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Your tenancy or lease

You’ll have one of two types of tenancy agreement:

1. Secure Tenancy

You have a secure tenancy if you’ve been a Northwards/MCC tenant for at least 12 months.

2. Introductory Tenancy

You will probably still have an introductory tenancy if you’ve been a Northwards/MCC tenant for under a year.

Introductory tenants have fewer rights, but as long as there have been no problems during the first 12 months of your tenancy, you automatically become a secure tenant.

Frequently asked questions about tenancy agreements, the Right to Buy scheme, taking over a tenancy and more

Can I buy my home?

Yes, as long as:

  • You have been a tenant - with us, the City Council or another public sector landlord (like another council or housing association) - or lived in armed forces accommodation - for five years.
  • You do not live in specialist housing (e.g. for elderly or disabled people).

Find out more about the ‘Right to Buy’ scheme on the Manchester City Council website.

Can I take over someone else’s tenancy?

You can apply to take over someone else’s tenancy, but only if:

  • The current tenant has given us notice that they wish to leave. (If you wish to take over a tenancy after a tenant has died, this is called a "succession" and is something different. To find out more about  succeeding a tenancy, please read 'What happens to a tenancy after a tenant has died?' below.)
  • You were living at the same address as the tenant when they gave us notice
  • You still live at that address now

Whether we allow you to take over the tenancy or not will depend on your circumstances and the type of property it is.

Use this button to begin your application:


What happens to a tenancy after a tenant has died?

If a tenant dies, the tenancy stays with any joint tenants at that address.

If there are no joint tenants, the tenancy can pass to:

1/ The tenant’s partner, as long as that person was living with the tenant when they died.

2/ A relative (if there is no partner), as long as they had been living with the tenant for the previous six months.

3/ A carer (if there is no partner or eligible relative who wants the tenancy), as long as they have been living with the tenant for at least two years and are officially recognised as a carer by Manchester City Council. However, if the home is bigger than what the relative or carer needs (according to Manchester City Council’s rehousing rules) they have no right to remain in the property and we will help them to find a more suitable home.

If someone has already taken over the tenancy following the death of a previous tenant, the tenancy does not legally have to go to someone else if they die. But we may agree to give that person a new tenancy agreement and allow them to stay in the property.

Taking over a tenancy after a tenant's death is called a "succession". If you would like to apply to succeed a tenancy, please use this button:


How do I end my tenancy?

If you wish to end your tenancy, you must:

  • Give us four weeks' notice before you go. You can give us notice online using the button below. If you don’t, we’ll charge you rent for the weeks which you didn’t give us notice and you will not be able to take another MCC tenancy until the amount is paid off. If you don’t give us any notice at all, you will not be allowed to rent another council home in future. 
  • Pay your rent until your tenancy ends and make sure you don't owe any outstanding rent when you leave. You won’t be allowed to rent another council home until the amount is paid off.
  • Leave the property, garden, fixtures and fittings in good condition. If we need to pay to put anything right, we will charge you for it and you won’t be able to rent another Northwards or council home until the amount is paid off.
  • Leave the property empty - including your garden and any outhouses or sheds. If we have to remove items, such as furniture, carpets, laminate flooring or rubbish, we will charge you for it and you won’t be able to rent another council home until the amount is paid off. The costs for removals are £287.
  • Contact your gas and electricity providers to tell them you're moving and give them meter readings on your last day. If you claim benefits, contact the benefits service to tell them when you are moving and where you are moving to. Remember that Royal Mail can arrange to forward your mail too.
  • Return your keys to us before 4pm on the Monday after your notice period ends. If we don't receive your keys until the next day, we'll charge you another week's rent.

Don’t leave anybody else living in the home when you move out. You cannot pass your tenancy onto someone else.

If you are a joint tenant, any one of you can end the tenancy by giving us four weeks' notice. We do not legally have to allow the other tenant(s) to stay - it depends on circumstances and whether the property is more suitable for another type of household (like a family for instance).


Can I sub-let my home? Or take in a lodger?

You can sub-let part of your home, but not all of it, so you can take in a lodger. Before you do this, you must contact us and get our permission in writing. We will check the circumstances before giving the go ahead (for example, making sure the person hasn’t got a history of anti-social behaviour).

Can I change my name on my tenancy agreement?

