Your key rights (section 5)

This page provides information about your key rights as a tenant.

The tenancy agreement is more or less the same for introductory tenants and secure tenants. However, if you are an introductory tenant you have fewer rights and some additional conditions to comply with.

Throughout the tenancy agreement, where the rights of introductory tenants vary from those of secure tenants, they are clearly marked like this:

“If you are an introductory tenant, you do not have the right to…”

Similarly, where there are extra conditions for introductory tenants they are clearly marked like this: “introductory tenants only”.

On this page:

Security of tenure

5.12 Save in the exceptional circumstances set out at 1.4, you may live in the property without interference from us as long as you, your friends, relatives or any other person living in or visiting the property (including children) do not break any of the conditions in your agreement. If any of the conditions are broken, we may apply to the court to end your tenancy.

5.13 You may keep your home as long as you want unless there is a legal reason why we can take it back. We may take back your home only with the approval of the court.

Taking in lodgers

5.14 You have the right to take in lodgers, unless doing so would breach any specific age restrictions that apply to your home. You will need to let us know if you take in a lodger in case doing so would breach your tenancy and/or there is a local letting policy.


5.15 You must not allow more than the permitted maximum number of persons to live in your home and the council will not give permission for you to take in lodgers or to sub-let part of your home if doing so would exceed the permitted maximum number of persons. See the final page of your paper agreement for details.

Subletting part of your home

5.16 You have the right to rent part of your home to somebody else as long as you have our written permission. This is called sub-letting. You must not sub-let the whole of your home. We will refuse permission only if we have good reason to do so – if we refuse we will explain why. The council may prosecute any tenant who parts with the possession of the property or sub-lets the whole of it as provided by the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013.

If you are an introductory tenant, you do not have the right to take in lodgers or to sub-let part of your home.

5.17 If you want someone who wasn’t part of your household when you moved in to stay permanently, you must get our written permission first. We will not refuse unless there is a good reason (such as the person being likely to cause a nuisance).

Succession rights

5.18 If you are an introductory tenant and you die while you are an Introductory tenant and succession applies, the person who takes over your tenancy will also be an introductory tenant. They will only become a secure tenant in accordance with the terms of your tenancy agreement.

5.19 If you are a secure tenant, you have the legal right for your husband, wife, civil partner or partner to take over your tenancy on your death. In certain circumstances, other family members may be able to take over your tenancy on your death. If you die when you are a secure tenant and succession applies, the person who takes over will become a secure tenant immediately.

5.20 On the death of a joint tenant, the surviving joint tenant will become the sole tenant.

5.21 Succession can only happen once. If you have already succeeded to the tenancy you will not be able to pass it on. A succession for these purposes happens:

  • in the circumstances set out at 5.18 – 5.20 above
  • if the tenancy is assigned to someone who would be qualified to succeed to the tenancy on your death

5.22 We do not generally allow any other succession to take place. However, under certain circumstances, we may help to find accommodation for someone who is not your husband, wife, partner or civil partner, where there has been no previous succession and where no-one else has a legal right to succeed. That might be help to stay in the same property or it might be help to move to a different Council property.

5.23 If we agree to grant a tenancy to someone who has no legal right to succeed and the property is bigger than they need, we will offer them a smaller alternative.

5.24 If more than one person is entitled to make a claim, they should decide between them who is to do so. If they cannot agree, we will decide who, if anyone, should be granted a new tenancy.

See our successions page for more information.

Assigning your tenancy (legal transfer)

5.25 You may be able to transfer your tenancy:

  • if this is necessary because of a court order (for example if a marriage or civil partnership breaks down)
  • to a person who would qualify to succeed to the tenancy on your death. You must make the request in writing and certain conditions apply
  • if you are a secure tenant mutually exchanging your property (introductory tenants do not have this right)

If you want to assign your tenancy you must ask us for permission in writing. If you assign your tenancy without our agreement you will be in breach of your tenancy agreement and the council may take court action to terminate the tenancy. We can refuse permission to assign your tenancy but would not do so unreasonably.

You may be refused permission because:

  • you have rent arrears
  • we have started possession proceedings against you
  • the property has been adapted for a person with disabilities and there would no longer be a person with disabilities living there
  • there have been antisocial behaviour problems at the property

This is not a full list.

Your right to exchange (swap) your tenancy

5.26 In certain circumstances, you have the right to swap the tenancy of your home with that of another tenant of social housing or give up your tenancy and then be granted a new tenancy of another social housing property. In either case you must request our written permission and we can only refuse to allow you to swap your tenancy or your property on certain grounds set out in law.

Your right to buy your home

5.27 You may have the right to buy your home.

See our ‘right to buy’ page for more information.

Your right to make improvements

5.28 You may make changes to or improve your home as long as you first get our written permission. We may, as a condition of giving you permission, ask you to promise to restore your home to its original state at the end of the tenancy. Any gas or electrical or building work must be carried out by a qualified and competent contractor and must be inspected by us. If we think any improvement work is not safe or does not meet planning, building control or other regulations, we may ask you to immediately put your home back to the condition it was in before you did the work. Alternatively, we may carry out work to put the problem right and charge you the cost of this. You will be responsible for the on-going maintenance of any such improvements.

Your right to compensation

5.29 You have a right to claim compensation for certain improvements that you have made to your home after 1 April 1994 and for which you have our written permission. You can only apply for compensation for some improvements. Contact us for more details.

Email: H&
Telephone: 0118 937 2161

If you are an introductory tenant, you do not have the right to make alterations, additions or improvements to your home, to buy your home or the right to exchange your home or tenancy.

Your right to repair

5.30 You have the right to have certain urgent minor repairs done quickly, if the repair may affect health, safety or security. This is called your right to repair. Under the right to repair scheme, you can claim compensation (up to a maximum agreed by law) if we do not complete the repairs within the set time period.

For further information about repairs also see section 7.

Your right to information and consultation

5.31 We will consult you about any decisions to do with managing or maintaining housing, if these decisions are likely to have a major effect on your home or tenancy.

You also have the right to information about: 

  • the conditions of your tenancy
  • our responsibilities for carrying out repairs
  • our policies about consulting you, offering you a home or transferring your tenancy
  • any proposal to transfer housing stock to a new landlord, and
  • rent setting and how the money is spent

Your right to manage your home

5.32 In certain circumstances, we may give a group of tenants the right to manage their homes as long as they meet certain conditions. You can ask us for more information about this.

Access to your file

5.33 You have the right to see the information we hold about you and your tenancy, rent payments and application for alternative housing. You cannot see information about other people. If you want to see your file please ask your Housing Officer. We must let you know within 40 days what information we hold and let you have a copy. We can charge a small fee for checking our records.

5.34 If you believe any of the information we hold about you is incorrect, you have the right for it to be amended. If you believe this to be the case, please write to us at:

Reading Borough Council
Civic Offices
Bridge Street

You have the right to see our rules for deciding who gets offered a council home

5.34 You have the right to a free copy of a short summary of these rules – ask your Housing Officer.

Last updated on 29/05/2024