from their landlord.

This policy will provide information on:

  1. the kinds of tenancies we grant,
  2. the circumstances in which we grant a tenancy of a particular kind,
  3. where we grant tenancies for a certain term, the lengths of the terms,
  4. the circumstances in which we will grant a further tenancy that’s coming to an end of its existing tenancy and clear guidance on the appeals procedure
  5. succession rights
  6. reasonable steps taken to prevent homelessness
  7. mutual exchanges


Aims and Objectives

This policy sets out our approach to managing all tenancy types, the advice and the assistance we will offer tenants to sustain their tenancies and prevent any unnecessary evictions. This policy will also set out the actions required to support our customers exercising their rights under the terms of their tenancy types.

The aims of developing this policy are:

  • to meet the requirements of the Regulator of Social Housing, within the Tenancy Standard
  • to deliver the objectives and aims that have been set out within Leicester’s Tenancy Strategy.
  • to clearly outline the types of tenancies we offer and what could lead to a change in tenancy type
  • to ensure tenants understand their rights and responsibilities


This policy will apply to all customers who hold a tenancy with the Leicester City Council and will cover the key areas listed below:

  • The types of tenancies we grant and in what circumstances
  • Changes in tenancies including succession, assignment and mutual exchanges
  • Managing and sustaining tenancies

Legislation and Regulation

The Council is required to comply with and give due regard to statutory requirements and codes of guidance in relation to its granting and management of tenancies. This policy has made references from the following documents, whilst this list is not exhaustive:

  • Regulatory framework for Social Housing, in particular the Tenancy Standards
  • Housing Act 1985 and 1996
  • Equality Act 2010
  • Localism Act 2011

Policy Details

Types of Tenancies

A brief description of the types of tenancies this Council will grant is set out in the table below:

Introductory Tenancy

An Introductory Tenancy is a type of a ‘trial’ tenancy. This tenancy has an introductory period of 12 months, which can be extended by another 6 months (totalling 18 months). Introductory tenancies have fewer rights than secure tenancies and are designed to enable social landlords to end these if the tenant breaches conditions of their tenancy during their first year of being a tenant.

Secure Tenancy

A Secure Tenancy is where the resident can live in the property for the rest of their life, as long as they don’t break the terms of the tenancy. This tenancy is issued automatically after a tenant has completed an Introductory Tenancy, without breaching any tenancy conditions.

Sole Tenancy

A Sole Tenancy is where only one person is named on the tenancy agreement. They are the only legal tenant even though other people may live in the property with them. A sole tenant is responsible for all aspects of the tenancy.

Joint Tenancy

A Joint Tenancy is where two people are named on the tenancy agreement. They are ‘jointly liable’, meaning both tenants are responsible for all aspects of the tenancy agreement.

Changes to Tenancies

Tenancies can be changed in a several different ways, below is the information on how this can happen:

Introductory tenancies converting to secure tenancies

All new Leicester City Council tenants will be offered an Introductory Tenancy. This will enable us to provide support and help with sustaining it at the start of their tenancy. This will also enable us to deal with any breaches in tenancy quickly, easily and protect other tenants and the local community.

It is noted that a ‘New tenant(s)’ are people who have received an offer of housing under Part VI of the Housing Act 1996 and are not already secure tenants of a Council elsewhere.

After 12 months, Introductory Tenancies will automatically convert to a Secure Tenancy unless:

  • A notice of seeking possession has been served or a section 128 notice (notice of proceedings of possession)
  • A notice to extend the Introductory Tenancy by a further six months has been served. The Introductory Tenancy can only be extended once.

In cases where a decision is made to serve a notice to terminate a tenancy (where courts can grant mandatory possession) or issue a notice to extend an Introductory Tenancy, the tenant will be offered the right to request a review of the decision, under s128 (notice) s125B (extension) of the Housing Act 1996.

Demoted Tenancy

Leicester City Council generally gives each tenant a secure tenancy. This gives the tenant several rights that he/she will remain entitled to so long as they meet the terms and conditions of the tenancy.

The conditions of a secure tenancy include such things as ensuring the rent is paid on time and behaving in a way that does not cause nuisance or annoyance to others living in the area.

Where the tenant breaches the terms of the secure tenancy or his/ her visitors persistently behave in an anti-social way, the Council may apply to the court to downgrade a tenancy from a secure tenancy to demoted tenancy.

If a tenant fails to comply with the terms of their demoted tenancy during the duration of the demotion order, we can apply to the court for an order giving us the right to evict the tenant from the property.

As a Demoted Tenant you will have lost a number of tenancy rights, including:

  • The right to buy scheme
  • The right to exchange your home with another tenant
  • Assignment (there is one exception to this when a judge gives a Property Adjustment Order at Court during matrimonial disputes or cases involving access to children. Any transfer of the tenancy is completed as an Assignment).

