Inheriting a local authority tenancy


If you have been living with a tenant in their local authority home, you may be able to take over the tenancy if the tenant dies. The rules about inheriting a tenancy are decided by each local authority, and the rules can be different from one local authority to another.

General rules for inheriting a local authority tenancy

Each local authority sets its own rules for how someone can inherit a local authority tenancy.

These rules may include that:

  • You have lived in the home for a minimum number of years immediately prior to the tenant’s death and have declared this to the local authority
  • You have been assessed by the local authority for rent purposes for a minimum number of years immediately prior to the tenant’s death
  • You have a housing need and no alternative suitable accommodation
  • The home is suitable for your needs

The number of years that you must have lived in the home may differ depending on whether you are an immediate family member of the tenant, or someone else who has lived there. So, for example, a son or daughter of the tenant may need to have lived in the home for 2 years prior to the tenant’s death in order to inherit the tenancy, but someone else may need to have lived there for at least 5 years.

You may also need to meet some general criteria set out by your local authority. For example, you may need to show that you have not broken your local authority’s anti-social behaviour policy or a tenancy agreement.

In most cases, you will not be able to inherit the tenancy if the home is either:

  • Adapted for someone with a disability
  • Designated for older people
The exact rules for succession to tenancy are outlined in your local authority's housing allocations scheme, which you can find on your local authority’s website.

How to apply to inherit a local authority tenancy

You should contact your local authority for more information about inheriting a tenancy, as well as for details on how to apply.

Housing associations have their own policies on inheriting a tenancy. If you are a housing association tenant, contact your housing association for information on inheriting a tenancy.

Page edited: 17 August 2021