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Assignment for regulated tenancies

This content applies to England

Assignment of tenancies that are regulated under the Rent Act 1977.

Overview

Whether a regulated tenant has the right to assign their tenancy depends on whether the tenancy is in its protected or statutory stage

Agricultural tenancies that are fully protected by the Rent (Agriculture) Act 1976 have similar rights of assignment to regulated tenancies under the Rent Act 1977.

Protected tenancies

The right to assign a protected (also known as contractual) tenancy is governed by the terms in the tenancy agreement. Irrespective of the terms of the tenancy, even where the tenancy agreement is silent on the matter,[1] there is a discretionary ground for possession where the tenant assigns the whole of the dwelling without the landlord's consent.[2] For the purpose of this ground, a landlord's consent may be given verbally or in writing and may be express or implied. For example, consent could be implied where the landlord was aware that assignment had taken place and accepted rent from the assignee. Consent may also be given after assignment has taken place. [3]

Statutory tenancies

A statutory tenancy is not a legal estate in land and, therefore, there is technically no interest that can be assigned. However, a 'transfer', which is a substitution of one statutory tenant for another, is allowed instead.[4] The landlord must give consent, and a written agreement to the transfer must be signed by the landlord, as well as by the tenant and the transferee. If the consent of a superior landlord would have been required for the previous contractual tenancy to be assigned, that person must also be party to the transfer. The implied term prohibiting landlords from withholding consent unreasonably does not apply to these transfers.

Protected shorthold tenancies.

It is not possible to assign a protected shorthold tenancy unless there is a court order under sections 23A or 24 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, section 17(1) of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984 or paragraph 1, Schedule 1 to the Children Act 1989.[5] Any other attempt to assign will have no effect.

[1] Regional Properties Company v Frankenschwerth [1951] 1 KB 631.

[2] Ground 6, Sch.15 Rent Act 1977.

[3] Hyde v Pimley [1952] 2 QB 506.

[4] Part 3, Sch.1 Rent Act 1977.

[5] s.54(2) Housing Act 1980.

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