Ending Tenancies

If a Council tenant wants to move out of their home, they must send the Council a ‘Notice to Quit’. Once the Council receives the Notice to Quit, this starts the four- week notice period for the tenancy ending. All tenancies will end on a Monday. Up until the end date, tenants will be responsible for paying rent. If a tenant requires moving out earlier than the 4 weeks’ notice period, this will have to be agreed in advance with the Council. The tenant will not be allowed to enter the property after this date.

When leaving, all tenants must give vacant possession, which means that the tenant must leave the property:

  • clean
  • clear of furniture, belongings and all rubbish
  • with no people or pets still living there

If a tenant does not leave the property clean and clear, they will be recharged for the cost of cleaning and clearing out the property.

A termination of a tenancy is a legal binding document and the decision to accept a written withdrawal of the notice to terminate is discretionary. A management

decision will be made on whether to agree to the withdrawal of the termination on the individual circumstances and information available regarding the conduct of the tenancy.

Ending a Joint Tenancy

If one joint tenant ends the tenancy, the tenancy will end, even if the other joint tenant has not asked for the tenancy to end. The Council will then, at its discretion, consider whether to offer a sole tenancy to the remaining tenant. This decision will be based on the remaining tenant’s current circumstances, for example vulnerability and custody of children. Where a tenancy is offered, this may not be for the same home. Instead, the Council will review the housing needs of the remaining household and make an alternative offer.

Council termination of an Introductory Tenancy

If a tenant fails to pass the 12-month introductory tenancy, the Council can terminate the tenancy under mandatory grounds under section126 Housing Act 1996 at any time, subject to service of Notice and the tenants right to review. An introductory tenancy cannot be ended after the 12-month period has expired unless the introductory tenancy has been extended.

Council termination of a Secure Tenancy

The Council may terminate a secure tenancy by seeking possession under the grounds set out in Schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1985. If the Court grants possession to the Council and the tenant or household members have not left the property by the deadline set out by the Courts, they will be classed as unlawful occupiers and further Court action will be taken to remove these people from the property.

If the Council ends a tenancy because of a tenancy breach, the tenant will be referred to the Council’s Housing Options service Re-housing advice will be provided, but their breach of tenancy conditions may be classed as being intentionally homeless, for which the Council will not have a Duty to offer alternative accommodation.

Right to Appeal

All decisions including the type of tenancy offered by the Council and the length the tenancy is offered for can be appealed. Appeals should be made within 28 days of being notified of our decision directly to the Housing Officer who will present the appeal to the Housing Panel.

Joint Tenancy to a Sole Tenancy

If a joint tenant no longer wishes to remain the tenant, they can terminate the tenancy, but this will be for both parties. In some cases, the remaining tenant can be considered for a new sole tenancy. When considering such a request, we will consider the following:

  • if there are breaches in the conditions of tenancy and whether these breaches are sufficiently serious that they would prevent a new tenancy being awarded
  • the proposed sole tenant must be living at the property as his or her main home at the date of the proposed sole tenancy.

The Court may also order that a tenancy should be transferred into a sole name or into the name of a spouse or civil partner if it makes an order because a relationship has broken down.

Exceptional Circumstances

We may consider a discretionary tenancy in exceptional circumstances, for example, if there are circumstances that prevent one of our properties being occupied.

A new tenancy will be granted at the discretion of our management team and in accordance with the Allocations Policy.

This will include appropriate checks to ensure that the proposed tenant would be eligible to join the Council’s Housing Register, by reviewing and identifying any previous history of anti-social behaviour and in relation to their immigration status.

Name Change

Tenants who change their name will need to provide evidence of the change before a tenancy agreement can be updated. The Council will accept the following documents as evidence:

  • Deed Poll notification
  • Marriage certificate
  • Divorce documents

Before the name change can take place, an interview will be arranged with the Neighbourhood Housing Officer. The Name Change Application form will be completed and evidence of the name change will be witnessed.

Death of a tenant

In the unfortunate event of a death of a tenant, the tenancy can be transferred over to an eligible family member. This is known as Succession (see point 5 below). If

there is no eligible family member wishing to succeed the tenancy, the Council will end the tenancy by serving a Notice to Quit.

Abandoned properties

We recognise that tenants may be away from their homes for an extended period for several reasons. If the tenant is going to be away from their home and not return for 30 days or more, they must do the following before they leave:

  • Inform us you will be away from home
  • Make your home safe and secure for the time you are away
  • Provide emergency contact details
  • Inform us of arrangements you have made to pay the rent

Where we believe that the tenant may have abandoned the property (including anonymous notification) we will carry out investigations and try to locate the tenant. Where we are unable to do this, we will serve a Notice to Quit and take possession of the home as per our abandonment procedure.

