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Ending your Tenancy and Tenancy Changes

Ending Your Tenancy

If you wish to end your tenancy you must notify us in writing or email (, giving at least four weeks notice of the tenancy end date which should be a Monday. Wherever possible please use a our online Termination Form or download a PDF version.

One of our Officers will want to contact you to discuss final arrangements.​

The main points you will need to consider are:

  • You must leave your property empty of all your possessions, clean and tidy. You may be charged if you do not.
  • You must leave our fixtures and fittings in the same condition you found them in. You may be charged if you do not.
  • Place a front door and (where applicable) a communal door key in the key box we will provide by 12pm on the day your tenancy ends. Leave all remaining keys in a drawer in the kitchen. Please let us know when you have done so by calling Customer Services on 01206 282514 or e-mailing us at You may be charged for a lock change if you do not do this.
  • During your 4-week notice period, you may request an extension to the tenancy end date which may be granted at the discretion of Colchester Borough Homes. However, an extension cannot be given once the tenancy has legally ended and if you have not retuned the keys, you will be charged for lost rent until such times as we have gained access to the property.

Full details about ending your tenancy can be found on the last page of the conditions of tenancy.

Succession – What Happens When A Tenant Dies?

The rules about passing on a tenancy when someone dies (known as succession) are very similar to assigning a tenancy. For example, if you die your tenancy may be able to pass to:

  • your spouse or registered civil partner who lived with you
  • a close family member – as long as they lived with you continuously for 12 months or more before you died (This only applies if your tenancy started before April 2012 and you will be required to provide evidence)

However, by law, a tenancy can only be passed on once. If you took over your tenancy through succession or assignment, no one will have the right to succession if you die.

If a joint tenant dies, the tenancy automatically continues for the surviving tenant. This is known as survivorship. No one will be able to succeed to the tenancy when the surviving spouse or civil partner dies. For example, you have no further right to pass on the tenancy to your children.

You can appeal to us if you think the decision we have made over a succession is wrong. You can contact us if you would like to make an appeal.

For more information see our leaflet Ending your tenancy – death of the tenant.

If you wish to end the tenancy on behalf of a deceased person you may do so providing your have the legal authority as executor or next of kin. Please complete the online Termination on Death form or download a PDF version of the form.


If you are a secure council tenant, you may be able to transfer your tenancy to your partner or other family member depending on when the tenancy started. Assignment is the legal transfer of a tenancy whilst the tenant is alive.

A sole tenant or joint tenants can request an assignment. People assign their tenancy to:

  • prevent disputes between potential successors.
  • allow a tenant to vacate their home but allow members of the family to remain.
  • resolve housing issues in a relationship breakdown.

If you live together, you may be able to transfer your tenancy to your husband or wife (spouse) or your registered civil partner. If you have been living together continuously for the last 12 months or more, you can transfer your tenancy to a partner you are not married to, or not in a civil partnership with, or a close family member (this includes a child, parent, brother or sister).

The person you assign your tenancy to will take over all your rights as a tenant of the property. You can remain in the property if agreed with the assignee. There are three ways to assign a tenancy:

  • Mutual Exchange.
  • Court Order – when the court decides, if there is a dispute over children or in family law.
  • By deed to a potential successor i.e. child of tenant.

It is important to understand that by choosing an assignment, this then uses up the tenancy’s one and only right to succession. There can be no further succession when an assignment has taken place. This means that if the person taking over the tenancy dies, the tenancy will not pass on to their survivors.

If the resulting assignment results in under occupation, we may take action to transfer you to a smaller property.

If your tenancy started after 1st April 2012, you can only assign your tenancy to your spouse or civil partner.

Applying For A Joint Tenancy

You can apply for a joint tenancy from the start or apply to change (or convert) an existing single (sole) tenancy to a joint tenancy.

If you are married or in a registered civil partnership you can add your partner to your sole tenancy at any time by providing us with a copy of your marriage certifcate. If you are a cohabiting couple, you must have lived together at the property for at least 12 months.

You need to apply to us for a joint tenancy. We may refuse your application for a joint tenancy if you or the other person:

  • have a poor record of paying council rent or owe rent at another property.
  • have previously been evicted for antisocial behaviour.
  • own a property in the UK or abroad.

Please download and complete the Joint Tenancy Application and send it to your Local Community Housing Officer.

Relationship Breakdown

The breakdown of a marriage or other close personal relationship can lead to a number of housing issues. If you are unable to reach an agreement regarding your tenancy (see Assignment), you should seek legal advice. For further information please refer to our “relationship breakdown” leaflet.

Please note if you have a joint tenancy, either tenant may end the tenancy for both parties by giving 4 weeks written notice.