Select Page

Ending your Tenancy and Tenancy Changes

Ending Your Tenancy

Your tenancy runs from Monday to Monday, and will continue to do so until it is legally ended by you or us. If you wish to end your tenancy, you must give us at least four weeks written notice. The proposed end date of your tenancy must be a Monday. Wherever possible please use our online Termination Form or download a PDF version.

Joint tenancies

If you are a joint tenant, your tenancy will be ended if either one of you tells us in writing that the tenancy should end. Please call us immediately if the other joint tenant has given us notice against your wishes or without your knowledge. When a person decides to end a joint tenancy we will acknowledge and confirm this to all joint tenants.

Extended absence from home

If you are planning to be away from home – for example if you are going into a nursing home or taking an extended holiday – please tell us as soon as possible. If you do not tell us, there is a risk we may decide that you have abandoned the property and are not likely to return and will take appropriate action to take back possession of the property.

Once you have given us notice

When you have handed in your notice we will arrange to visit your home and carry out an inspection. If you have altered the property without consent, or there is damage or neglect, we will give you the chance to put this right before you leave. If you do not we will charge you for this.

Leaving the property

Your home and garden should be clear of all belongings. Please check under the stairs, sheds and the loft space. If you leave any belongings, we will charge you for their removal and disposal.

By 12pm place a front door and (where applicable) a communal door key in the key box we will provide. 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.

Ending your tenancy – checklist

  • Complete our form or write to us to give four weeks’ notice to end your tenancy – the last date should be a Monday
  • Remove all your possessions from the home and garden including carpets, curtains etc
  • Ensure no one is left at the property Leave the property and garden clean and tidy
  • Notify the water, gas and electric companies
  • Pay rent and charges up until the end of the tenancy
  • Redirect post; cancel milk and papers
  • Arrange removal of any bulky rubbish
  • Provide us with a forwarding address and contact details
  • Lock and secure the property and any shed
  • Put keys in key box and call Customer Services by 12pm on the Monday the tenancy ends

Ending a tenancy following the death of a tenant

This information is to assist in dealing with the end of a tenancy following the death of the tenant. If you need further assistance, please contact your Community Housing officer who will visit or contact you to provide further advice and support.

Succession of the tenancy

When a tenant sadly dies, a close relative who has lived with the tenant for the previous 12 months may be entitled to succeed the tenancy. The law only allows one succession to one person. For tenancies that started after April 2012 only the spouse can succeed. A tenancy cannot be passed down in a will. It is not always possible to succeed a tenancy. If a person can succeed, they may be required to move to other accommodation if, for example, the property has special adaptions or would be too large for their needs.

Ending the tenancy

If a tenant dies and no one is qualified to succeed, the tenancy must be legally brought to an end by four weeks’ notice to end the tenancy from:

  • The Executor, if there is a will.
  • The Administrator or next of kin, if there is no will.

Wherever possible please use our online Termination on Death form or download a PDF version of the form. We would like to see the death certificate. If there is no will, administrator or relative we will give notice to the Public Trust office to bring the tenancy to an end.


Rent will be due to the end of the tenancy. Any Housing Benefit will end on the Sunday following the tenant’s death. We will notify Housing Benefit and Council Tax offices of the tenant’s death. If more than four weeks are needed to return the property please let us know. We may be able to help, but please be aware that the rent will still need to be paid.

Any arrears remaining on the rent account will be asked for from the deceased’s estate. If there are no funds available in the estate, please confirm this to us in writing to avoid unnecessary contact.

Return of the keys

Please place a front door and (where applicable) a communal door key in the key box we will provide. 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

Removal of belongings

At the end of the tenancy the property should be cleared of all belongings. The following information may assist to arrange this:

Colchester Borough Council Benefits – 01206 282300

Bulky Refuse Collection – 01206 282700

Colchester Furniture Project – collection by arrangement 01206 543438

Emmaus – Free collection of re-usable furniture within Colchester area 01206 768887

St Helena Hospice – 01206 845566

The April Centre – goods collected by arrangement 01206 500510 Helpful Information British Heart Foundation 0844 499 4145

CRUSE Bereavement Care – 01206 363008

National Association of Widows – 0845 8382261

Benefits Agency Freephone – 0800 882200

Registrar (Births, Deaths and Marriages)

Stanwell House, Stanwell Street, Colchester, CO2 7DL – 0845 6037632

Probate Registry (will be overseen at Ipswich office)

Ground Floor, 8 Arcade Street, Ipswich, IP1 1EJ – 01473 284260


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.