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Housing services

Changes to your council tenancy

What to do if you need to change your tenancy.

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If your circumstances change, or you feel you need advice regarding your tenancy, you should contact your assistant housing officer through Customer First on 0141 577 3001. We will be happy to advise and assist you.

Examples of changes where you should seek advice may include:

  • Application for a joint tenancy
  • Sub-letting or taking in a lodger
  • What happens if the tenancy holder dies?

It is important that you ask for advice before taking any action (such as taking in a lodger), as permission may be required. Failure to obtain permission may impact on your tenancy.

If you want to add someone to your tenancy and make them a joint tenant e.g. through marriage, a change of tenancy application form must be completed. Please complete and return the change of tenancy application form. If in doubt, please contact us before taking any action.

Tenancy changes

There are a number of tenancy changes available to secure Council tenants

The main changes are:

  • creating joint tenancies
  • succession to a tenancy where the tenant has died
  • signing over a tenancy to a family member (assignment)
  • swapping your home with another tenant (a mutual exchange)

Joint tenancies - change of tenancy

Who can have a joint tenancy?

Couples making a joint application for housing are usually granted a joint tenancy.

The tenancy is in my name only. Can my partner be added to my tenancy?

Yes, provided that your partner has lived with you and does not have a tenancy elsewhere. It is also necessary that you are not in breach of your tenancy terms and conditions (for example, rent arrears or anti-social behaviour).

I have just got married; can my spouse be added to the tenancy?

Your spouse can be added to the tenancy straightaway providing all the other conditions described for adding a partner to a tenancy are met.

I have a joint tenancy and my partner/spouse has died. Will I automatically keep the tenancy in my name?

Yes, the partner to a joint tenancy automatically will succeed to the tenancy and property following the death of the other joint tenant.  This is treated in the same way as a succession and removes the deceased partner/spouse from the lease.


My partner/spouse has died? Can I succeed to the tenancy?

If you are the partner or spouse to a sole tenant who has died, and can provide satisfactory proof that you have been living in the tenancy, you can be considered for the tenancy of the property you are living in providing there has not been two previous successions or assignments.

I am related to the tenant who has died. Can I take on the tenancy?

Only one tenancy succession is allowed in law. If there has not already been a succession, a family member who has been living with the tenant can apply to succeed to the tenancy. You will require to provide satisfactory proof that you have been living with the tenant.

If more than one person meets the requirements for succession and if the family cannot decide who succeeds, the Council will make the choice. If the request is agreed, the Council will take into account the needs of the family.

What if there has already been two successions?

The Council will consider the application very carefully and may in some cases consider granting a discretionary new tenancy in a property that suits their needs.

I have been living with the tenant as a carer - can I be considered for the tenancy?

Yes, providing you can provide proof that you have been living there on the basis that it is your sole or principal home. You should note, however, that where a property has been specifically adapted for use by a person with a disability you may not be able to succeed to the tenancy.


Can I hand over my tenancy to my partner/spouse? I do not want to live at the property any more?

The conditions for allowing a tenancy assignment are very similar to those for a succession. You can ask to assign to anyone who would have been entitled to succeed when the tenant died. There can be up to two successions or assignments only to a particular tenancy.

You must apply to the Council for permission to assign your tenancy. If you are in breach of your tenancy (for instance, where you have rent arrears or where there is a court order that you have not kept to) we will ask you to put any of these things right first. If the request is agreed to, you will both need to sign the relevant paperwork. You can assign any size of property.

You should consider the implications of assigning your tenancy. If in the future you reapplied to the Council as a homeless applicant, you may be considered intentionally homeless (that is, homeless due to your own actions), and you may be not offered accommodation.

Can I assign my tenancy to a member of my family?

We will consider all the same things as if you wanted to assign to a spouse/partner. The family member will also need to demonstrate that they have been living with you.

You still have my spouse/partner as the tenant and they left the property months ago. Can the tenancy be changed to my name?

We will accept a letter from the tenant assigning the tenancy to you. If this is not possible, we will discuss various options with you as you cannot automatically take on a tenancy that is in someone else's name. Options include applying to court for a decision about the tenancy, particularly if you are getting divorced.

This applies where a sole tenancy of the property exists. If a joint tenancy exists, the change will be considered by means of a 'change of tenancy' application form. We also take any breach of tenancy into consideration before agreeing to any tenancy change.

My partner/spouse who is the tenant has emigrated and I don't know how to contact them. Can I have the tenancy?

We will consider how best to resolve the tenancy issue with you. The result will depend on individual circumstances.

Mutual Exchange

How do I go about swapping my tenancy with someone else?

Scottish secure tenants have a legal right to exchange their tenancy with other Scottish secure tenants. This applies also where tenants are tenants of different social landlords.   This right of exchange is dependent on the tenants first obtaining the landlord(s) written consent. Consent may be refused only if the landlord(s) has/have reasonable grounds for refusal.

Application Procedures

Prior to an exchange being approved, both tenants must receive the landlord's written consent. In the case of council tenants, an application should be made using the standard application form.  After full consideration of the application, the council will advise in writing whether an application has been granted or not. In the case of an Council tenant seeking an exchange with a Scottish secure tenant of another landlord, the tenant will require to make written application to that landlord. This application will require to give details of the proposed exchange, including details of the other house (size, type etc). Where the Council grants permission, the tenancies are terminated and tenants will be required to sign new tenancy agreement.

You should be aware that where a mutual exchange is granted, you are accepting the property 'as is'. This means that only 'wind and watertight' repairs will be carried out for the first 12 months after the exchange takes place.

Where the Council refuses permission, the tenants will be notified in writing of the reasons for refusal within one month of receipt of application. Tenants are also advised of their right to appeal to the Sheriff Court in cases of refusal.

Grounds for Refusing Consent

There is no definitive list of grounds for refusing consent. Each case requires to be assessed on its merits. Specific reasons mentioned in the Act where it is deemed reasonable to refuse consent are shown below:

  • a Notice of Proceedings has been served that specifies any of grounds 1 to 7 (Schedule 2)
  • an order for recovery has been made against the tenant
  • the house occupied by the tenant has been provided by the landlord for employment purposes
  • the house has been designed/adapted for occupation by a person whose special needs require such accommodation and, following the exchange, no person with these special needs would occupy the house
  • the accommodation of the other house is either substantially larger than that required by the tenant and her/his family, or it is not suitable to the needs of the tenant and the tenant's family
  • the exchange would result in statutory overcrowding

Commentary on Reasons for Refusal

It is stressed that there is no legal definition of reasonableness and each case will be assessed on its particular merits.  Further, the above list is not definitive and other reasons may exist for refusing exchange applications, for instance, inability by the new tenant to meet the terms of tenancy such as payment of rent.

Organisations offering Independent Advice

East Renfrewshire Citizens Advice Bureau
216 Main Street, Glasgow G78 1SN
0141 881 2032
Opening Times
Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri: 9.30 - 15.30
Wed: 9.30 - 15.30 and 15.30 - 18.00 (by appt.)

Shelter Scotland Helpline,
0808 800 4444
(9.00am - 5.00pm Monday to Friday)
The Shelter advice line is free to call from landlines and all six of the main UK mobile networks: Virgin, Orange, 3, T-Mobile, Vodafone and O2, but charges may apply from any other network.


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