Rules around your tenancy
Here are some frequently asked questions around tenancy rules.
We want to provide the best service and by working together we can help make sure you love your home and neighbourhood. Here you'll find some of the questions we get asked most frequently about rules around your tenancy.
Can I add or remove names from my tenancy?
In some circumstances, depending on the conditions in your tenancy agreement, you may be able to add another person to the tenancy or change a joint tenancy to being in the name of just one person.
You’ll need to contact us using the form below to request any changes though. We’ll always try to say yes and would only have to say no if there was a very good reason. If we did have to say no, we’d tell you why.
How can I remove a name from my tenancy?
If you want to end a joint tenancy but stay in your home, please contact us using the form below as the process differs between England and Scotland because of differences in the law.
We can normally remove a name and change to a sole tenancy if there’s a court order telling us to (such as after a divorce or separation), if there’s a Deed of Assignment or, in Scotland, an Application for Assignation, signed by both customers. This is where you both agree that only one of you should stay in the property. If you and your partner break up and can’t agree on who gets the tenancy, a court can help decide.
In exceptional circumstances we may be able to take a name off a tenancy if the person has been absent continuously for at least 12 months e.g. following relationship break down.
If one of the named tenancy customers dies, the living customer will keep all of the existing rights to your home, as long as they’re living in the home at the time. This is called survivorship and represents a succession to the tenancy.
If any of these circumstances apply to you, please contact us using the form below so we can advise you of your next steps and update our records where needed.
How can I add a new name to my tenancy?
The process of adding a person to your tenancy is called assignment.
You’ll usually be able to apply for a joint tenancy (where more than one person has signed the tenancy agreement) with your civil partner or spouse if they’re living at the same property as you. We’d need to check that it doesn’t go against any of the terms in your tenancy agreement.
Some of the things we’ll need to check are that:
- No one is being pressured or paid to change the tenancy
- There are genuine reasons for the change in tenancy
- Everyone involved fully understands and accepts the responsibilities of changing the tenancy agreement
- All pre-tenancy checks come back clear (this might be to check for any issues such as anti-social behaviour or rent arrears)
- You’ve shown us any documents we need e.g. proof of residence
- The property won’t be too full if we change to joint tenancy
You may also be able to apply for a joint tenancy with another family member living in your home, like a sibling or parent. This is a bit more unusual and we’ll need to know all of the details before one of our senior managers can give you permission.
Whoever it is that you’d like to add, you should make sure you understand that it’s a serious commitment. You’ll be responsible for the actions of each other. If you’ve got a joint tenancy you will both have equal rights over the tenancy and responsibilities. If one customer breaks their agreement or doesn’t pay the rent and then moves out, the other customer is still responsible and still needs to pay any rent arrears. When this happens, any debt recovery action can still be taken against both customers.
What to do if I have problems with a joint tenant?
If you have any issues with a joint customer tenancy, first try to fix it between yourselves. Most problems can be resolved by talking through them. If you can’t and you’re not sure what to do next, you can always contact us by joining our Live Chat or visiting our get in touch page - we’ll talk through the issue and help you work out the best option for everyone.
Remember, because it’s a joint tenancy, you’re both equally responsible for the tenancy by law. That means you can’t just walk away. If one person breaks the agreement, you’ll both still be responsible.
If you’re really struggling to get along and there are any unresolved issues, you can choose to end the tenancy on your own or, as a last resort, take things to court. We’d strongly suggest that you get legal advice if you’re thinking about this option. As a Home Group customer, you have access to free legal advice.
If you are experiencing domestic abuse, please contact us by joining our Live Chat or visiting our get in touch page - we’re here to help and can work with you and anyone else involved to find the best way to keep you and your family safe in your home. Remember there are lots of organisations out there that can offer you support, including Women’s Aid and Men’s Advice Line.
What is subletting?
Subletting is when you let out all, or part, of your rented home to someone else. This is allowed, with our permission, under some circumstances.
If you are not allowed to sublet, or you do so without our permission, this could break the terms of your tenancy or lease agreement. This is unlawful subletting and in England it is a criminal offense.
The rules for subletting differ in Scotland and England. You can find more information in "am I allowed to sublet?" below.
Unlawful subletting stops our homes going to the people who really need them. If you suspect one of our homes has been sublet without our permission, please let us know by:
- contacting our customer service team
- speaking with your housing manager
We will always treat reports of unlawful subletting in confidence.
Am I allowed to sublet?
You can’t sublet the whole of your home to someone else. That means you can’t move out completely and move someone new in. You might be able to rent out one of the rooms in your home to someone else, but you’d need to contact us to get our permission before you do.
If you’re thinking about subletting or taking in a lodger, you might want to check out information put together by Citizens Advice, to make sure you know what your rights would be. Renting out a part of your home will change things for you and there are rules.
If you do decide to go ahead, don’t forget to contact us by joining our Live Chat or visiting our get in touch page to ask first.
Can I keep a pet?
The rules on owning a pet will be in your tenancy agreement and should explain the dos and don'ts clearly, but if you’re not sure contact us by joining our Live Chat or visiting our get in touch page. We’ll also be able to help if you’ve misplaced your tenancy agreement and need another copy too. Find out more about tenancy agreements and policies.
