Tenure policy


1.0        Introduction and scope

1.1         Feedback and Improvement

2.0        Types of Tenancies

2.1         General Approach

2.2         Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST)

2.3         Assured Periodic (lifetime) Tenancy

2.4         Secure Tenancy

2.5         Licence to Occupy

3.0        Changes to Tenancies

3.1         Sole to Joint Tenancies

3.2         Permanent Decants and Internal Moves

3.3         Mutual Exchanges

3.4         Joint Tenancies

3.5         Succession

3.6         Joint to Sole

4.0        Complaints and Appeals

5.0        Sustaining Tenancies

6.0        Deposits

7.0        Tenancy Fraud

8.0        Roles and Responsibilities

9.0        Related Documents

9.1         Internal

10.0          Relevant Legislation

11.0          Compliance

12.0          Equality & Diversity

This Tenure Policy has been developed in line with Wandle’s values, which are:

1.0     Introduction and scope

  • Think customer
  • Build relationships
  • Work together
  • Aim high
  • Own it

It will ensure that actions we undertake will be underpinned by our vision of:

“Homes to be proud of and services you can trust”

Wandle is committed to providing long term secure homes to enable residents to become part of their community. 

To support this Wandle is simplifying its strategic approach to tenancies and offering a Starter Tenancy (Assured Shorthold Tenancy) which will become an Assured Periodic Tenancy after 12 months, pending a review of adherence with our tenancy agreement and any relevant extension to the probationary period.

This policy also contributes to our long-term strategic aims, as part of our Target Operating Model to ensure we make life easy for our customers through effective management of tenancy types and ensuring we are a key partner to our Local Authority by providing long term, secure and the right type of tenancy for those nominated to live in our homes.

This Policy applies to all tenancies offered by Wandle but does not apply to homeownership (including Leasehold and Shared Ownership).

1.1         Feedback and Improvement

Where appropriate, Wandle will incorporate feedback from tenant’s, those who going through tenancy changes and those involved in the process to capture any changes or adjustments that might need to be made to our processes or our approach.

2.0     Types of Tenancies

2.1         General Approach

Wandle’s general approach is to provide long term tenancies to our tenants, which are secure and are compatible with:

  • The type of property (including any funding conditions)
  • Needs of the household
  • The efficient use of our homes

Wandle’s approach will be to offer social and affordable rent tenants a Starter Tenancy (Assured Shorthold Tenancy) which will become an Assured Periodic Tenancy after 12 Months, where there are no breaches of tenancy. However, if the tenancy is being created following a transfer where it was originally an Assured Periodic Tenancy, it will continue to be an Assured Periodic Tenancy from the start. We will look to give tenants the best type of tenancy we can offer.  

2.2         Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST)

There are a number of types of AST’s, and these are circumstances in which we would use them.

Starter Tenancy

This is our most common form of AST.

We will offer a starter tenancy for new tenants who do not already hold a social housing tenancy with Wandle (see Starter Tenancy Procedure). This is a periodic weekly assured shorthold tenancy. Starter tenancies will be issued for social and affordable rent properties.

In most cases starter tenancies will roll over into an Assured Periodic (lifetime) Tenancy unless there has been a breach of tenancy such as ASB or rent arrears in which case steps will be taken to terminate the tenancy.  Where we do not convert the tenancy, it remains a rolling periodic AST on the same terms, pending the recovery of possession of the property

Generally, starter tenancies will last for 12 months before a review to determine if the tenancy should be rolled over into an Assured Periodic (lifetime) Tenancy. We may choose to extend this probationary period up to a maximum additional six months, to enable a starter tenant to evidence compliance with our tenancy agreement.

If we decide not to roll over someone’s tenancy to an Assured Periodic (lifetime) Tenancy, then we will advise them on the reasons for this decision and what the next steps will be (such as recovery of possession). We will signpost such tenants to advice and guidance on finding alternative accommodation, whether this be via the local authority or private accommodation.

