When a council tenant dies, the tenancy can be passed on to a husband, wife or civil partner through a process called succession. In some cases, this can be another family member such as a son or daughter.
There can only ever be one succession to a council tenancy.
In situations where the original tenancy was a joint tenancy, the surviving joint tenant will takeover the tenancy by succession. When that person dies, nobody else can take over the tenancy.
If the person who died was a sole tenant, their wife, husband or registered civil partner can take over the tenancy (if it hasn’t been passed on before) as long as they were living at the property at the time of the tenant’s death.
What if more than one person qualifies in succession?
The Housing Act sets out how the successor may be chosen if more than one person qualifies to succeed or receive the tenancy:
- By law, a second succession is not possible. But in certain circumstances, we may pass the tenancy to a relative. This could be a close relative who has always lived in the property.
- If the tenancy passes to a relative and the property is larger than their needs or is a certain type, we may move them to a more suitable property.
Succession by other family members
For council tenancies created before 1 April 2012, if there is no surviving spouse or civil partner, another family member may be able to take over the tenancy.
Family members who can inherit a council tenancy include:
- cohabiting partners
- children (not foster children)
For secure council tenancies created after 1 April 2012, there is no right for a family member to succeed, unless the tenancy agreement specifically allows for it.
What type of tenancy will I have?
If you succeed to a council tenancy, you will have the same type of tenancy as the person who died.
If you were a joint tenant with the person who died, you will be responsible for any rent arrears at the time of the other tenant’s death.
The succession process can be complicated,so please talk to your Housing Officer.