In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question: “what happens when a housing association tenant dies?”

What happens when a housing association tenant dies?

When a housing association tenant dies it is possible that a family member could inherit their tenancy but this depends on the type of tenancy and the exact type of relationship to the deceased. This is known as succession rights and a housing association tenancy will usually only be inherited once except the tenancy agreement with the landlord allows more than one succession.

What happens when a housing association tenant dies

Do you have succession rights?

Whether you could inherit the housing association tenancy when a tenant dies depends on your relationship with the tenant and the type of tenancy

If you are unsure of the type of tenancy you can again ask the landlord. 

If you come forward to inherit a housing association tenancy after the housing association  tenant dies you may be required to provide certain documentation such as:

Documentation to identify you such as a passport or drivers license

Documentation to evidence your relationship with the deceased housing association tenant

Documentation which evidences how long you had lived with the housing association tenant

If you are permitted to inherit the housing association tenancy then the landlord will inform you. You will have to inherit the same type of tenancy the housing association tenant was on and the terms will remain the same e.g the rent.

If you are joint tenants

When a housing association tenant dies you may be able to inherit the housing association tenancy if you were joint tenants and already living with the tenant. 

You will immediately become the sole tenant if you had a joint housing association tenancy with the deceased housing association tenant.

Your succession right over the housing association tenancy will surpass anybody else’s right or claim to the tenancy and this applies regardless of the type of housing association tenancy.

There are also succession rights which allow anyone else to inherit the tenancy.

Usually, a housing association tenancy can only be inherited once but this is based on what the tenancy agreement states and some tenancy agreements may allow for the housing association tenancy to be inherited more than once. 

If you are unsure about this you can check with the housing association landlord.

What happens when a housing association tenant dies

If you were married, partners or a cohabitee

If you were married, a civil partner or cohabitee and living with the housing association tenant who dies or if you were there unmarried partner then you have succession rights.

If you are a relative

You may have the right to succession if you were a relative but the housing association tenancy will have to state this. 

Usually, family members and relatives may have the right to successions long as there wasn’t a joint tenant. Spouse, civil partner or cohabitee living with the Housing association tenant when they died. 

You must also have been living with the housing association tenant for at least twelve months before they died.

You may be able to inherit the tenancy if you are a:

Brother

Sister

Child

Uncle 

Aunt

Father

Mother

Grandfather

Grandmother

Nephew

Niece

All step relations of the above.

You will usually not be able to inherit the housing association tenancy if you are a foster child. You should inquire further with the landlord.

The type of housing association tenancy

As mentioned above you may be able to inherit the tenancy when the housing association tenant dies but this will also depend on the type of tenancy. 

For housing association assured shorthold tenancies the rules on who can inherit these tenancies will depend on the type and the length of the tenancy.

We will go over the different tenancy types below:

Fixed-term tenancy of two years or more

If the assured shorthold tenancy was for more than two years then relatives can inherit it as long as it says so on the tenancy and they were living with the housing association tenant when they died. 

Partners, husbands, wives, and cohabitees can inherit it as long as they were living with the housing association tenant when they died

Fixed-term tenancy for less than two years

Only joint tenants have succession rights in a case where the fixed term was for less than two years on an assured shorthold tenancy. You should still check with the landlord.

What happens when a housing association tenant dies

A Periodic tenancy

A periodic assured shorthold tenancy is a tenancy which either has a fixed-term tenancy which expired and was not renewed or the tenancy agreement was never for a fixed period

In this case, relatives can inherit it as long as it says so on the tenancy and they were living with the housing association tenant when they died. Partners, husbands, wives, and cohabitees can inherit it as long as they were living with the housing association tenant when they died.

A demoted tenancy

In this case, relatives can inherit it as long as it says so on the tenancy and they were living with the housing association tenant when they died for at least 12 months. Partners, husbands, wives, and cohabitees can inherit it as long as they were living with the housing association tenant when they died.

“ If you take over a demoted tenancy it will stay demoted until the 12 months are up. For example, if the tenancy has already been demoted for 5 months, it will be demoted for another 7 months when you take it over. “

If you have no rights of succession

If you have no rights of succession but were living in the property when the housing association tenant died then you have the right to continue living there until the tenancy ends. This is only the case if no one inherits the tenancy. You won’t be liable for rent and this will be claimed from the tenant’s estate. The tenancy can be ended by the landlord or the entity or person looking after their affairs.

Once the tenancy has ended you lose any rights to be living in the property. If you continue to occupy the property then the landlord can get a court order to evict you and claim any lost rent from you.

FAQs: what happens when a housing association tenant dies?

Can I add my son to my housing association tenancy?

Yes, you can add your son to your housing association tenancy but you will first need to get the Housing Executive or housing association’s permission to create a joint tenancy.

Your son will become jointly liable in the agreement with you.

Can you inherit a housing association tenancy?

Yes, you can inherit a housing association tenancy but usually, this can only be inherited once except the tenancy agreement states otherwise.

Your right to inherit the housing association tenancy will depend on the type of tenancy and your relationship to the deceased.

Can I transfer my housing association tenancy?

Yes, you can transfer your housing association tenancy by applying to transfer it to another housing association or council.

Can you inherit a council tenancy?

Yes, you can inherit a council tenancy but usually, this can only be inherited once except the tenancy agreement states otherwise. Your right to inherit the council tenancy will depend on the type of tenancy and your relationship to the deceased.

In this brief guide, “we are going to answer the question: what happens when a housing association tenant dies?”. If you have any questions or comments please let us know.

If you need financial advice and you live in the UK then you could contact the Money Advice service over the phone or via chat for impartial advice.

You can also contact the debt charity “Step Change” if you are in debt and need help.

John has 22 years of experience in financial services. This spans across financial research, financial services (As a qualified mortgage broker and underwriter), financial trading and sales at global investment banks. While working as a publishing research analyst, he covered European bank credit and advised institutional clients on investment strategies at both JP Morgan and Societe Generale. John has passed all three levels of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) programme.

John has 22 years of experience in financial services. This spans across financial research, financial services (As a qualified mortgage broker and underwriter), financial trading and sales at global investment banks. While working as a publishing research analyst, he covered European bank credit and advised institutional clients on investment strategies at both JP Morgan and Societe Generale. John has passed all three levels of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) programme.