If you have a joint tenancy and the joint tenant has passed away, then the tenancy will automatically transfer into your sole name. You would be responsible for the tenancy, including rent or any arrears on the home.
Living at the home, but not a joint tenant
If you are living at the home at the time of the tenant's death, then you may be eligible to take over the tenancy either through ‘succession’ or our ‘left in occupation’ process. We will investigate if this is possible and will speak to you about your options when you get in touch.
We will need to serve a formal notice to the person who is living in the home, this is called a ‘notice to quit.’ Please do not be concerned about the notice, it is a formality to legally bring the tenancy to an end. It does not mean that you will automatically have to leave the home.
Use and occupation charge
If you are living in the home at the time of the tenant’s death, then you will become liable for ‘use and occupation charges’ until the succession/left in occupation investigation is completed. This will be the same cost as the usual weekly rent. If you believe you are entitled to claim benefits for housing costs, then it is important that you make a claim to prevent the account from going into arrears. We have a Benefits Advice Team who can offer you advice and guidance.
Succession means that you have the right to take on the tenancy after a sole tenant dies. The right of succession will largely depend on the type of tenancy agreement the deceased tenant has.
It’s important to check the exact agreement but in the main, the following rules apply:
Protected Assured/Secure Tenancies
- Spouse/partner who is living at the home as their only home at the time of death can succeed the tenancy
- Family member living at the home (parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, sibling, aunt or uncle, nephew or niece) as their only home for 12 months prior to the death of the tenant may be able to succeed the tenancy.
Succession can only occur once. So, if this has taken place before, you would need to apply for the home through our ‘left in occupation’ procedure.
- Spouse/partner living at the home as their only home at the time of death may be able to succeed the tenancy.
Left in Occupation
If you are currently living in the home, but don’t qualify for succession then you may be able to take on the tenancy through our ‘left in occupation ‘procedure. We will talk this through with you once you get in touch.
What happens next if I want to take on the tenancy?
Contact us as soon as you can, and we will arrange a home visit within one working day.
You will be asked to provide the following information:
- A copy of the death certificate
- Proof of identification (for all occupants) and immigration status if applicable (passport etc)
- Proof of residence for the past 12 months or at the time of the tenant's death. This could be official letters such as from the NHS, Department for Work for Pensions (DWP), utility bills, etc.
- Proof of income (wage slips, DWP award letters, universal credit screenshots)
We will also need to complete an inspection of the home. We understand that this can be a very difficult time so please let us know when this is convenient within the four-week notice period. The inspection only takes a few minutes and allows us to confirm occupancy, check the condition of the home, and note any repairs that are needed.
How long will the process take?
We aim to complete any succession or left in occupation investigation as quickly as possible, please help us by providing any documents we request as quickly as you can. The process involves deciding if you have the right to take over the tenancy and if the home is suitable for your needs.