What do I do if a tenant dies?

When a council tenant dies, you may have the right to take over the tenancy. This is known as succeeding to a tenancy. This means the home along with all the tenancy rights will pass to you. There are conditions that you must meet before we will agree to succession.

Who can succeed to a tenancy?

Certain family members have a legal right to succeed to a tenancy on the death of the current tenant. This will depend on what type of tenancy they held and when it started.

What if there is more than one successor?

If there is more than one possible successor, the husband or wife or civil partners will always have priority (Housing Act 1985 Section 89 (2).

For example: Mr. Joe Blogs dies and leaves a wife and a 35-year- old son. The wife has priority.

If there is a disagreement between family members as to who has the right to succeed to the tenancy, we can decide who succeeds.

Are there any conditions for a succession?

Yes. The three conditions below must all be met.

1.  There has been no previous succession to the tenancy.

2.  The potential successor must be living in the property as their only or principal home at the time of the tenant’s death.

3.  If the tenancy commenced after 1st April 2012 and the successor is not a spouse/ civil partner they must have lived with the tenant for at least 3 years prior to the death of the tenant but not necessarily in the same home.

3a. If the tenancy commenced before 1st April 2012 and the successor is not a spouse/ civil partner they must have lived with the tenant for at least 12 month prior to the death of the tenant but not necessarily in the same home.

3b. The 12-month/ 3 year periods do not have to be in the current property nor do they have to be in a council property. For example, they could have lived together in a private property for a number of years and have only been living in one of our homes for six months.

How can I succeed a tenancy?

If you feel that you have the right to succeed your tenancy you need to complete an Application to Succeed form.  

For more information about the way the way we look after the personal information please refer to our privacy promise.

We will also need to see the death certificate. If you are not the late tenant’s husband / wife or civil partner we will also need to see evidence that you have lived at the property for at least 12 months (this could be Benefit Records, Medical Records, Tax Records, Employment Records).

What happens next?

Once we have your application form and all the evidence we will make a decision in 20 working days. If you do have a right to the tenancy we will ask you to sign an agreement to accept the right to the tenancy. We will also give you a full copy of the current tenancy agreement and any other useful information you may need. If you do not have the legal right to take over the tenancy we will discuss all the available options with you. We may be able to agree to let you stay in the property on a temporary basis while you find another home.

If we think that we may have a right to ask you to move to more suitable housing we will discuss this with you.