Can you inherit a housing association tenancy?

The right to inherit a tenancy when the tenant dies is called succession.

A housing association tenancy can only be inherited once, unless the tenancy agreement says there can be more than one succession.

Check with the landlord.

Check the tenancy type

Your right to inherit a housing association tenancy depends on the type of tenancy and your relationship with the person who died.

Most housing association tenants have an assured tenancy.

Ask at your housing office if you do not know what type of tenancy it is.

Evidence to inherit the tenancy

The housing association may ask you to show evidence of:

  • who you are

  • your relationship with the tenant

  • how long you lived with them

The tenancy you inherit will be the same type as the tenant who died.

You pay the same rent and have the same rights they did.

Joint housing association tenants

You automatically become the sole tenant if you have a joint housing association tenancy and the other joint tenant dies.

Your right to succeed takes priority over anyone else.

This applies whatever type of housing association tenancy you have.

Married and unmarried partners

You can inherit an assured tenancy if the tenant who died was your husband, wife, civil partner or partner, as long as it was your home when they died.

Relatives of an assured tenant

Family members of an assured tenant can inherit the tenancy only if the tenancy agreement says this can happen.

Many housing association assured tenancy agreements let a relative succeed when the tenant had no spouse, civil partner or partner living with them.

The relative normally must have lived with the tenant for at least 12 months before they died.

Relatives who could inherit the tenancy are the tenant's:

  • parent or grandparent

  • child or grandchild

  • brother or sister

  • uncle, aunt, nephew or niece

Step relations, half relations and in laws are usually included, but foster children are not.

Check the tenancy agreement to be sure you can inherit the tenancy.

Succession rights for an assured shorthold tenancy

Some housing association tenants have an assured shorthold tenancy. Who can inherit depends on the type and length of the tenancy.

Periodic tenancy

A periodic assured shorthold tenancy is where:

  • a fixed term tenancy has expired and not been renewed

  • the tenancy agreement was never for a fixed period

You can inherit the tenancy if you were the husband, wife, civil partner or partner of the person who died, as long as it was your home at the time of their death.

Other relatives can only inherit the tenancy if the tenancy agreement allows this.

Fixed term tenancy for less than 2 years

Unless you are a joint tenant you have no right to inherit an assured shorthold tenancy with a fixed term of less than 2 years.

Fixed term tenancy of 2 years or more

If the assured shorthold tenancy is granted for a fixed term of 2 years or more, you can inherit it if you were the husband, wife, civil partner or partner of the tenant. It must have been your home at the time they died.

Other relatives can inherit the tenancy if the tenancy agreement says this can happen.

Succession rights for a pre 1989 secure tenancy

If the tenant who died was a tenant of the housing association since before 15 January 1989, they probably had a secure tenancy.

The rules for who can inherit a secure housing association tenancy are the same as the rules for a secure council tenancy.

If you do not have the right to inherit

If you have been living in the home of a housing association tenant who has died, you have the right to stay in the property until the tenancy is ended properly.

The tenancy can be ended by the landlord or by the person looking after the affairs of the tenant who died.

Once the tenancy has been ended properly, you have no right to remain.

You may be able to get help from the council if you will be homeless.

Get advice about inheriting a tenancy

If you are at risk of losing your home, you could get legal aid. Contact Civil Legal Advice for initial legal help.

Last updated: 14 July 2022

If you need to talk to someone, we'll do our best to help

Get help