Other ASTs

The property and/or rent type will determine the use of other Assured Shorthold tenancy types. Examples, which are not exhaustive, include:

  • Intermediate Rent (including London Living Rent and Key Workers)
  • Market Rent
  • Supported AST

2.3         Assured Periodic (lifetime) Tenancy

Where a tenant has completed their Starter Tenancy or already holds a Wandle Assured Tenancy, we will offer them an Assured Lifetime Tenancy.  Wandle will also offer an Assured Lifetime tenancy to any tenant who is still under a 5-year fixed term tenancy, when these tenancies come to an end, subject to conditions detailed in 2.1.

This applies to all Wandle’s general needs and sheltered housing properties.

2.4         Secure Tenancy

Wandle has a number of properties with legacy secure tenancies as all tenancies issued before 15 January 1989 were secure tenancies.

Wandle will only grant a new secure tenancy in very limited circumstances, and these are when an existing secure tenant moves within Wandle stock and when an existing secure tenancy moves from sole name to joint.  Secure status may also be retained in limited circumstances where the tenants change but the tenancy agreement remains in place (for example succession, mutual exchange, or court order).

Tenants with secure tenancies are charged a fair rent, so the Rent Policy should also be consulted prior to granting a new secure tenancy.

2.5         Licence to Occupy

Wandle may issue a licence to occupy if the specific circumstances of that property, household or scenario requires Wandle to do so.

Wandle will issue a licence for a limited number of property types and in some specific circumstances such as.

  • Temporary Decant – This will be on a rent-free basis where a tenant is already paying rent on their primary home
  • Supported Housing and Care Housing
  • Garage – Non-residential licence

3.0     Changes to Tenancies

For an existing Wandle Tenant(s), where changes are made to their tenancy, as outlined below, they are entitled to retain the same level of security of tenure unless there are legal or regulatory restrictions to this.  We will always advise tenants to seek legal advice before agreeing to any changes in tenure.

3.1         Sole to Joint Tenancies

Wandle will advise all tenants seeking to convert their sole tenancy to a joint tenancy to seek relevant legal advice before doing so, to ensure they understand the implications (both personal and legal) of such a change, as well as any possible changes to the rights they have.  Wandle has no legal requirement to allow sole to joint tenancy changes and we will manage these on a case-to-case basis in line with the sole to joint procedure. Where we do proceed with a sole to joint request, a new tenancy will be issued by surrender and regrant and rent will be set at the appropriate level, based on the tenancy type.

Further criteria for this are set out further in the Tenancy Management Policy.

3.2         Permanent Decants and Internal Moves

Decants and internal moves of tenants from one property to another will be handled in line with our Allocations and Lettings Policy, as well as our Decant Procedure.  Tenants who are required to move by Wandle and are permanently decanted within Wandle housing stock will not lose their security of tenure and will take their existing tenure type with them.

3.3         Mutual Exchanges

A mutual exchange is when a tenant swaps homes, either with another Wandle resident or a tenant living with another Registered Provider or Local Authority. Joint tenancies must have the agreement of all parties before they can exchange.

Mutual exchanges are usually completed by way of a deed of assignment which would mean the two tenants would swap their existing tenancies.

In some circumstances there will be a deed of surrender and re-grant, which will create a new tenancy for the incoming tenant.

Further guidance for staff can be found in the mutual exchange procedure.

3.4         Joint Tenancies

A joint tenancy is where a tenancy agreement has been entered into and signed by two tenants along with the landlord.

Where partners sign up a new tenancy with Wandle, we would usually create a joint tenancy at the outset, unless there is good reason not to do so.

In a joint tenancy: 

  • Each tenant has the right to occupy the property
  • Neither tenant can exclude the other tenant, unless they get an Occupation Order under the Family Law Act 1996
  • Each tenant is ‘jointly and severally’ (individually) liable for the tenancy including rent payments.
  • Wandle are not responsible for disputes between joint tenants, where a breakdown in the relationship creates dispute over who should retain a tenancy.  In these instances, tenants should seek their own legal advice or contact the Citizens Advice bureau.

3.5         Succession

Succession only takes place in event of the death of a Tenant and can only occur once in accordance with the Housing Act 1985 (secure tenancies) and the Housing Act 1988 (assured tenancies). In very limited circumstances we may offer a new tenancy, but this will be at our discretion. Further guidance for staff can be found in the Succession Procedure.

