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Succession: Introductory tenancies

This content applies to England

Succession rights to introductory tenancies as governed by the Housing Act 1996.

Local authorities can choose to grant introductory tenancies to all new tenants, or to new tenants in a designated area. An introductory tenancy initially lasts for 12 months, and there is a relatively straightforward procedure for the authority to follow if they want to evict the tenant during this time. Provided the tenant does not breach the terms of the tenancy agreement, the tenancy becomes secure at the end of the 12-month period.

The deceased tenant's spouse or civil partner, or a member of the deceased tenant's family (which includes a co-habitee) can succeed to an introductory tenancy. A successor must have been occupying the dwelling as their 'only or principal home' at the time of the tenant's death.  For a co-habitee or a member of the tenant's family to succeed s/he must also have resided with the tenant for a period of 12 months, ending with the tenant's death. There cannot be more than one succession to an introductory tenancy unless the tenancy agreement allows for it.[1]

A member of the tenant's family means a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew or niece. Step-relations, half-relations, and relations by marriage are included in the definition.[2] Cohabitees in this context means a couple who are living together as if married or as if civil partners, whether a 'couple' meet this criteria will depend upon the facts in each individual situation.[3]

For more information about introductory tenancies see the section on Introductory tenancies.

[1] ss.131-133 Housing Act 1996.

[2] s.140 Housing Act 1996.

[3] Amicus Horizon Ltd v (1)Estate of Mabbott (2)Brand [2012] EWCA Civ 895.

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