Can I add my son or daughter to my council tenancy?

In this article we will discuss how to add your son or daughter to your council tenancy, and learn the terms and deals of tenancy.

Can I add my son or daughter to my council tenancy?

Yes, you can add someone or your son or daughter to the council tenancy with the permission of your landlord. Technically, there is no limit to the number of people who can be tenants or joint tenants to a property. Joint tenants are equally responsible in paying for the rent on a property and for abiding by the tenancy agreement.

You can add the following to the tenancy agreement:

  • Spouse or civil partner
  • The heir to your property if you were to die
  • Was part of the household when tenancy started
  • Has been living in the same property with you for at least a year.

However, your landlord can refuse to grant a joint tenancy, if he suspects that you plan on moving out after the joint tenancy is created. 

Joint tenancy can be created and requested if at first you moved into the property as a single person, but now you have a partner, or adult children.  

Your tenancy is your home and you are allowed to have anyone live with you. You just need to inform your landlord about this, but you don’t need his permission.

Although the person who will be living with you has no legal right to the tenancy, if joint tenancy is not created.   If you are charging that person to live in the property or is a sub-tenant, you’ll also need your landlord permission to do this.

If you have housing benefits, and there are people living in the house that are not dependent on you, like adult children, there will be an amount that will be deducted on you or universal credit for each one of these people.

This is due to that fact that the government assumes that these people are giving you money because they lived with you. This non-dependent deduction will still be made even if the non-dependants are not giving you any money. 

Council Housing

What is a tenancy agreement?

The tenancy agreement is a legally binding document that tells you the rules about living in your property. There are many types of tenancies, which gives you the rights and responsibilities.

Types of Tenancy:

  • Introductory Tenancy

These can be offered by the council tenant as initial tenancy. This usually takes for about six month to a year or a trial period. You are then automatically granted flexible or secure tenancy after the 12 month trial period. 

The council will make you a flexible or secure tenant if they have not taken any action to evict you, or extended the introductory tenancy to another six months. 

There are limitations to the introductory tenancy, such as you cannot make major improvements to the property, swap your property to another council tenant, or apply to buy your property through the Right to Buy scheme.

  • Secure Tenancy

As a secure tenant, you can live in the property for as long as you live unless you break the conditions of tenancy. You can however, rent out a space or rooms but you cannot sublet the entire property. 

You can also swap your property with another council or housing association tenant or buy your property through the Right to Buy scheme.  You can also transfer your tenancy to someone else and make improvements to the property, However, you cannot make major improvements without the councils’ permission.

  • Scottish secure tenancy

This is only for Scotland, if you have a rental house from the council, it is called a Scotland secure tenancy. 

  • Flexible tenancy

A flexible tenancy means you have a tenancy for a fixed period of time. This is usually for 5 years or in some cases, it can be from 2 to 5 years depending on your council. At the end of the fixed period, the council may decide to offer you another flexible tenancy, offer a secure tenancy, or not renew your tenancy.

They must provide a reason if in case they did not renew your tenancy and gave you a chance to challenge their decision. 

  • Joint tenancy

You can apply for a joint tenancy if you’re recently married, or in registered civil partnership or cohabiting together like siblings.  You must have lived together for the past 12 months so you can be granted joint tenancy.

Transferring your tenancy

You can end your tenancy if you have given your council 4 weeks notice in writing or the council evicts you first. The council can also help you if the property needs development, but should offer a new place and new tenancy.

You can also end your tenancy if you swap it with someone else, then you will be given new tenancy conditions.

Can my daughter or son take over my housing association tenancy?

You may only usually be able to give your tenancy to your son or daughter after you have passed on. The person you will pass it onto should be living with you for the past 12 months already for them to be eligible.

A tenancy can only be passed on once. If you’ve taken in a family member before, you cannot pass it on again anymore.

To be qualified as a recipient of the tenancy, there should be a joint tenancy between the two individuals or with the person who has died. The person has to have lived in that property for at least 6 to 12 months. 

You may also be able to take over the council tenancy of someone who has passed if you can prove that you are the carer of the person. You should also be over 16 years old, classified as the carer and have lived with the owner of the tenancy at the time of his death or a member of the tenant’s family.

Secure Tenancies starting on or after 1 April 2012

 If the tenancy is done according to this provision, you can assign your tenancy to a partner who lives with you, provided that the property is their main home.  If you do not have a partner, you may still be able to assign your tenancy to someone else, like your son or daughter who lives with you if the tenancy agreement indicates this.

Secure Tenancies starting before 1 April 2012

This tenancy can be assigned to your spouse or civil partner if they live with you. If you do not have a partner or spouse, you can still assign it to any of the following family members, like an unmarried partner, an adult child or grandchild, a parent or grandparent, a brother or sister, an uncle, aunt, nephew or niece, provided that they have lived with you for at least a year.

What happens when the tenancy is assigned?

When tenancy is assigned, all rights and legal responsibilities are passed on from the original to the new tenant.  You will become an excluded occupier and you lose your rights as a tenant if you continue to live on the property.

The deed assignment is a legal document if the tenancy has been transferred. The deed of the assignment should have the name and addresses of the original tenant, new tenant and landlord. An independent witness must also be present for the signing of the original and the new tenant. 

The new tenant should have the copy of this deed to prove the legal status of his occupancy. While another copy can be kept by the original owner for records.

Housing Benefits and Universal Credit for joint tenants

Joint tenancy will allow you to claim benefits together if you’re a couple or separately if you aren’t. The claim will be based on the portion of the rent. However, the claim won’t be possible if you have been part of the house as non-dependent  of the main tenant. 

That only shows that you have lived there as a sublet of the tenant therefore you cannot claim any benefits.  If you have a son or daughter that are adults, you can add them as joint tenancy.

If you are currently getting housing benefits, and there are other people living in your home who are not dependent on you, then your universal credit will be affected. The government will assume that you are receiving money from them either for food or other expenses, and they will deduct this cost for every adult person living with you. 


We have discussed ways of adding your son or daughter to your council tenancy. There are many kinds of tenancy allowed and a joint tenancy is best to do for your adult son or daughter.

FAQ’s on “Can I add my son or daughter to my council tenancy?”:

Can a family member buy your council house?

Family members can be eligible to join in the Right to Buy with you. If in any case they are not named in the tenancy agreement, they will need to have lived in the property for the last twelve months as specified by the law.

Can my son or daughter take over my council if I move out?

The family members have different rights in inheriting a council tenancy. They can only inherit a tenancy if the tenant dies is called a succession. A council tenancy can only be inherited once, unless it is otherwise specified in the tenancy agreement.

Do I need to tell the council if my partner moves in?

You can tell your council who will live with you but you don’t need to ask for their permission. You just have to tell them who will be living with you when you sign your tenancy agreement.

Do fraud investigators watch your house?

The fraud investigation can do a preliminary check to see if any allegation is justified. If it does, they will launch a formal investigation and a team member will arrange to be at the suspected house to secretly watch people coming and going for about a week or until it gets enough evidence to present in court.

Can I give my council tenancy to my son or daughter?

You can sometimes sign over a council tenancy to your son or daughter if you want to. You have to check if you have the right to assign to them. You also have to provide evidence that you live with them, and you complete a deed of assignment to be able to do this.


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