Consultation on the impacts of joint tenancies on victims of domestic abuse - our response

13 May 2022

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has been consulting on the impacts of the law on joint tenancies on victims of domestic abuse in the social housing sector.

Feedback was collected on the legal and practical issues concerning the measures in place to remove an abuser from a joint tenancy agreement and enable victims to stay in the family home. We are grateful to our members for sharing their views and feedback which have helped shape our response on behalf of the sector.

Summary of our response

During the passage of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021, concerns were raised over the current rules on joint tenancies, which mean victims of domestic abuse in a joint tenancy with their abuser can be vulnerable to the threat of being made homeless. Should a victim of domestic abuse want to stay in the family home, there is currently no straightforward means to remove the abuser from the tenancy and eliminate the risk of homelessness.

We welcome this consultation in exploring some of the barriers that exist in supporting victims of domestic abuse and offer suggestions where we think changes could be made to better support victims who are in a joint tenancy with their abuser.

We agree that victims of domestic abuse should have access to straightforward procedures to remove a perpetrator from a joint tenancy should they wish to stay in the family home. In particular, we share our views on the following areas: 

  • The experiences that victims may encounter in regard to perpetrators threatening to end a joint tenancy.
  • The limitations of the current means available to landlords to support victims in joint tenancies.
  • The extent to which the current legal framework on transferring joint tenancies is functioning successfully for victims.
  • Suggestions on how to ensure domestic abuse issues are tackled consistently across the board and deliver workable solutions that take into consideration the experience of victims.

Next steps

The government is expected to publish its response to the consultation later this year. In the meantime, if you have any questions concerning the consultation or NHF’s work on domestic abuse, please get in touch using the details below.