Information about the different tenancies we have in Lambeth. You can find out what kind of tenancy you have on your tenancy agreement.

Sections in this guide (click title to view)

1. Introductory tenancy

All new tenants begin as introductory tenants.

An introductory tenancy is a trial period and usually lasts 12 months, after which the tenancy automatically becomes secure as long as no problems occur.

Few tenancies end in the first 12 months and most tenants complete their trial period successfully. If problems do occur, for example rent arrears or anti-social behaviour, we can extend the introductory tenancy or seek a possession order.

Sometimes new tenants become secure tenants straight away, or in less than a year.

This may happen if you have been:

  • a secure tenant of a different property
  • an assured tenant of a registered social landlord
  • an introductory tenant of a different property.

Your rights and responsibilities are set out in your tenancy agreement.

They're very similar to those of secure tenants, but you can’t:

  • take in lodgers
  • sublet part of your home
  • make major improvements to your property
  • exchange your property with another council tenant or housing association tenant
  • buy your property using the Right to Buy scheme.

2. Secure tenancy

Most tenants are secure tenants. Secure tenants have ‘security of tenure’, which means that your tenancy can only be ended with a court order, if we can prove to the court that we have a good reason to evict you.

If you become a secure tenant, you will remain one, so long as:

  • the property is your only or main home
  • you do not completely sublet your home
  • the court does not make an order ending your tenancy.

You’ll become a secure tenant if you don’t break the tenancy agreement rules during your 12 month trial period.

If you do break the rules of your tenancy agreement, we may extend your introductory tenancy by six months or end your tenancy.

3. Demoted tenancy

You may be given a demoted tenancy if you have a secure tenancy but have behaved in a way that causes serious nuisance to others.

We can ask the court to replace your secure tenancy with a demoted tenancy.

Demoted tenants can be evicted much more easily than secure tenants.

4. Joint tenancies

Joint tenancies are usually created when two people apply for housing together.

They can also be granted to existing tenants who want to share their tenancy with their spouse, civil or cohabiting partner.

Joint tenants have the same rights and responsibilities, even if they no longer live at the property. For example, each joint tenant is responsible for making sure the whole of the rent is paid, and not just their share of it. If we were to seek a court order for rent arrears, it is against all the joint tenants.

Similarly, if one joint tenant breaks the tenancy agreement and we can't solve the problem, the other joint tenant may need to go to court to deal with the matter.

Either joint tenant can apply for housing benefit or council tax support.

When we wouldn't grant a joint tenancy

We won't grant a joint tenancy if:

  • the current tenant is in breach of their tenancy conditions including rent arrears on their account and has been served with a Notice Seeking Possession or a Notice to Quit, or other enforcement action is being taken
  • the current tenant succeeded or been assigned a tenancy from someone else
  • the proposed new tenant has not lived at the current tenant’s property continuously for a minimum of 12 months immediately prior to the application.

If a joint tenant dies

If a joint tenants dies, you must tell us.

The tenancy will continue with the remaining tenant - this is known as ‘survivorship’. The remaining tenant will be responsible for all of the rent and other charges.

If your relationship breaks down

If your relationship breaks down you can't force the other tenant to leave as they still have the right to live in the family home.

These are known as occupancy rights. In these cases the only way one of the tenants can be made to leave is by a court order.

Ending a joint tenancy

We will not allow one tenant to exclude the other without a court order.

However by serving a Notice to Quit, one joint tenant can terminate the whole tenancy without the consent of the other.

We will not transfer a tenancy from joint names to a sole name unless:

  • both parties agree
  • there is a court order (Property Transfer Order)
  • the case involves domestic violence.

If joint tenants wish to end their tenancy, we are not obligated to provide separate rehousing for either party.