joint secure tenancy
10/12/2011 11:58 am
After reading about the proposed cuts in housing benefit starting April 2013 for people of a working age living in "under occupied" council houses, i have had a closer look at my tenancy agreement and would be grateful for an answer to my question, albeit not regarding that issue:
I am a joint tenant (secure) with my mother in a 3 bedroom council house in South Tyneside. We have been joint tenants since 14/12/2001.
The council website outlines the rights and requirements secure tenants have and states that you can live in your council house as long as you want providing you obey the rules.
As i understand it, if my mother died or decided to move into other accommodation then the tenancy would be just passed on to me and i would become a sole secured tenant of the property.
If the joint tenancy was between a married couple and one partner died the the remaining tenant would be able to remain in the property regardeless of it being under occupied.
I also understand that under a joint tenancy, when one party dies or moves out, this is classed as succession and no other successions to family members can occur. I would not need to do this though.
I have read that if you become a secure tenant through succession then the "under occupied" rule may apply and a single person living in a 3 bedroomed house would be asked to take smaller accommodation.
However, i am very confused as i don't know what catagory i fall into as i am secure tenant already and naturally assumed i would just take over the house, but it seems changing the tenancy in a joint tenancy when one person dies is still classed as succession.
Basically, the council houses in my street are undergoing major redevelopment and i was planning on spending my £6000 savings (declared or course) on decorating the house.
I know of many single people living in 2 or 3 bedroom houses when their mother/father died and have never been told to downsize. I am guessing they were joint tenants like myself, but i don't know this for sure.
I would like clarification on my situation regarding "under occupied" houses as a secure joint tenant with my mother.
Btw, no instances of succession have taken place in my household.
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12/12/2011 9:00 am
If you're a joint tenant and succeed to a secure tenancy following the death of the other tenant, your landlord cannot recover possession ie take you to Court to get the property back. They may ask you to downsize and offer incentives to you (e.g. payment) as family homes are usually in short supply.
Please do speak to Shelter or a housing advice service for specific advice.
25/02/2012 1:06 am
Hiya, I am desperate for advice. I moved in with my husband in 2006. The tenancy wa sin his and his ex wifes name. A court ordered she have her name removed and it be trnasferred into a sole tenancy to my husband. We have 3 children between us, 2 are mine and one is his. We are currently in the process of having a trial seperation. Housing have informed me that I can neiher stay in the home without the tenant living here or claim housing benefit on the home without their permission. All 3 children are going to be remaining in my care. My husband has stated that he will not transfer the tenancy but will add me as a joint tenant. By doing this housing have stated he will lose his assured tenancy and will receive instead a 6 monthly rolling tenancy. He has been in this house 14 years now. Can they do this?
We have also recently found out that our home is along with 4 others in the road waiting for demoliton as the land can fit many more houses on it than are here now and one of the new tenants is on a rolling tenancy and the other is emergency housing only now. I do think they are trying to get us on a rolling tenancy so that the compensation packages and rehoming does not have to take effect in this circumstance.
Housing are aware im an occupant of the house and with 3 children I cant simply find somewhere else to live that easily.
Im distraught as I dont know what to do. If we dont put the tenancy into joint names we could lose the house if we do and they put us on a rolling tenancy then we could lose the house, so theyve really put us in a catch 22 situation. and I just want to find out my legal standing.
Housing have also refused to house myself and the children saying that its not essetial as we have somewhere to live and i'll be making myself homeless by leaving!!
Have they just pushed me into a corner or is what they are doing legal??
Please someone help
25/02/2012 1:09 am
Also the rent on our property has been raised exceptionally more than any other house in the street over the last 2 years, this year the proposed rent increase is by £10.48.
I do feel like we are being victimised into leaving whats been our family home.
27/02/2012 12:23 pm
Tara - can they do it? yes, yes they can.
is it legal? yes, yes it is.
they can raise thier rents if they want, dont like it? move somewhere cheaper. dont have the time you say: divert all the energy youve spent in "finding out your legal standing" in looking for a home for your family.
you are not the tenant of the house youre in, your husband is, if you leave you will be intentionally homeless and they have no duty to house you, you also cannot claim benefit on a property you have no right to.
27/02/2012 1:22 pm
thank you anonymous 12.23 for that unhelpful answer.
We have here two people asking for advice because they don't know what to do and they receive a sarcastic and patronising answer from you...!! if you can be of any help bar stating the obvious then just don't answer - simples....
Tara / Stephen, I agree with Spellbinder but please check with an organisation like Shelter or CAB who will be able to look in your cases in more detail
28/02/2012 8:31 pm
I hope that you are able to find a reolution to your worry. Be patient though, these kind of legal matters can take some time.
