Tenancy Transfers

If you are a council or housing association tenant and want to move to a new home you can apply for a tenancy transfer.

What is a tenancy transfer?

Most council and housing association tenants can apply for a transfer.

A tenancy transfer is when your landlord allows you to move to another council or housing association property in the area.

A tenancy transfer is different to a tenancy exchange, where you arrange to swap your home with another council or housing association tenant.

How to apply for a tenancy transfer

Contact your council’s housing office or your housing association to apply for a tenancy transfer. You will be asked to fill in a form or register online.

Every council should provide free information about how to make an application for a tenancy transfer and how their transfer scheme works.

You will be asked for information about why you need to move. Explain in detail any special needs, difficulties or problems you or your family have – for example a health condition that makes your current home unsuitable. Enclose copies of any evidence that you have (such as photographs, letters from your doctor etc.)

Your chances of getting a tenancy transfer will depend on:

  • the reasons you want to move
  • whether your landlord has accommodation of the right size – larger homes are usually in short supply
  • whether you need a home that has been adapted – in this situation you may have to wait longer.

Who qualifies for a tenancy transfer?

To transfer tenancies in Wales, you must be:

You probably can’t apply for a transfer if you:

  • are a council tenant with an introductory tenancy (you will probably have to wait until the tenancy becomes secure)
  • are a council or housing association tenant whose tenancy has been demoted
  • are a housing association tenant with a starter or assured shorthold tenancy
  • rent a bedsit or hostel room from the council
  • you live in supported housing or a care home
  • you, or any member of your household, have been found guilty of serious unacceptable behaviour. See our page on eligibility for council housing for more details on what this behaviour could include.

Priority for a tenancy transfer

You may be entitled to priority for a transfer if:

  • you are living in very poor conditions (for example, your home is in serious disrepair or lacks basic washing / cooking facilities)
  • your family has grown and your home is now overcrowded
  • your current home is no longer suited to your needs because you are ill or have a disability
  • you need to move to a particular area to avoid hardship (for example, you suffer with a mental health illness and you need to be close to people who support you).

In some cases, you may also get priority if:

  • your home is now too big for your household, for example because your children have left home
  • you are under-occupying your home, and since the introduction of the bedroom tax you can no longer afford the rent.

Your application for a transfer should be dealt with using the same rules that apply to people who are applying for a council or housing association place. See our page on Who gets priority? for more details.

How long will a transfer take?

Tenancy transfers can take a long time. There is no guarantee that you will get the home you want. There is a shortage of property in most areas.

To speed up the process, you may need to be flexible about what you are prepared to accept.

Transfers to another area

You may be able to transfer to a tenancy in another area, for example to be near a special school or other service.

Ask your landlord about getting a nomination to another council or to a housing association in a different area.

What can I do if I am unhappy with the decision about my transfer application?

If you are unhappy about a decision that has been made about your application for a transfer, you might be able to ask for that decision to be reviewed.

Transfer applicants should be treated in the same way as people who have applied to the council or housing association for the first time, so they should be given the same rights to challenge any decision. Take a look at our page on Challenging allocation decisions to see what you can do.

If you need help challenging a decision then get advice from Shelter Cymru as soon as possible. You usually have to ask for any review within 21 days of receiving the decision so make sure you don’t delay.

Tenancy exchange

You might have a better chance of moving home if you consider a tenancy (mutual) exchange with another council or housing association tenant.

Get advice from Shelter Cymru if you are not sure whether to apply for a transfer or exchange.

Phone an adviser

If you have a housing problem, call our expert housing advice helpline
08000 495 495

Email an adviser

If you have a non-urgent problem and would like to speak to an adviser
email us

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This page was last updated on: April 20, 2023

Shelter Cymru acknowledges the support of Shelter in allowing us to adapt their content. The information contained on this site is updated and maintained by Shelter Cymru and only gives general guidance on the law in Wales. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law.