Council and housing association tenancies: when the tenant dies

You may be able to take over a council or housing association tenancy if you were living with the tenant who died.

Find out if you can inherit a:

If you are a joint tenant the tenancy continues, but in your name only.

Contact the council or housing association to tell them of the tenant's death.

GOV.UK explains what to do after someone dies

If you do not inherit the tenancy

You have the right to stay in the property until the tenancy is ended properly if:

  • you were living in the home of the council or housing association tenant who died

  • no one inherits the tenancy

The rent must still be paid but you are not responsible. The landlord must claim the rent from the estate of the tenant who died.

After the tenancy is ended

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.

If you stay, you are a trespasser. The landlord can get a court order to evict you and to claim money from you for the time you've spent in the property.

The landlord may agree to you paying use and occupation charges while you remain in the property. 

You could get housing benefit or universal credit to help cover these costs.

You can ask the council for help if you will be homeless

How the tenancy can be ended

A tenancy does not automatically end when a tenant dies and no one has inherited it.

The landlord or the person looking after the affairs of the tenant who died can end the tenancy.

By the landlord

A landlord must serve a minimum of 4 weeks' notice on those looking after the deceased tenant's affairs or on the Public Trustee.

By the person looking after the affairs of the tenant

If you are looking after the affairs of the tenant who died you must:

  • serve a minimum of 4 weeks' notice on the landlord, or

  • agree a surrender of the tenancy with the landlord

An agreed surrender will end the tenancy straightaway.

The landlord might not accept a surrender if you are still living in the property.

If you want to leave, check if the tenancy can be terminated by mutual consent between the landlord and the person looking after the affairs of the tenant who died.


Last updated: 14 July 2022

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