It is not true to say that the local council will not help you. Homelessness law ensures that local authorities have a duty to help those with young children, especially women with children. If you are asked to leave either by your partner/husband or by the council because of demolition then you have a good case to make to the homeless persons/housing need department.
I would also advise you to seek advice from a law centre (these are charitable/government funded organisations who can give legal advice with your housing- they can act as a solicitor for you if needed).
I do not have experience of Shelter but they also will likely be able to offer advice and or support.
If the council seem unwilling help you in your wish to leave the property, if you have or decide to, I would contact your MP and he/she should be able to look into your case and help ensure you recieve the advice and support you need to care for your family's housing need.
You are not alone, the local council and others can help.
28/02/2012 10:59 pm
My husband is happy for me to stay in the home obviously I have the children, all he wanted to do was add me to the tenancy so that he wasnt voluntarily making himself homeless and therefore if where he is staying at the moment went wrong he knows he has somewhere to fall back on! we have split amicably there is no axe to grind!!
The only ppl causing issues is housing!
We have an appointment booked for next week to go into our housing office to speak wth them so hopefully the worry will be over.
Will keep u posted.
Thank you anonymous 1.22 and 8.31. Its great to know that people are willing to try offer advice the best they can.
anonymous 12.23 maybe you should take a few lessons in how to speak to people and then become a member of forums because your rude arrogant sarcasm replies really does show that you have little or no communication skills!!
02/03/2012 5:59 pm
The legislation to make changes envisaged in the Welfare Reform Bill have just recently passed the final Parliamentary hurdle.
One of the most contentious issues in the Bill is what's come to be known as the'bedroom tax'. This, in effect, is a reduction in Housing Benefit (HB) for people and families living in the social housing sector, who are judged to have a spare unused or occassionally used bedroom.
The Coalition wishes to reduce the HB bill,which it says will rise to £26m by 2014/15, and as part of this plan, it wants to reduce HB by an average of £14 a week for people with a spare bedroom.There are a lot of arguments as to why it is a good idea to have spare rooms, but not much space here to go through them all. However local authorities will have some discretionary power to make additional payments, but not much!
The first thing to consider is that the new HB rules will not come into effect till April 2013.
Secondly you don't say whether you are claiming HB at the moment. If not, then this will not affect you.
Thirdly, as I understand it, you are an existing joint tenant, so the local authority would not be able to apply to the County Court for Possession (on Ground 16), as this Ground applies only to peoople who succeed to the tenancy when the original tenant dies,(and are underoccupiying); but in your case, the tenancy has already been made over to you as a joint tenant.
You say that the council is planning major works to the houses in your road. If the work proposed means you cannot live there whilst the works are in progress, the Council could use Ground 10 for possession, if you refused to leave voluntarily. But if you did go voluntarily you should be offered you suitable accommodation elsewhere and allowed to return to the property once the works are completed.
If you are still in any doubt on this you should get legal advice on this to make sure!
03/03/2012 9:56 pm
Thanl you for the advise. I am not yet on the tenancy as housing are making it difficult for my husband to do this. However I have been an occupant for over 6 years now.
I have made a claim for hb but have been told I need to produce a tenancy agreement in my name ( which i cant) luckily my husband has said that if a resolution to this issue does not happen soon he will pay the rent until I can sort it out.
06/03/2012 8:13 am
Essentially as you are a joint tenant with your mother, if she moves out say to a nursing home, the tenancy will remain secure. Upon her death you automatically succeed to her tenancy. As the tenancy was with your mother the under occupation ground for possession becomes relevant and the council can seek possession. They have to prove that it is reasonable for possession to be granted and they also have to satisfy the court that suitable alternative accommodation would be available when the possession order takes effect.
If you were a joint tenant with your wife or civil partner, upon the death of the spouse or partner succession to the tenancy takes place but the under occupation rules do not apply.
Please note that when one joint tenant moves out with no intention of returning, that in law is not a succession so the joint tenancy continues unless terminated by a notice to quit of by an assignment to the remaining joint tenant.
13/03/2012 12:21 pm
The person I think has a pretty good understanding of the issues already, but I think really needs to seek a meeting with their landlord.
The succession rule will apply to joint tenancy arrangements so there could be no further successions in the future. The under occupation benefit rules will also apply regardless of the succession assuming the occupants are of working age when they succeed to the tenancy.
In respect of whether the landlord would ask them to move due to under occupancy, the decision to invest in redecorating the property etc I think it would be advisable to arrange to meet with the landlord to talk through the issues and hopefully the person will have a much clearer view after that meeting.