Joint tenancy and relationship breakdown

What is a joint tenancy in a local authority home?

A joint tenancy is usually created when a local authority or approved housing body (AHB) allocates a home to a couple. This means that you and your partner both sign the tenancy agreement with the local authority or AHB. The local authority can also create a joint tenancy where the tenants aren’t partners, in certain circumstances.

What happens if the relationship with my joint tenant ends?

If you have a joint tenancy for a local authority home and the relationship with your joint tenant ends and they leave the home, you will want to remove their name from the tenancy agreement.

If your joint tenant agrees to have their name removed, the local authority or AHB will do this. However, if your joint tenant refuses to have their name removed, you may have to provide evidence that the relationship has broken down.

In a judicial separation, divorce or dissolution the court will consider who has the right to live in the family or shared home. In these cases, if your joint tenant does not voluntarily give up the tenancy, the judge can order a transfer of tenancy. If you are a joint tenant and your relationship is breaking down, you should get legal advice.

If you are left living alone in the family home, the local authority or AHB may decide that your home is too big for you and offer you alternative accommodation. If you have occasional custody of your children and need somewhere for them to stay, the local authority may agree to let you stay in your home.

There is no specific legislation to cover what happens when you have a joint tenancy and your relationship ends. They are dealt with in the tenancy agreement you have with your local authority or AHB. These situations are often handled on a case-by-case basis and may be dealt with differently by different local authorities.

Who do I contact?

Contact the Housing Department of your local authority or approved housing body.

Page edited: 16 January 2023