Changing your council tenancy

Find out how to tell us about different changes to your council tenancy.

Your tenancy agreement is a contract between you and us. It includes all of the conditions you must keep to and the rights that you have as a tenant.

The majority of our tenants have a form of tenancy called a Scottish Secure Tenancy. A small number of our tenants have a form of tenancy called a Short Scottish Secure Tenancy, which has fewer rights.

The Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 has introduced some new changes that'll affect your rights under the tenancy agreement you signed when you took up your tenancy. 

Changes in your household

To make sure that your tenancy rights are protected, it's very important that you advise Housing Services in writing of any changes to your household at the time that they happen. You should tell us about:

  • anyone who has moved in/out of your home since you took up your current tenancy
  • anyone moving in or out of your home in the future at the time they do so

Icon for pdf Download a change of household form [74.23KB].

Requesting changes to your tenancy agreement

You can apply to have your tenancy agreement changed in certain circumstances.

Icon for pdf Download a change of tenancy form [252.2KB].

You've the right to ask for our consent to:

  • add a joint tenant to your tenancy
  • sublet all or part of your tenancy
  • pass your tenancy to someone else (known as assignation)

It's also 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 your circumstances change or you feel you need advice regarding your tenancy, you should contact your Housing Officer through Customer Services on 0141 577 3001.

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

  • You can add someone to your tenancy as a joint tenant as long as they don't have another home elsewhere
  • You must not be in rent arrears or be in breach of your tenancy agreement in any other way. For example, antisocial behaviour
  • You must have been the tenant of the home throughout the 12 months immediately before you apply for our permission
  • The person you want to add as a joint tenant must have lived at the property as their only or principal home for the 12 months before you apply
  • The 12 month period can't begin unless we have been told in writing by you or the person you want to add as a joint tenant, that the person is living there as their only or principal home

Succession to a tenancy where the tenant has died

If you're the joint tenant and the other joint tenant dies, you'll automatically qualify to take over the tenancy. If you're married or in a civil partnership with a sole tenant who dies, you can apply to take over the tenancy.

Partners

If you're a partner of a sole tenant who dies but not married or in a civil partnership, you can apply to take over the tenancy providing that you have proof you have been living there for at least 6 months prior to the tenant's death.

You must have been living in your partner's home as your only home for 12 months prior to the tenant's death and the 12 month period can't begin until we have been told by you or the tenant (in writing) that you're living in your property as your only home.

Relatives

If you're a relative of a sole tenant who dies, you may be able to take over the tenancy. You need to provide proof you've been living in the property as your only home. It must have been your only home for 12 months prior to the tenant's death and the 12 month period can't begin until we have been told by you or the tenant (in writing) that you are living in the property as your only home.

If more than one person meets the criteria and you can't agree, we'll decide who should take over the tenancy.

Carers

If you're the carer of a tenant who dies, you may be able apply to take over the tenancy. You need to provide proof you've been living there and that you gave up your previous home when you moved in to provide care.  It must have been your only home for 12 months prior to the tenant's death and the 12 month period can't begin until we've been told by you or the tenant (in writing) that you're living in the property as your only home.

You might not be able to take over the tenancy if the property has been specifically adapted for a disabled person.

Tenancy of an adapted property

New rules will allow us to ask for a court order to end the tenancy of an adapted property that's not being occupied by anyone who needs the adaptations. We'll only do this where we need the property for someone who does need the adaptations.

We would tell you in advance if this happens and offer you suitable alternative accommodation. You would be able to ask the sheriff to consider whether our actions were reasonable and to challenge the suitability of the alternative accommodation.

Change of tenancy agreement

There are circumstances when we can give you notice that we are converting your Scottish secure tenancy to a short Scottish secure tenancy. For example, where an antisocial behaviour order has been granted:

  • against you
  • someone living with you
  • someone about to live with you
  • where you have had an eviction order based on antisocial behaviour in the previous 3 years

This will mean you have fewer rights and less protection from eviction. New rules extend these circumstances to include any situation where you or someone living with you has acted in an antisocial manner or harassed another person in or around your home.

Signing over a tenancy

You can apply to sign your tenancy over to a partner or relative if you're moving away to live somewhere else. Currently, they must have been living in the property for at least 6 months and not have another home elsewhere.

However, you must have been the tenant of the home throughout the 12 months immediately before you apply for our permission. The person you want to pass your tenancy to must have lived in your home as their only or principal home for the 12 months before you apply and the 12 month period can't begin unless we've been told (in writing) by you or the person you want to pass your tenancy to, that the person is living there as their only or principal home.

Also, you must not be in rent arrears or in breach of your tenancy agreement in any other way.  If you later apply to us as a homeless applicant, you may be considered to be homeless due to your own actions and you may not be offered housing.

If we agree to the request, you both need to sign the paperwork. If this isn't possible, for example, the tenant has already left the property and cannot be contacted, we'll discuss the options with you. This might include applying to a court for a decision about the tenancy.

We can refuse permission to sign a tenancy over to someone else if it is reasonable for us to do so. For example, where we wouldn't give the person you wish to pass the tenancy to priority under our allocations policy or where, in our opinion, the assignation would result in the home being under occupied.

Subletting

You've the right to request permission to sublet your tenancy.

You must have been the tenant of the home throughout the 12 months immediately before you apply for our permission. The person you want to sub-let to must have lived in your home as their only or principal home for the 12 months before you apply and the 12 month period cannot begin unless we have been told (in writing) by you or the person you want to sublet to that the person is living there as their only or principal home.

You can apply to sub-let your tenancy or take in a lodger by completing a sublet or lodger application form with your Housing Officer. Please phone 0141 577 3001 to arrange an appointment.

Swapping or exchanging your home

Scottish secure tenants have a legal right to swap homes with other Scottish secure tenants, providing that both landlords have given written permission. This is called a mutual exchange.

We hold a mutual exchange register of council and housing association tenants who want a mutual exchange. You can request a mutual exchange report which will show you other tenants who might be a match for house size, type and area.

You may then contact them to discuss a mutual exchange. If you find a tenant who wishes to swap with you, both of you must complete a mutual exchange application form.

Phone 0141 577 3001 to request a report and/or an application form or call into one of our offices.

You should be aware that where a mutual exchange is granted, you're 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 we refuse 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.

Refusing a change to a tenancy

Each request is considered by its own circumstances. But reasons we may refuse a change to a tenancy include:

  • a court order has been served
  • an order for recovery of unpaid rent been made against a tenant
  • the property has been supplied for employment purposes
  • the property has been designed or adapted specifically for a disabled person and a new tenant doesn't meet the criteria
  • the property is much bigger than the tenant needs
  • a mutual exchange would result in overcrowding

Appealing a decision

If you've applied for our permission to take in a lodger, sublet or transfer your tenancy, swap your home or create a joint tenancy and are unhappy about our refusal, or the conditions we have attached, you've the right to make an application to the sheriff.

You can get independent advice on this from the Citizens Advice Bureau or Shelter Scotland.

Right to Buy

The Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 also ended the Right to Buy on 1 August 2016 for all tenants of social housing in Scotland who had a right to buy.

Last modified on 19th May 2020

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