Joint tenancies

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

What is a joint tenancy

A joint tenancy is where two or more 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 tenants are still responsible for the debt.

You can be a joint tenant with your spouse, civil partner, partner, family member or unpaid live-in carer.

Who can apply

You can apply for a joint tenancy if:

  • you've lived with the other tenant for at least 12 months
  • you're married or in a registered civil partnership with the other tenant

You also need to have a clear rent account with no debt.

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:

  • either tenant owes money on their rent account
  • the house would become overcrowded
  • another person’s rights may be affected 
  • you’re going to be evicted from another property because of your behaviour
  • there’s an eviction order against you
  • the person applying isn’t eligible for council housing

More than two people

You can have more than two people on a tenancy agreement. Everyone on the tenancy must be able to sign the tenancy agreement.

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.
  • you can give your tenancy to another joint tenant as long as certain rules are met 

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

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. In these cases the only way one of the tenants can be made to leave is by a court order.

Further information