Joint tenancies

Joint tenancies

Apply for a joint tenancy, where two people are jointly responsible for the tenancy

What is a joint tenancy

A joint tenancy is where two people have signed the tenancy agreement and are jointly responsible for the:

  • deposit
  • tenancy
  • rent
  • service charges

If one joint tenant doesn’t pay their share of something then the other joint tenant is still responsible for the debt.

Who can apply

We will only consider joint tenancy applications from:

  • married couples
  • civil partners
  • couples living together as if a spouse or civil partner

How to apply 

To apply for a joint tenancy you need to:

When we might refuse a joint tenancy application

We might refuse an application for joint tenancy if:

  • the property is under-occupied / overcrowded
  • another person’s rights may be affected
  • you’re going to be evicted because of your behaviour
  • the person applying isn’t eligible for council housing
  • there has already been a succession or assignment of the tenancy
  • we do not believe that the tenant is entering into the agreement of their own free will
  • you have excessive rent arrears or other charges owing to Bristol City Council or have been served with a Notice of Seeking Possession
  • we have taken formal action against your tenancy or a member of your household

More than two people

We will only accept new applications where there will only be two joint tenants.

For existing tenancies were there are more than two tenants, then if one person wants to leave, the whole tenancy will come to an end and the remaining tenants will need to arrange for a new tenancy.

If one of the tenants dies, the tenancy will continue for the remaining tenants. This will not count as a succession.

Advantages of a joint tenancy

There are some advantages to having a joint tenancy:

  • as a joint tenancy you have equal rights with other tenants, which means that all tenants have security of tenure, which is the right to keep your home 
  • it can help you to cover the costs of your tenancy, including rent
  • you might find it easier to get credit, such as taking out a loan 
  • if one tenant dies then you can give your tenancy to someone else, this is called inheriting your tenancy

Disadvantages of a joint tenancy

There are also some disadvantages to joint tenancies:

  • if one tenant doesn’t pay their share of the rent or service charges, the other tenants will have to pick up the cost
  • there might be problems if the other tenants aren’t your family or people you know well
  • if one tenant wants to end their tenancy, the tenancy will end for everyone else: we’ll try to help, but we might not be able to offer the remaining tenants another tenancy in the same home
  • if you want to exchange your home, all tenants must agree, even if one of the tenants has left: if we can’t get all tenants to confirm that they’re happy for an exchange to take place then it won’t be allowed to happen
  • your benefits might be affected if you become a joint tenant
  • there is no right to assign a joint tenancy
  • the only way to remove one party from a joint tenancy is by way of a court order

If your relationship breaks down

If the joint tenant is your wife, husband or civil partner and your relationship breaks down, they still have the right to live in the family home. These are known as occupancy rights. The only way one of the tenants can be made to leave is by a court order.

Further information