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Assignment and succession of tenancy

Morayo Fagborun Bennett looks at the circumstances in which social housing tenancies can be transferred to another tenant.

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The following Local Government guidance note, produced in partnership with Morayo Fagborun Bennett of Hardwicke Chambers, provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

• Assignment and succession of tenancy
• Assignment
• Assignments by way of mutual exchange
• Conditions to be met
• Grounds for refusal
• Assignments under property adjustment order
• Assignments to people qualified to succeed
• Statutory succession
• Secure tenants
• Persons qualified to succeed the tenant
• Where the tenant is a successor
• Members of a tenant’s family
• Exceptions
• Residing with
• Obtaining possession from a successor
• Flexible tenants
• Assured tenants
• Rent Act 1977

Assignment is the transfer of the interest in the tenancy to another person. Assignment of a secure periodic tenancy is prohibited except in three situations (HA 1985, s 91(3)):

• assignment by mutual exchange
• assignment under property adjustment orders in connection with family/matrimonial proceedings
• assignment to a person who would be qualified to succeed if the tenant had died immediately before the assignment

Any other purported assignment will be ineffective.

An introductory tenancy can only be assigned pursuant to a property adjustment order (as above), or to someone who would be qualified to succeed: there is no right to exchange. See Practice Note: Main differences—secure, introductory and flexible tenancies (HA 1996, s 134).

Assignment of an assured tenancy is prohibited unless the tenant obtains the landlord’s written consent. There is no requirement that the withholding of consent be reasonable.

Additional rights to assign may be provided under the terms of the tenancy and in practice private registered providers will typically include a right to a mutual exchange, subject to the landlord’s consent (HA 1988, ss 15(1)(a), (2))

Under the Rent Act 1977 (RA 1977), a protected tenancy can be assigned unless prohibited under the terms of the tenancy; a statutory tenancy arising on termination of the protected tenancy is incapable of assignment.

Assignments by way of mutual exchange
Assignment by mutual exchange entitles a secure tenant to exchange the tenancy with another secure or an assured tenant who

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