Inheriting a tenancy

Who can inherit a tenancy, and how you inherit a tenancy from someone after they die.

Who can inherit a tenancy

You can inherit a tenancy from your husband, wife, civil partner or family member if they die. This is called succession. 

To inherit a tenancy you must have been living in the same property as the tenant for at least 12 months. We will ask to see proof of your address.

The following family members can inherit a tenancy:

  • Husbands, wives, civil partners
  • Unmarried couples including same sex partners
  • Parents
  • Grandparents
  • Children
  • Grandchildren
  • Brothers and sisters
  • Uncles and aunts
  • Nieces and nephews
  • Step relations
  • Half relations

When you can inherit a tenancy

You’ll need to tell us if a family member has died. Succession can only happen when we’ve been told about the tenant’s death.

The tenancy will automatically pass to a husband, wife, civil partner or other family member as long as:

  • this is the first time the tenancy is being passed on
  • the tenancy is being passed onto someone who’s been living at the property for at least 12 months

Death of a joint tenant

If a tenancy is held in joint names and one of the tenants dies, the tenancy will pass on to the surviving tenant

Terms and conditions of succession

The following conditions apply to any succession.

A tenancy can only be passed on once

This is usually the partner of the person who dies, but if there’s no partner then any family member who’s been living at the same home can take on the tenancy. 

It’s up to the family members to decide who this is if there’s more than one option.

If you can’t decide, we can make the decision for you. 

We’ll base our decision on:

  • how long the tenant has lived there
  • their age
  • their relationship to the deceased
  • their ability to keep a tenancy

Only wives, husbands or civil partners have the legal right to remain in the property

If it’s anybody else, including unmarried partners, then we could ask you to move. 

We could ask you to move if the home is larger than you need but we’ll consider the circumstances before we make a decision.

Only one succession is allowed by law

A tenancy can only be passed on once by law.

We may offer a new tenancy if someone has:

  • been living with the tenant for at least 12 months
  • been looking after the tenant
  • responsibility for the tenants’ children and the children don’t have the right to inherit the tenancy themselves

Dealing with the death of a family member

Dealing with the death of a partner or family member can be very difficult but there are organisations that can help.

Find out more about bereavement support.