Taking over a tenancy after a tenant dies

Information on taking over a tenancy after a tenant dies (succeeding).

There is a legal right for someone to take over the tenancy after the tenant dies if:

  • the tenant, who has died, did not become the tenant by taking over the tenancy on the death of a previous tenant, 
  • the person wishing to take on the tenancy is the tenant's spouse and they lived at the property as their principal home, when the tenant died, 
  • the person wishing to take on the tenancy is a member of the tenant's close family and they lived at the property, as their principal home, for the 12 months before the tenant died

Where the person was living with someone as man and wife (cohabiting) but were not married to them, they are considered a close family member rather than a spouse. The council treats requests from same sex couples in the same way as other unmarried couples who cohabit.

A joint tenancy will not be created where someone succeeds to the tenancy. Where there is more than one person who could succeed, the spouse of the deceased tenant will be given the tenancy. If there is no spouse, the people who have the right to succeed will decide between themselves who should take over the tenancy. If they cannot agree, we will make the selection.

What happens?

We will check all requests to succession. 

When considering a request you will need to provide:

  • a copy of the death certificate
  • proof the family relationship such as marriage certificates, birth certificates passports etc.
  • proof of residence at the family home for the required period of time such as bank or building society statements, housing benefit documents and other formal correspondence

We aim to give a decision within 20 working day and will write confirming the succession of the tenancy from the first Monday after the tenant's death. We will amend their records to show the change in tenant from this date. The new tenant does not sign a new tenancy agreement.

If you have succeeded to a tenancy but the property is larger than you reasonably need, the council will require you to move to smaller accommodation which meets your needs. This does not apply if you were the spouse or civil partner of the deceased.

If the tenancy was a joint tenancy

Where the tenant who has died had a joint tenancy, the remaining joint tenant living at the property, is able to have the tenancy placed in their sole name. This type of succession is sometimes called survivorship.

What happens?

We will check all sole name requests to make sure the person wanting to take over the tenancy is entitled to have it placed in their sole name.

We will need:

  • a copy of the death certificate
  • to be satisfied the person is living at the property

Once the details have been confirmed we will confirm, in writing, the succession of the tenancy from the first Monday after the tenant's death. We will amend our records to show the tenancy as a sole tenancy from this date. There is no need to sign a new tenancy agreement.

Let us know the tenant has died and someone wants to succeed to the tenancy by contacting your tenancy management about a succession request by emailing tenancymanagement@hillingdon.gov.uk.

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Page last updated: 09 Sep 2019