About your tenancy

The tenancy agreement is a legal document that is signed before you move into your new home. It sets out your responsibilities and rights as a tenant and those of the council as your landlord.

Changes to the terms of the existing agreement were approved by Housing & New Homes Committee in September 2017. We are writing to all our tenants with an explanation of the changes and providing a copy of the new agreement.

The new tenancy agreement will take effect from 8 January 2018. You are not required to sign or return the new agreement, but please keep this safe for your own records. 

If you have any questions about your tenancy agreement and what it means for you, please contact the Housing Customer Service team. If the information you are looking for is not on this page you might also find it in our tenant handbook

Brighton & Hove City Council has two types of council tenancy:

Information on these tenancies can be found below, alongside information on what happens if the conditions of tenancy are not kept.

A tenancy can be shared with another person. This is called a joint tenancy. There is more information about joint tenancies below.

Introductory tenancies

You will be an introductory tenant for the first year of your tenancy with the council unless you are currently a secure or assured tenant when you move into your new home.

If you transfer from another of our properties, you will continue to be a secure tenant unless you are still in your first year of your introductory tenancy. In this case, your introductory tenancy continues at the new property until the end of the first year. 

The introductory tenancy is for a trial period of 12 months. During that time, tenants must show that they are responsible enough to keep their home and can keep to the conditions set out in the tenancy agreement. If tenants break any of these conditions, we can extend the introductory period by a maximum of six months or take steps to end the tenancy. Introductory tenancies can be ended more easily than secure tenancies.

As an introductory tenant you have fewer legal rights than a secure tenant. The differences are:

  • you cannot swap your home through the mutual exchange scheme
  • you do not have the right to buy your home
  • you cannot take in lodgers or sublet any part of your home
  • you cannot use your home for business purposes
  • you cannot make any alterations to your property (other than decorating, laying carpet and minor improvements such as putting up shelves) 

Secure tenancies

If you become a secure tenant, you get the full legal rights of a council tenant. This means you keep your home for as long as you choose - as long as you keep to the conditions set out in your tenancy agreement.

We can only take your home away from you if you give us good reason to do so, for example if you do not pay your rent, you harass other people, or if there is a legal ground for possession under the Housing Act 1985, the Housing Act 1996 or any other law.

If you decide to leave your home and no longer need your tenancy we require at least four weeks written notice before you want to end your tenancy. 

Demoted tenancies

If you do not keep to the conditions of your secure tenancy, or you or your visitors cause or are likely to cause a nuisance or annoyance, we may apply to the court for a demotion order which, if granted ,will remove some of your rights as a secure tenant. You will then have a demoted tenancy. If you continue to break the conditions of your demoted tenancy, we can apply to the courts to evict you - a much faster process once a tenancy has been demoted.

A demoted tenant loses a number of tenancy rights, including the rights:

  • to buy
  • to exchange their home
  • to take in lodgers
  • to sublet part of their home. 

A demoted tenancy lasts for 12 months. During the year our emphasis is on working with the tenants to encourage a change in behaviour and help them keep their home. If we are satisfied with a demoted tenant's behaviour during the year , their tenancy will no longer be demoted and return to being a secure tenancy.

Joint tenancies

As long as there are no previous rent arrears or breaches of tenancy, we will normally grant joint tenancies to new tenants applying jointly who are:

  • married couples or civil partners
  • partners who have lived together for 12 months or more where both partners are over 18 years of age
  • partners with a child or children

However, we are not able to accept applications for joint tenancies from existing sole tenants unless you can establish exceptional circumstances, which will need to be assessed.

If you have a joint tenancy, you are both responsible for the whole tenancy. If there are rent arrears or another condition of the tenancy is broken, either of the tenants can be held responsible. A joint tenancy can be ended if either person serves us a valid termination notice.


If you are a current tenant of Brighton & Hove City Council or one of our partner housing associations and living in the city, you can apply for a transfer. Please see our transfers page to find out if you qualify.