Ending a tenancy
You can request to end a tenancy if you want to leave a council-owned property, or if it is no longer required because the only occupant has died. You need to follow certain procedures to end the tenancy.
If your rent arrears are outstanding, the former tenancy officer will contact the executor or estate. Housing benefit ends immediately on death and full rent is payable afterwards.
You need to give us at least four weeks of notice if you want to end or terminate your tenancy. We may consider a shorter termination period in extenuating circumstances.
The notice period does not apply if the reason for ending the tenancy is the death of the tenant.
As all our tenancies start and end on a Monday, the four week notice period will start on the first Monday after we receive your notice.
Apply to end the tenancy
To end the tenancy, you need to complete a termination of council tenancy form.
The form also contains information about how you can obtain advice through independent housing advice agencies.
If you are acting on behalf of a deceased tenant, you will also need to send us a copy of the death certificate.
What happens next
When we have received your form, we will book an appointment with you to send a building surveyor to check the property.
We will also advertise the property on the Swindon Borough Council bidding website so we can find a new tenant. This is because the process of re-letting the property takes a number of weeks – and with thousands of people on the housing waiting list we have a duty to fill empty properties as quickly as possible. We hope you understand our reasons for this. If anybody contacts you asking to view your property, having seen it advertised online, please do not show them around. We will carry out viewings with any potential new tenants once you have returned the keys.
You must return the property with ‘vacant possession’. This means that nobody can be left living in the property after the termination date.
The property, including the loft, must be left clean and clear of rubbish and all personal belongings, including white goods and furniture. Carpets should be taken up and removed from the property.
Gardens should also be cleared of personal belongings and rubbish; the grass should be cut and any trees, bushes or hedges cut back to a reasonable standard. Sheds and outbuildings should be cleared of all personal belongings. Any medical aids, such as bath seats, should be returned to NHS supplies or Social Services.
Any items that are left in the property, gardens, sheds or outbuildings, will be regarded as unwanted and may be disposed of. Please note: you will be charged for the cost of disposal.
Any repairs that you are responsible for, as the tenant, should be completed and any alterations should be reinstated, unless agreed otherwise in advance. If we need to carry out repairs because of damage or alterations to the property, you will be charged for the cost of the repairs.
Rent and benefits payments
Full rent continues to be charged during the notice period. If the keys are not returned by 2.00pm on the agreed termination date, an amount equivalent to the weekly rent and any applicable service charge will continue to be charged until the keys have been returned. If you are responsible for paying the rent, ensure this is paid up in full. If you are in any doubt about the amount payable, contact your Neighbourhood Housing Officer directly.
If you are in receipt of Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit (UC), tell the Council’s benefits department or the Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) that you are moving.
Other things to consider
As well as benefits departments, you may need to inform a number of other companies and organisations that you are moving, including:
- Gas, electricity and water providers – please take your own final meter readings
- Council Tax
- Telephone, broadband, sky/cable TV providers
- Doctors, hospitals, dentists, opticians, schools
- Royal Mail – please arrange for mail to be redirected, if necessary
- Banks, building societies and credit card companies
All keys returned to us must be clearly labelled and returned to the main Council offices no later than 2.00pm on the Monday the tenancy ends. You can return keys earlier but please be aware that our maintenance contractors may start work in the property immediately.
We advise you to return the keys in person. Check contact us webpage to find details of the location and opening hours.
If you are unable to return the keys in person, then send them to us by recorded delivery.
We will not be able to terminate your tenancy until we receive the keys.
If you need further guidance or support with ending your tenancy agreement, you can make an enquiry to your neighbourhood housing officer.