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What happens to a joint council tenancy when someone dies

A joint tenancy with a council or housing association always passes to the other tenant.

The legal term for this is 'survivorship'.

If it is not a joint tenancy, check your rights if the tenant has died.

If you're a joint tenant who lives there

The tenancy continues in your name. You should:

If you live there but you're not a tenant

You can continue to live there with the tenant's permission.

You can get homeless help if you're asked to leave.

If you're a joint tenant who has moved out

You have to live in the tenancy as your main home to keep it in the longer term.

You can move back in if you want to. For example, if your children live there and you want to keep it as the family home.

If you decide you do not want the tenancy you can either:

  • give notice to end the tenancy

  • agree a tenancy end date with the landlord

The agreement to end a tenancy is called a surrender. You might have to sign a form or a 'deed of surrender'.

This ends your responsibility for rent. But it also means that anyone living there will have to leave so discuss this with them first.

Can the landlord end the tenancy?

The council or housing association can send a 'notice to quit' to the property if you live somewhere else.

If you want to move back in, you must do this before the notice period ends.

Let the council or housing association know you've moved back in.

Register your change of address with your doctor and the DWP.

Can you pass the tenancy on to someone else?

When a joint tenancy passes to you it counts as a succession.

You can only pass the tenancy on to a partner or family member when you die if:

  • you live there as your main home

  • the tenancy agreement says there can be another succession

Read about the succession rules for council and housing association tenants.

Last updated: 14 March 2024

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