If you’d like to keep a pet in your home, you’ll need to contact us or join Live Chat. We’ll ask for a little information to make sure you’re definitely able to look after them properly, have the space and aren’t breaking any of tenancy agreement. We want your pet to be just as happy in your home, as you are.
Before you can move a pet into your home, we’ll need to know:
- Where you live, the size and type of your home
- The size of your garden
- How many pets you want to keep at your home
- The type of pet you’d like to have
We love pets so we would normally give our permission without any problems, but there are some rules in place to keep your pet and your home as safe as possible. Some of these rules are general and some are specific to different types of animals:
- If you live in England, you must live in a house or ground floor flat with its own garden before you can keep uncaged domestic pets (such as a dog or a cat; unless there is a special exemption such as a guide dog) - however, if you live in Scotland, having a garden isn’t essential
- You must get permission from us before you move your pet into your house - if you don’t, you’re breaking the terms of your tenancy agreement
- We will need to contact the RSPCA or SSPCA about any customer reported to be neglecting or abusing their pets
- You’ll need to make sure your pet doesn’t cause damage to your home and that all pet mess is quickly cleaned up - if any damage is caused, it’ll be up to you to repair it at your own cost as soon as possible
- You are responsible for cleaning up any mess your pet leaves in communal (shared) areas straight away
- You’ll need to regularly treat your pet for fleas and worms - if you think your animal might have fleas, treat the problem straight away
- You can’t keep an illegal animal because it isn’t safe - this is explained in the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976
- You’ll need to keep your pet under control at all times and stop them from disturbing or annoying anyone else (such as your neighbours) - remember to be considerate of your neighbours as not everyone likes animals and we’ll always take any complaints from your neighbours very seriously
If you’d like to keep a dog in your home, you’ll need to get our permission first. If you have a dog, remember:
- You should never leave your dog alone for long periods of time
- It’s your responsibility to keep your dog under control at all times - this means no barking and disturbing your neighbours in the early hours of the morning or late at night
- It's now a legal requirement for your dog to be microchipped - this is so you can always prove that they belong to you and if someone else finds your dog they can easily return him or her to you
- You’re unable to keep any breed of dog banned under the Dangerous Dog Act 1991
- Please don’t let your dog have puppies as you will be in breach of your tenancy agreement
If you’d like to keep a cat in your home, you’ll need to ask for our permission first. If you have a cat, remember:
- We strongly recommend that you get your cat microchipped - this is so you can always prove that they belong to you and if someone else finds your cat they can easily return him or her to you
- Please don’t put a cat flap in a door without getting permission from us first - if you do, we would have to ask you to pay to replace the door when you move out
- Make sure your cat doesn’t annoy your neighbours or roam around communal (shared) areas - if we get complaints, we may have to ask you to find them another home
- Please don’t let your cat have kittens as you will be in breach of your tenancy agreement
You can usually keep small birds in a cage in your home but we would need to give you permission first. It’s actually illegal to keep a bird in a cage where it can’t fully open it’s wings in every direction, so it’s really important that you have a cage which is big enough. We would also like them to be able to fly outside of their cage every now and then too, but please remember you’ll need to clean up any mess that they cause.
You can usually keep fish in your home as long as you’ve got permission from us first. All we ask is that the fish tank is safe, sturdy and big enough for the fish you’d like to keep. You’ll need to keep the tank clean, the fish fed and, when you move out, please make sure you take the fish and tank with you.
Small caged animals
Small caged animals, like hamsters and gerbils, are usually okay as long as you’ve asked us first and that they’re kept in an appropriate cage. Please don’t let them breed and remember small animals can cause a lot of damage by chewing too, so be careful when they are out of the cage.
Rabbits and Guinea Pigs
If you want a rabbit we’ll have to have a think about your particular home and situation if you’d like to keep rabbits and guinea pigs. This is because they should usually be kept outside and need a safe place to exercise so, again, it’s important that you have access to your own garden and enough space to keep the hutch.
We don’t usually allow customers to keep any kind of livestock (chickens, goats, pigs, horses etc.) in our homes. This is because our homes simply don’t have enough space and most types of farm animals need special equipment.
If you’d like to know more about keeping any type of animal please contact us by joining our Live Chat or visiting our get in touch page and we’ll have a chat with you about the type of pet you want to keep.
Will I need to pay an additional deposit for my pet?
If we haven’t taken an extra deposit for your pet but you leave a mess when you move out, you still might need to cover the cost of professional cleaning.
What happens if I get a pet without permission?
If you break these rules and keep a pet in your home without asking us first, we’ll need to ask you to rehome your pet immediately and, in extreme cases, you might be faced with eviction. This is because you’ll have broken the terms of your tenancy agreement.
This also includes breaking any of the rules set up for keeping a pet. We really want you to be able to keep your pets but we can’t do that if it’s negatively affecting your neighbours.
If you’re found to have been breaking any laws you may also be prosecuted in court for animal cruelty, so it’s really important you always check with us first. We’ll judge each request on a case by case basis and would never say no without a good reason.
If you have any questions please contact us by joining our Live Chat or visiting our get in touch page.
Complete the form below to request a change to your tenancy
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