Repairs and Access

Tenants must report, as soon as possible, any repairs that need carrying out to the property that are the Councils responsibility. Tenants may be held responsible for any damage caused by a delay in reporting such works. Also for any work that is required as a result of a deliberate act or negligence of any person living with them or visiting their home, (including children) or by a pet or animal belonging to them.

If tenants made changes to their home that we have not agreed, they must remove them and correct any damage caused. If they do not carry out necessary

and specified works caused as a consequence of their behaviour, the Council will undertake this and recharge the tenant accordingly.

Tenants must allow us, or our representatives, agents or contractors access to the property at all reasonable hours to carry out necessary repairs, improvements, planned programmes, gas servicing, district heating checks, maintenance and checks to fire detection or suppression equipment and any safety checks, to inspect its condition and to complete new tenancy visits and tenancy audits.


A decant is the term used where a tenant is required to move from their current property into temporary accommodation. This may be due to redevelopment or major works (re-wiring, build restructure, lift replacement). The Council has a Decant Policy which sets out the steps that will be taken and support that will be provided to the tenant.


Tenants may apply to move to a smaller home and we may provide some financial incentive to do this. Downsizing is carried out in accordance with the Councils Allocation Policy. We will ensure that no tenant gains or loses their tenancy rights if they need to move.

Sustaining Tenancies

Before we grant a tenancy, we will carry out an assessment to check that the perspective tenants can afford to live in the property and to identify whether any support is needed to ensure their tenancy is sustainable

Tenants are required to maintain their properties in a reasonable condition and in accordance with their tenancy agreement.

Monitoring tenancies and the condition of our properties will be a key housing management function that we will undertake. We will deliver effective management to ensure our customers can live comfortably in their homes. We will also take appropriate action to resolve any breaches in tenancy conditions

Where a tenant requires it, we will provide (where this is possible) support required to sustain their tenancy, or we will sign-post the tenant to our internal department or to other external support agencies.

The Leicester City Council has a dedicated Support Tenants and Residents (STAR) service which provides support to council tenants threatened with homelessness to help them maintain their home. The service helps Council tenants to sustain and maintain their tenancies where people have more complex support needs. This service supports people in financial hardship, drug and alcohol dependency or those that are extremely vulnerable. This tailored ‘one to one’ support is essential to enable people with particularly chaotic lifestyles and/ or who are vulnerable back into independent living where possible.

Below is a list of some of the types of support the STAR teams across the city provide:

  • Problems with money, low-level debt, rent arrears or benefits
  • Help accessing mental health, physical health and/or drug and alcohol services
  • Support to set up your new home
  • Finding suitable training, education and employment
  • Access to energy efficiency schemes to make their home warmer and cheaper to run.

Leicester City Council also has its own dedicated Income Management Team. They are responsible for ensuring tenants’ rent and service charges are paid in a timely manner. The team agree affordable re-payment plans for those in arrears and take legal action against those that fail to comply. The team also provides support to

tenants to apply for housing benefit, help to maximize their income. The role of the team is to sustain tenancies in line with the Division’s rent arrears procedures.

Nuisance and Anti-social Behaviour/Other Tenancy Breaches

Leicester City Council takes all reports of nuisance and anti-social behaviour extremely seriously. The customer and the people that they are responsible for must not act in any way that causes or is likely to cause a nuisance or annoyance to anyone living, visiting, or working in the neighbourhood or in any of our offices.

We will work with our partner agencies such as, the police, social services, our new crime and anti-social behaviour team and Environmental Health where appropriate to resolve any issues reported to us.

Perpetrators of nuisance or anti-social behaviour are of risk losing their home should we seek to take possession proceedings.

Our internal anti-social behaviour policy contains comprehensive details of what we would deem as anti-social behaviour and our approach to tackling any cases reported to us in further detail.

Domestic Abuse, Race and Hate Crime

We will not tolerate or condone any sort of domestic abuse, race or hate crime. Leicester City Council believes that no one should live in fear of domestic abuse, race or hate crime. We will offer advice, assistance and support to any person experiencing or being threatened with these.

Keeping a pet

We recognise that pets can be a big part of the family. We also know that animals can bring great comfort to our customers and help with their well-being.

If you live in a property which has direct access to an individual garden, you may keep domestic pets such as dogs or cats. If you live in a property where you are allowed to keep pets, other than a house or bungalow, you may not keep more than 2 dogs or cats in total.

We reserve the right to withdraw permission to keep pets or animals where you, or any person living with you or visiting your home, are mistreating the animal(s), or are not capable of looking after their welfare.


A person can only succeed to a secure or flexible tenancy if they were occupying the dwelling as their only or principal home at the time of the tenant's death. Temporary absence from the dwelling at the time of death or exclusion under a court order (for example, an occupation order) does not prevent the condition being satisfied.

Entitlement to succeed a tenancy, depends upon when the tenancy started.

