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Assignment and succession

This content applies to England

Secure tenants' rights to assignment and succession.


Assignment is the transfer of an interest in a property (for example, a tenancy) to another person. The general rule is that secure tenancies cannot be assigned except in three situations:[1]

  • assignment by way of exchange
  • assignment following court orders in some relationship breakdown cases
  • assignment to a member of the tenant's family who would be a successor.

For further details see Assignment: Secure and flexible tenancies.

The unauthorised assignment of secure tenancies is a criminal offence (see Social housing fraud for more on this and unlawful profits orders).


Succession is where a tenancy is transferred on the death of the tenant. There can be only one statutory succession to a secure tenancy and certain conditions must be met.[2] Where there is a joint tenancy and one of the tenants dies, the remaining tenant(s) will succeed and there cannot be a further succession.[3]

For further details of who is qualified to succeed under a secure tenancy see Secure and flexible tenancies.

[1] s.91(3) Housing Act 1985.

[2] see ss.86A and 87 Housing Act 1985, as amended by s.160 Localism Act 2011 with effect from 1 April 2012.

[3] s.88(1)(b) Housing Act 1985.

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