If you are the person dealing with the affairs of a ForHousing tenant who has died, contact our service centre on 0300 123 5522 or firstname.lastname@example.org , they will explain what happens next with the tenancy.
Sometimes it is possible for the tenancy to be passed on to the tenant’s spouse, civil partner, partner or another member of the tenant's household - this is known as succession. Here’s what you need to know if you think someone may be eligible to take over the tenancy.
Q. What is a succession?
Succession is what happens when another person is eligible to take over (i.e. succeed) an existing tenancy when a tenant has died. The person who takes over a tenancy (succeeds) in this way is called a successor. A person only has the right to succeed if certain criteria are met.
Q. Do succession rights vary?
In our tenancy agreements we have set out the succession rights the law says should apply and the additional succession rights that we have agreed. Succession rights vary depending on the terms within the tenancy agreement.
Q. Can succession happen more than once?
A succession can only happen once. This means if the deceased person was already a successor (including a previous joint tenant), there cannot be a further succession by a spouse, civil partner, partner or another family member. Where a succession has already taken place and a further request is received, we will provide you with more information. We may at our discretion look to offer a discretionary succession to the tenancy, but this will be in line with our policy and or procedure.
Q. What happens if it’s a joint tenancy?
If the deceased was a joint tenant, the tenancy will automatically become a sole tenancy in the name of the other joint tenant. This is known as survivorship. If this occurs there will be no further succession rights, although we may offer a discretionary succession.
Q. What happens if it’s a sole tenancy?
If the tenant who died was a sole tenant, if they were married or in a relationship, their spouse, civil partner or partner may be able to succeed to the tenancy as long as there was no previous succession and they were living at the property as their only or principal home at the time of the tenant’s death.
Q. What happens if a sole tenant did not have a spouse or partner?
It may be possible for another family member to succeed to the tenancy. This depends on the terms of the tenancy agreement. Any such family member would need to be able to demonstrate they have been living at the property for at least 12 months before the tenant’s death.
Any applications for succession will be dealt with in line with the policy/procedure. It is not possible to succeed to a Starter tenancy, unless ForHousing agree that there are special circumstances, in which case a discretionary succession may be considered.
Q. Which family members might be eligible to succeed on a discretionary basis?
We will only consider requests for discretionary succession from the following family members.
• Parent, child or stepchild.
• Brother or sister.
• Niece or nephew.
• Grandparent or grandchild.
• Aunt or uncle.
Q. How do I apply to succeed to a tenancy?
You need to contact us as soon as possible after the tenant’s death. We will ask you to complete a Succession Application Form and provide information that will help us to decide if you can succeed to the tenancy. We’ll also ask you to provide us with a copy of the death certificate and confirmation of who is dealing with the late tenant’s affairs.
We will not ask you to complete this form if you are a joint tenant of the deceased tenant as you as the other joint tenant will automatically become the sole tenant.
Q. What happens next?
We will review your request to take over the tenancy. As part of this process we may need to make further enquiries and carry out a property inspection. We’ll then write to you to confirm whether you have a right to succeed to the tenancy.
Q. What will happen if I’m allowed to succeed to the tenancy?
If you are a spouse, civil partner or partner of the deceased tenant and they were the sole tenant and we approve your request to succeed you will be sent a letter of confirmation. You will be taking over the deceased person’s tenancy. We’ll give you a copy of the tenancy agreement and explain to you what your responsibilities are and how much rent you need to pay.
If you are not the spouse, civil partner or partner of the deceased tenant and you are a member of the deceased tenant’s family, and you meet the criteria of our discretionary succession procedure you will be asked to sign a new tenancy agreement.
Q. If I succeed to the tenancy, can I stay in the property permanently?
When a person is eligible to succeed to a tenancy, we will always review whether the type and size of accommodation is suitable to the needs of the successor. If the property was designed or adapted for a person with particular needs and the successor doesn’t require this type of accommodation, we’ll ask them to move to something more suitable.
Q. What happens to someone who lives at the property and can’t succeed?
If someone lives in one of our properties with a tenant who has died and they are not eligible to succeed, they can ask us about having their own tenancy. We may be able to use our discretion to give a person, in this situation, a new tenancy. This is covered by our discretionary succession procedure. Any decision we make will be based on an assessment of their housing need. If we are not able to help, we will provide them with our reasons and give advice about moving out and finding somewhere else to live.
If you need further information about succession or what to do if a tenant dies, contact us on 0300 123 5522 or email 0300 123 5522.
We are committed to providing equal access to information. If you would like this information in another format, please phone us on 0300 123 5522.