If the tenancy is an existing joint tenancy the surviving joint tenant will automatically succeed to the tenancy. For details of other scenarios where succession takes place the Succession Procedure should be referred to.  

3.6         Joint to Sole

In cases other than succession as outlined in 3.5 Wandle would not normally remove one joint tenant from a tenancy unless by a court order. Other instances will be considered on a case-by-case basis and will require they tenancy to be ended by notice to quit from one of the tenants. This does not guarantee that a new tenancy will be offered to the remaining joint tenant.   

4.0     Complaints and Appeals


Should a tenant or prospective tenant be unhappy with our approach under any part of this tenancy, then they can make a complaint via our usual complaints process.


Should a tenant or prospective tenant wish to appeal a decision made under this policy, such as the decision not to roll a Starter Tenancy over into an Assured Lifetime Tenancy, then they can make an appeal, which will be dealt with by our Lettings Panel, as detailed in the Allocations and Lettings Policy.

Appeals should be made in writing where possible, but reasonable adjustments will be made for tenants where necessary. Appeals must be made within 10 working days of any decision under this policy, such as to extend the probationary period or not rollover a Starter Tenancy into an Assured Lifetime Tenancy.

5.0     Sustaining Tenancies

It is important to Wandle that the tenancies and tenure types we issue to our tenants are sustainable and allow us to avoid any unnecessary evictions, in line with our membership with Homes for Cathy.  Ending a tenancy through eviction will always be a last resort.

To meet this aims we will offer appropriate support and advice to our tenants to ensure they are able to meet the conditions set out in their tenancy agreements.  This may include financial inclusion support or other tenancy sustainment support.

We will always take consideration of any specific needs or vulnerabilities within a household when making any decision regarding a tenancy, especially when considering terminate or seek possession.

Wandle’s Income Collection Policy and Safeguarding Policy further set our how we will seek to minimise unnecessary evictions and support our tenants through the lifetime of their tenancy.

6.0     Deposits

We do not charge a deposit for any of our social rent properties, London Living Rent AST tenancies or Key Worker tenancies.

Where we do take a deposit, these will be managed in line with the Rent Deposit Procedure.

7.0     Tenancy Fraud

Wandle is committed to identifying and tackling tenancy fraud and ensuring our tenancies are given to those who are in need of and entitled to social housing. 

Tenancy fraud or misuse can present itself in various forms and can occur at any stage during a tenancy lifecycle with the most common issues being:

· Subletting

· Unauthorised assignment (including mutual exchange)

· Wrongly claiming succession

· Right to acquire / Right to buy fraud

· Obtaining a tenancy through false statement

Where Wandle suspect or are informed of possible tenancy fraud, we will act in line with our Tenancy Fraud Policy

8.0     Roles and Responsibilities

Head of Customer Service Delivery

The Head of Customer Service Delivery is responsible for the overall delivery of this Policy.

Housing Services and Quality Manager

The Housing Services and Quality Manager Is responsible for clarifying any queries around rents and tenure.

Allocations and Lettings Officer

The Allocations and Lettings Officer is responsible for ensuring tenants are signed up to the appropriate tenancy type.

Neighbourhood Customer Service Team

The Neighbourhood Customer Service team are responsible for the overall administration of signs ups, mutual exchanges and dealing with any requests for changes in tenancy, such as succession or sole to joint.

9.0     Related Documents

9.1         Internal

StrategiesRent Strategy, Target Operating Model
PoliciesRent Policy Service, Charge Policy, Allocations and Lettings Policy, Tenancy Fraud Policy, Income Collection Policy, Safeguarding Policy
ProceduresAllocations and lettings, Mutual Exchange Procedure, Rent Deposit Procedure, Succession Procedure, Other procedures around tenancy types.
Other internal documentsTenancy Matrix (in development)

10.0 Relevant Legislation

LegislationMain powers and relevance to the policy subject  How we use or comply with legislation
Housing Act 1985,1988 1996 (as amended)        The Housing Act 1985 Grounds 1-10 sets the circumstances in which we are able to refuse a mutual exchange The Housing Act 1988 stipulates the right to succession of tenancy for the spouse of a tenant .

