Coping with the death of a friend or relative is never easy and trying to deal with their affairs can be complicated and upsetting. If you want to end the tenancy of a friend or relative who has died and you are unsure of what to do in these circumstances please contact a housing officer who will advise you on how to proceed.
If you have been living with the tenant for some time you may have a right to take over the tenancy if you were the husband or wife of the tenant, living with the tenant, or a close relative of the tenant. Please read the section below for more details on ‘Succession of tenancy. Please contact a housing officer who will advise you on how to proceed.
Succession of tenancy
In the sad event of the death of a tenant, the conditions for granting a succession tenancy or a new tenancy are described here. Following the death of a tenant, a succession of tenancy may occur either because of a statutory right to succeed as set out in the Housing (NI) Order 1983, or because of specific circumstances set out within the ‘Common Selection Scheme’. The following categories of people can succeed on legal grounds:
- The husband, wife or civil partner of the deceased
- A member of the deceased’s family if that person was residing with the deceased throughout a period of 12 months ending on the date of the deceased’s death and the family member occupied the dwelling as his or her only, or principal home
A person is also to be treated as a member of the family, for the purposes of legal entitlement to succeed if he or she and the deceased have been living together in a relationship as husband and wife. The guidance outlined regarding 12 month occupation as a principal home applies.
Circumstances for a new tenancy
A legal succession cannot occur if the deceased tenant was a legal successor.
Where there is no legal entitlement to succeed and where there has been no previous succession, a new tenancy should only be granted in the following circumstances:
- If the person wishing to be the successor was the partner of the deceased and they had been living together for a year
- If the person wishing to be the successor was living with the deceased in order to provide care for him or her and in order to do so, the carer has sold a dwelling or given up a tenancy or licence
- If the person wishing to be the successor has accepted responsibility for the deceased’s dependants
Where the deceased tenant was a legal successor, a further succession can only occur where the deceased was the spouse/parent/brother or sister of the potential successor. With the exception of spouses, the potential successor must have been resident at the property for 12 months.