Yes. Please note, however, that you will not be provided with a new tenancy agreement in your new name and that your original tenancy agreement will still be valid. You should keep a copy of your change of name details along with your tenancy agreement.

Use our form to request to change your name on your tenancy agreement.

Can I run a business from my home?

Yes, as long as it is legal, doesn’t pose a risk to the property or cause a problem for your neighbours. However, you must get our permission in writing first. Contact us about this.

Information for leaseholders

Rights and responsibilities

You are responsible for:

• paying your ground rent, service charge and contribution towards any major improvement work
• repairing and keeping the inside of your home in good condition
• using the premises as a single private residence only
• allowing access for any inspections or work needed in your home
• not making any changes to the internal or external structure (including the installation of satellite dishes) of your home without permission
• making sure that you and visitors to your home behave in a way that doesn’t cause any annoyance or nuisance to your neighbours

You have the right to:

• be consulted about any major work on your block
• use any shared parts of your building or area, but not the roof
• live in your home undisturbed
• be told about any costs towards any repairs and maintenance
• sublet or sell your flat

On behalf of Manchester City Council (MCC), we have the right to:

• gain access to your home to carry out inspections or work
• maintain and improve the structure of the building, and communal areas

On behalf of MCC, we are responsible for:

• making sure that your building is fully insured, (although you will need to insure your flat and contents yourself)
• repairing the structure and the outside of your home
• repairing and maintaining all of the shared parts of your building and surrounding area
• making sure that services are maintained at a reasonable level and cost

Repairs and maintenance

MCC Housing Services will carry out these repairs. You’ll find the full details in your lease.

We are responsible for:

• exterior walls
• roofs and chimney stacks
• foundations
• joists and beams
• rainwater pipes and gutters
• external waste and soil pipes
• sewers and drains
• mains gas, and water pipes and electricity cables into the flat
• district or communal heating and hot water systems
• communal lifts (not individual stair lifts)
• external painting to your flat and block
• decoration of internal and external shared areas
• windows and doors in communal areas
• shared gardens, paths, walls, fences and parking

Your are responsible for:

• fittings such as kitchen units and sinks
• floorboards
• inside walls that don’t form part of the structure of your home
• plaster or other surface materials to all walls and ceilings
• internal doors and door frames
• toilets, basins, bath and/or shower
• radiators, cisterns, tanks, your own boiler and pipes
• gas, water and electricity installations
• fixtures, fittings and internal decoration

Responsibility for window repairs

We are usually responsible for repairing the frames, hinges, locks and handles and you are responsible for the glass.

Responsibility for external door repairs

We are normally responsible for repairing the main entrance doors and frames to your block, and also your flat entrance door and frame (but not the lock or anything else on the door).

Remember, MCC has responsibility to maintain the outside of your flat so you should not carry out any repairs or maintenance to areas which you are not responsible for. If you are aware of any repairs that are needed, report them to us.

Making changes to your property

You must not carry out any structural works without written permission from MCC Housing Services.

Contact us with details of the work you would like to carry out. If you don’t get approval, you are breaking your lease agreement.

You should also check if you need planning permission and/or Building Regulations approval. For advice, contact Manchester City Council Planning Department by email at or call them on 0161 234 4516.

External Improvements to Your Flat

The Government’s Decent Homes Standard states that all homes must be fit to live in, in a reasonable state of repair, have reasonably modern facilities and services and be warm and weather-proof.

We completed the majority of our Decent Homes Improvements in 2010 but we still need to keep up to this standard by carrying out regular maintenance and improvement works. As a leaseholder, your home will be included in any planned work. The cost will be charged to your sinking fund.

How you will be consulted

We will send you a Section 20 notice explaining all the work we need to carry out, and the estimated cost. A second letter will be sent to you a couple of weeks before we start work and we’ll confirm the actual date and time three days before.

Any emergency or urgent work (e.g. where a roof or chimney collapses) will be carried out without consultation and MCC Housing Services will contact you about paying for the work.

Your service charge

A service charge is a payment you make towards the costs of providing and maintaining services for the block you live in.

The estimated annual service charge is payable by all leaseholders quarterly, as set out in the terms of your lease.

