Tenancy agreement changes and transfers

When a housing association or the Housing Executive allocates you accommodation, they'll ask you to sign a tenancy agreement before you move in. The agreement explains what the landlord and tenant agree to do while the tenancy exists.

Tenancy agreement

The tenancy agreement is a legally binding agreement which sets out the social landlord's obligations to carry out repairs in the tenant's home. 

It should also outline the tenant's obligations to the landlord, such as the need to pay rent, and not to cause nuisance, harassment, or damage.

The agreement may include  other conditions about the tenancy, such as rules about keeping pets.

Breaking the tenancy agreement

If a tenant breaks the conditions of their agreement, the landlord may take action against them. The landlord can apply to the court for a possession order of the property.

If a court grants a possession order, the landlord can evict the tenant from the property.

Joint tenancy

You may want to share the responsibilities of your tenancy with someone who lives with you and ask for a joint tenancy.  If your landlord approves your joint tenancy request, all tenants should sign the tenancy agreement.

You're already a tenant

If you're a Housing Executive or housing association tenant and want a joint tenancy, you need to apply to your landlord to change the tenancy.

They'll consider your application and let you know if they agree to grant a joint tenancy. All joint tenants will need to sign a new tenancy agreement if the landlord agrees to the joint tenancy.

You already have a joint tenancy

If you have a joint tenancy with another person but only one of you wants to be the tenant, you need to ask the landlord to change the tenancy.  This can happen when a relationship ends and one partner agrees to leave the family home.

Joint tenants need to write to the landlord confirming they both agree to the change in tenancy. If the landlord agrees to the change in tenancy, a new tenancy agreement will need to be signed.

Death of a joint tenant 

When a tenant has a joint tenancy with their spouse or civil partner, they become the sole tenant if their spouse or civil partner dies.

Ending a joint tenancy

When a  joint tenant terminates the tenancy, this ends the tenancy. The landlord is not legally obliged to grant a tenancy to the remaining tenant.

The remaining tenant is not entitled to a tenancy of the  property.  However, sometimes the landlord may decide to allow the remaining tenant take on a new tenancy and stay in the property.

Tenant identification checks

The Housing Executive will do identity checks if you're signing up for a new tenancy or transferring or exchanging properties.

When you are signing up for your new tenancy, you must sign a consent form allowing the Housing Executive to take and store your photograph of you. For a joint tenancy,  they will need each tenant's  photograph. 

Transferring your tenancy

If you want to transfer your tenancy to someone, you must apply in writing to your landlord. This is a tenancy assignment. You don't have a right to this type of assignment. Your landlord might approve an assignment in exceptional circumstances. They'll give your a written decision. 

Taking over a tenancy

You may ask to take over the tenancy if you lived with the tenant in the property as your principal home for at least 12 months on the date of their death. You also need to be the deceased tenant's

  • spouse
  • civil partner
  • family member 

This is called a 'succession'.

If the deceased tenant had already succeeded to the tenancy, there is no right to a second succession.  However, your landlord may grant another succession in certain cases.

New tenancy

If you don't have a legal right to a succession, the landlord may still grant a new tenancy to you. This is known as a 'policy succession'. Your landlord will be able to give you more information and advice.

More useful links

Share this page

What do you want to do?
What is your question about?
Do you want a reply?
Your email address
To reply to you, we need your email address
Your feedback

We will not reply to your feedback.  Don't include any personal or financial information, for example National Insurance, credit card numbers, or phone numbers.

This feedback form is for issues with the nidirect website only.

You can use it to report a problem or suggest an improvement to a webpage.

If you have a question about a government service or policy, you should contact the relevant government organisation directly as we don’t have access to information about you held by government departments.

You must be aged 13 years or older - if you’re younger, ask someone with parental responsibility to send the feedback for you.

The nidirect privacy notice applies to any information you send on this feedback form.

Don't include any personal or financial information, for example National Insurance, credit card numbers, or phone numbers.

Plain text only, 750 characters maximum.
Plain text only, 750 characters maximum.

What to do next

Comments or queries about angling can be emailed to anglingcorrespondence@daera-ni.gov.uk 

What to do next

If you have a comment or query about benefits, you will need to contact the government department or agency which handles that benefit.  Contacts for common benefits are listed below.

Carer's Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912
Email 
dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

Discretionary support / Short-term benefit advance

Call 0800 587 2750 
Email 
customerservice.unit@communities-ni.gov.uk

Disability Living Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912 
Email dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

Employment and Support Allowance

Call 0800 587 1377

Jobseeker’s Allowance

Contact your local Jobs & Benefits office

Personal Independence Payment

Call 0800 587 0932

If your query is about another benefit, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

What to do next

Comments or queries about the Blue Badge scheme can be emailed to bluebadges@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk or you can also call 0300 200 7818.

What to do next

For queries or advice about careers, contact the Careers Service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about Child Maintenance, contact the Child Maintenance Service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about claiming compensation due to a road problem, contact DFI Roads claim unit.

What to do next

For queries or advice about criminal record checks, email ani@accessni.gov.uk

What to do next

Application and payment queries can be emailed to ema_ni@slc.co.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about employment rights, contact the Labour Relations Agency.

What to do next

For queries or advice about birth, death, marriage and civil partnership certificates and research, contact the General Register Office Northern Ireland (GRONI) by email gro_nisra@finance-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries about:

If your query is about another topic, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

What to do next

For queries or advice about passports, contact HM Passport Office.

What to do next

For queries or advice about Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs), including parking tickets and bus lane PCNs, email dcu@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about pensions, contact the Northern Ireland Pension Centre.

What to do next

If you wish to report a problem with a road or street you can do so online in this section.

If you wish to check on a problem or fault you have already reported, contact DfI Roads.

What to do next

For queries or advice about historical, social or cultural records relating to Northern Ireland, use the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) enquiry service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about rates, email:
rating@lpsni.gov.uk

For queries or advice about property valuation, email:
valuation@lpsni.gov.uk

For queries or advice about land registry, email:
CustomerInformation.LandRegistration@finance-ni.gov.uk

For mapping queries, email:
Mapping.Helpdesk@finance-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about  60+ and Senior Citizen SmartPasses (which can be used to get concessionary travel on public transport), contact Smartpass - Translink.