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Succession: Joint occupation

This content applies to England

Succession rights of joint occupiers.

In the case of joint tenancies, if one of the tenants dies, the tenancy continues in the name the remaining tenant(s) under the right of survivorship, regardless of the type of tenancy,[1] with the sole exception of a statutory tenancy under the Rent Act 1977, where if the surviving tenant does not reside in the premises the tenancy will cease to exist on the death of the other joint tenant (for more information on Rent Act tenancies see the page on What is a regulated tenancy).

Where it is a condition of a tenancy that the tenant must occupy the property as their 'only or principal home', ie with a secure or assured tenancy, and the surviving tenant (or one of the surviving joint tenants) does not occupy the property as her/his only or principal home at the time of the other joint tenant’s death, s/he will not meet the ‘tenant condition’ and the tenancy will cease to be secure/assured. However, s/he can revive her/his secure/assured status by meeting the ‘tenant condition’ at any time before the expiry of a notice to quit.[2]

In the case of joint licences, if one of the licensees dies, whether the licence continues or terminates, and whether the remaining licensee has any right to remain, will depend on the terms of the licence.

[1] Hickin v Solihull MBC [2012] UKSC 39; Cunningham-Reid v Public Trustee [1944] KB 602.

[2] Islington LBC v Boyle [2011] EWCA Civ 1450.

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