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Right to buy after a council tenant dies

This content applies to England

The effect of the death of the tenant on the right to buy that property.

The rules concerning the right to buy are governed by the Housing Act 1985.

Qualifying period following a succession

Successors to secure tenancies can exercise the right to buy and count their own period of occupation before they succeeded to the tenancy for the purposes of calculating the minimum period for the exercise of the right, and the discount.[1] For more information see the page Right to buy scheme for more information.

Completing a right to buy transaction

Where a secure tenant dies during the right to buy procedure, a successor can require that the transaction is completed on the same terms (including the discount) as would have been available if the tenant had lived.[2] However, if no one qualifies to succeed, the right to buy usually ceases to exist as the tenancy is no longer be secure, even where the council has been guilty of delaying the transaction.[3]

Members of the tenant's family

If a member of the tenant's family was joined to the right to buy under the co-purchaser procedure,[4] and the tenant dies leaving the other applicant in occupation, that other applicant is deemed to be a secure tenant for the purpose of completing the right to buy transaction, provided that s/he remains in occupation. S/he can therefore require that the sale be completed, even if there has been a previous succession.[5]

[1] ss.119 and129 Housing Act 1985, Sch.4 Housing Act 1985.

[2] s.136(1) Housing Act 1985.

[3] Bradford MBC v McMahon [1994] 1 WLR 52.

[4] s.123 Housing Act 1985.

[5] Harrow LBC v Tonge (1992) 25 HLR 99.

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