The Housing Act 1996 set out the provision for granting introductory tenancy schemes to all new tenants    
We comply with grounds 1-10 as set out in out mutual exchange procedure and are committed to ensuring that tenants do not lose security of tenure through mutual exchange   We comply with the act through comply with succession rights and the assignment of granting of new tenancies to those with succession rights to a tenancy where applicable.   We use the provisions set out in the 1996 act to grant assured start tenancies, which in most cases will rollover to Assured Periodic(lifetime) Tenancies, expect in cases as stipulated in this policy.  
Immigration ActThe Immigration Act requires landlords to carry out immigration status checks. This is carried out by the Local Authority who carry out all nomination referrals for empty properties.Checks are carried out at sign up as per our Allocations and Lettings policy. Tenancies will not be given where these checks are failed.
Localism Act 2011The localism Act refers to the rights of secure tenants transferring to another property.  This policy set out our position on secure tenancy and sets out how we will ensure the security of this tenure type.

11.0 Compliance

Wandle are required to comply with Regulator for Social Housing regulatory standards.  The Standards that apply to Wandle’s approach to Tenure are outlined below, alongside the how Wandle meet them.

Tenancy Standard

T1.1 Allocations and Lettings

T 1.1 Registered providers shall let their homes in a fair, transparent, and efficient way. They shall consider the housing needs and aspirations of tenants and potential tenants. They shall demonstrate how their lettings:

(a) make the best use of available housing

(b) are compatible with the purpose of the housing

(c) contribute to local authorities’ strategic housing function and sustainable communities

There should be clear application, decision-making and appeals processes.

This Policy sets out how we will comply with these standards, ensuring we issue the appropriate tenancy type, alongside our Allocations and Lettings policy.

T1.2 Tenure

T1.2.1 Registered providers shall offer tenancies or terms of occupation which are compatible with the purpose of the accommodation, the needs of individual households, the sustainability of the community, and the efficient use of their housing stock.

We comply with this standard by offering the majority of tenancies on let on starter or assured tenancy basis which offer a high level of security of tenure to incoming tenants and supports community sustainability.

T1.2.2 They shall meet all applicable statutory and legal requirements in relation to the form and use of tenancy agreements or terms of occupation.

Our Tenancy agreements have been developed to ensure that they comply with all relevant legal and statutory requirements and have been reviewed using external legal expertise.

T2.2.8 Registered providers shall grant those who were social housing tenants on the day on which section 154 of the Localism Act 2011 comes into force, and have remained social housing tenants since that date, a tenancy with no less security where they choose to move to another social rented home, whether with the same or another landlord. (This requirement does not apply where tenants choose to move to accommodation let on Affordable Rent terms).

This policy sets out our commitment to this standard and a commitment to ensuring tenant’s security of tenancy when moving to another socially rented home.

T2.2.9 Registered providers shall grant tenants who have been moved into alternative accommodation during any redevelopment or other works a tenancy with no less security of tenure on their return to settled accommodation.

This policy sets out our compliance with this standard by setting out how we will handle the tenancies of tenants who have been moved into alternative accommodation.

12.0 Equality & Diversity

Equality & Diversity is central to our business; promoting fairness and opportunity for customers and staff; helping provide the best services shaped by and for customers; and right for recruiting and developing our staff.

We are committed to celebrating diversity. To ensure equal access to our services is available, Wandle will comply with the Equality Act 2010 and all other legislative requirements relating to equality. We will work to avoid exclusions or restrictions that are not appropriate to the housing and support needs of our tenants and that may lead to discrimination. We will endeavour to ensure that all tenants receive a consistent level of quality service.

Equality Consideration

Under the Equality Act 2010 Wandle must consider whether our policies adversely affect our customers and/or staff.

The following table identifies whether this policy disproportionately impacts upon any individuals in regard to the key protected characteristics, as identified in the Act:

Special CharacteristicAny impact? (Yes or No)
gender reassignmentNo
marriage and civil partnershipNo
pregnancy and maternityNo
religion or beliefNo
sexual orientationNo

We do not consider this policy to disproportionately impact any individuals in regard to these characteristics and therefore a detailed Equality Impact Assessment is not required.