Transferring occupation contracts on long-term renting solutions
If you are a joint contract-holder, or if your partner is the sole contract-holder, you may be able to have the occupation contract transferred into your sole name.
If you agree
If you and your partner have made a decision about who is going to stay in the property in the long term, you may need to change the name on the occupation contract. If your partner is the sole contract-holder and they leave, your landlord can evict you unless you have the contract changed into your name.
Contract-holders may be able to transfer the contract (this process is also referred to as ‘assignment’), or by asking the landlord to give a new contract to the partner who is staying, and then surrendering the current contract themselves. A landlord is not obliged to grant a new sole contract to the remaining partner. It is best not to end an occupation contract before getting written agreement from a landlord that a new contract can be created for the remaining partner.
Not all occupation contracts can be transferred, and some may only be transferred to certain people. The right to transfer the contract to a spouse, civil partner (including someone living with the contrct-holder as if they were a spouse or civil partner) is a fundamental term of all secure contracts .
However, if you have a standard contract, you may not have the right to transfer the contract. Check the terms of the contract to see if it can be transferred. If your contract says that it can be transferred with the landlord’s consent, the landlord can only refuse if there is a good reason.
It is worth remembering that if you are granted a new sole occupation contract, you will have to cover all the rent and maintenance costs yourself. It is worth drawing up a budget to make sure the costs are affordable. If not, you may be able to get maintenance payments or benefits to help with housing costs. See our advice about paying for housing for further details.
If you disagree
If you and your partner can’t agree on who the contract should be transferred to, you will have to get the courts to decide. This can be a long and difficult procedure and you are likely to need a solicitor. The decision a court will make will depend on whether you are married or in a civil partnership or cohabiting, and whether you have children.