The cost of the services to tenants is not subsidised in any way by leaseholders. Tenants also pay rent for these services. The service charge will vary depending on where you live and covers things like:

• group heating
• caretaking
• day-to-day and emergency repairs
• cleaning
• buildings insurance
• external painting
• painting of shared areas
• brickwork pointing
• paths and access
• roof repairs or re-roofing
• structural repairs
• lifts
• entry phone systems
• rubbish chutes
• electrical re-wiring of shared areas
• administration

Part of your service charge will be put to one side to pay for any large scale improvement works to your block. This is called a sinking fund and operates like a bank savings account.

From time to time, we may need to increase this amount to cover the cost of the work we need to do. We will write to you if we need to increase your sinking fund payments. If the cost of the work is excessive, MCC may be able to offer you a loan to help. Your share is calculated by dividing the total cost of work for your block by the number of flats. For example, if the total cost of the work is £600 and there are four flats in your block, then the charge to your sinking fund will be £150 (£600 / 4).

Section 125 Notice

If your flat was bought from MCC under the ‘Right to Buy Scheme’, you will have received a Section 125 Notice which gives details of the purchase price and discount entitlement.

It will also have the estimated cost of the annual service charge which is set for the first five years, and is based on the anticipated cost of any major work planned for your block. Within that period, we cannot charge you more than the amount shown in your Section 125 notice, apart from an increase due to inflation.

Ground Rent

The Ground Rent that you pay is a yearly payment of £10. This is set out in your agreement.

The charge is made because your property is built on council land. The invoice for ground rent is sent out separately from the service charge from the council’s treasury department.

Buildings Insurance

The Council insures the building where you live. This is because the Council is still responsible for the upkeep, repair and maintenance of the structure and shared areas of your block.

The buildings insurance only covers the shared parts of your building and not the contents of your home. We strongly recommend that you arrange separate insurance to cover your flat and its contents.

Ways to pay

There are a number of ways that you can pay your service charge:

Standing Order or Direct Debit

Contact the leaseholder section of MCC on 0161 234 4874. They will send you a form to fill in and return. Payments are taken on the 22nd of each month (or the closest working day to it if it falls on a weekend or bank holiday).

By phone

If you’ve got a credit or debit card – like MasterCard, Maestro or Delta – just call us on 0161 234 4874 during office hours. Or you can use our 24 hour automated payment line on 0161 234 5006. You’ll need the full 16-digit account number which begins “78”.

On the internet

Go to You will need your reference account number and postcode.

At the Post Office

Please make your cheque payable to Post Office Counters Limited and write your reference account numbers on the back of the cheque.


Ask your bank for details of this convenient way to pay. You will need our sort code 08-90-00, account number 61176698 and your account reference number.

By Bank Transfer (BACS)

You will need:

our sort code 08-90-00,
our account number 61176698
and your account reference number.


Selling your home

You do not need the MCC’s permission to sell your flat, although they need to know about any change of ownership.

If you have bought your home under the Right to Buy scheme, you can sell whenever you like, but if you sell within the ‘discount repayment period’, you will have to repay some or all of the entire discount.

The amount of discount to be repaid if you sell within five years of purchase will be a percentage of the resale value of the property, not including any improvements you have made.

If you sell within the first year of purchase, the whole of the discount will have to be repaid. 80% must be repaid if you sell in year two, 60% in year three, 40% in year four and 20% in year five.

If you bought your flat after 18 January 2005 and sell your home within 10 years, you must first offer it to MCC or another social landlord at full market value.

Gas safety checks

As a leaseholder, you are responsible for the maintenance of all gas appliances in your home. They should be checked every 12 months by a GAS SAFE registered engineer.

MCC Housing Services can carry out this important check for you at a competitive rate.

Contact us to find out more.

Our handyperson service

Our ‘Helping Hands’ scheme is a handyperson service leaseholders can access.

For a reasonable hourly rate, we can help you with a range of DIY jobs around the home including:

• assembling furniture

• putting up shelving and cabinets

• fixing TVs or similar electrical equipment to walls

• putting up light shades, curtain rails and blinds

• hanging pictures and mirrors

• putting up hanging baskets

• decorating

These are just a few examples – the jobs we can help with aren’t limited to this list. However, the Helping Hands service does not include heating and electrical jobs. Hire the Helping Hands service.


If you are unhappy with any of the services you have received, please tell us about it: make a complaint.