Tenancies that began before 1 April 2012

The deceased tenant's spouse or civil partner can succeed if they were occupying the property as their only or principal home.

A cohabitee or a member of the family can succeed if they:

  • were occupying the property as their only or principal
  • had been residing with the tenant for at least 12 months prior to the death of the tenant.

The 12-month period could be in any property, in which the tenant was living if they moved home in the year before they died. 'Residing with' means making a home with the tenant, rather than staying with them for a period of time.

Tenancy that began on or after 1 April 2012

Only the deceased tenant's spouse, civil partner or cohabitee is entitled to succeed.

Other family members cannot succeed unless there is a term in the tenancy agreement that expressly allows for this to happen. The tenancy agreement could allow someone else to succeed, such as a carer.

Where a succession occurs as a result of rights provided for in the tenancy agreement, this is a statutory succession and there are no further rights of succession.


Assignment means legally transferring a tenancy from one person to another. It is the continuation of the previous tenancy, not a new tenancy. Only the name will change and only one assignment or succession is allowed on a tenancy.

The successor will inherit all the rights and responsibilities of the previous tenant, including payment of outstanding arrears and the Right to Buy entitlement. As this is the case, rent arrears will not be taken into account when assessing applications.

Family members wishing to assign can be a partner, son, daughter, mother, father, grandfather, grandmother, grandchild, nephew, niece or half-blood relative to the tenant (a partner is somebody living with the tenant as if they were married or a civil partner).

You can assign your Secure Tenancy to your husband, wife, or civil partner if they live with you. If you do not live with a married or civil partner, you can assign to any of the family member listed above, but only if the person has lived with you for at least 12 month and your tenancy allows it. The current tenancy only has to be the principal home at the time of assignment. They could have been living together at another premises for part of the previous 12 months, but it will be their responsibility to provide proof of this.

Introductory Tenancies (assignment rights still apply). The person to which the tenancy is assigned will take on the remaining introductory period before it becomes secure tenancy e.g. if a tenant assigns the tenancy in the fifth month of an Introductory Tenancy, the successor becomes an Introductory Tenant for the remaining seven months before becoming a secure tenant.

Demoted Tenancies (assignment rights still apply), but all applicants have to provide proof of 12-month residency, including husband, wife and civil partner. They will also become a Demoted Tenant until the tenancy is reverted to a secure one.

Where a tenancy is less than 12 months old the time an applicant spent living with the tenant immediately prior to the tenancy is also counted. This applies whether the home was a Council tenancy, owner-occupier or other sort of tenure.

e.g. for a tenancy 7 months old the last 5 months in the previous property is taken into consideration, provided there has been no break in residency and that this was their only and principal home of the successor.

Mutual exchanges are classed as a different form of assignment. If a tenant exchanges into a new property and then wishes to assign the tenancy to someone else (other than through a mutual exchange) and if they meet the qualifying criteria, they would be able to do this. The only time this will not apply is if the tenant exchanging had been the successor to the property they were moving from. They would take their successor criteria with them to the property they were exchanging into. They would then have no further right to assign the tenancy at a later date.

Unlike a succession, we cannot ask the court for possession for an under occupied property between 6 and 12 months when an assignment has taken place. However, if the property has been adapted and neither, the assignor or the occupant requires the adaptation, then the Council can apply to regain the tenancy again. The assignment must be allowed to be completed first. The Notice of Seeking Possession can be served straight after the assignment is completed.

Mutual exchange

The mutual exchange is an agreement between two or more parties to swap their tenancies and properties. Where they meet the criteria and there are no grounds to

refuse the request, tenants have the right to exchange. Grounds for refusing a mutual exchange apply (Schedule 3, Housing Act 1985) listed below.

7 legal reasons for Mutual Exchange refusals

  1. If a tenant has a court order outstanding.
  2. If legal proceedings have started for possession of their property.
  3. If the proposed tenant moving in would be under occupying the property.
  4. If the proposed incoming tenants would be over occupying the property.
  5. If the tenant lives in a property that is mainly for non-housing accommodation, or when a tenant(s) property is linked directly to their job working for the Council.
  6. If the property is adapted for disabled use and the incoming tenant does not need this type of property.
  7. If the property and / or tenancy is linked to the provision of support.

The Council has 42 days to make a decision, whether tenants are entitled to an exchange or not. Tenants have the right to exchange properties if the Council does not make a decision to accept or refuse the exchange within 42 days.

Where there are rent arrears, outstanding rechargeable repairs or where there are other breaches of tenancy conditions, the Council may give provisional permission to exchange, conditional upon these breaches being remedied. Where an applicant is suffering exceptional financial hardship, an exchange can be granted without a clear rent account at the Council’s discretion. In these circumstances the tenant will be expected to sign an agreement to clear any arrears following their move.


This Policy will be reviewed every two years unless there are significant changes to legislation during this time.