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Staying in your council home when someone has died

On the death of a tenant of a Scottish Secure tenancy, another member of the household may take over the tenancy. This is called a succession.

Who can succeed a tenancy?

Only certain people can succeed to a Scottish secure tenancy. These are grouped into 3 levels of priority. If no-one in 1st priority wants to take over the tenancy, we will consider someone in the 2nd and finally the 3rd priorities.

1st priority includes:

  • the tenant's husband, wife or civil partner who was living with the tenant when they died
  • the tenant's partner (for the tenant's partner to succeed, the house must have been their only or main home for 12 months before the tenant died)
  • the surviving joint tenant

2nd priority includes any member of the tenant's family who:

  • is 16 or over
  • was living in the home as their only or main home 12 months before the tenant died

3rd priority includes a carer who is providing, or has provided, care for the tenant or a member of the tenant's family. The carer must:

  • be 16 or over
  • have been living with the tenant 12 months before the tenant died

If no-one qualifies to succeed, we will look at the circumstances before making a decision.

You can't put in your will who you want to take over a tenancy when you die. By law, if more than 1 person qualifies for the tenancy they have 4 weeks from the day you die to decide who will take over. If they can't come to a decision, we will make the decision.

How to apply

To apply to succeed a tenancy, complete and return a Succession Information Form (PDF, 115kb). These can be collected from a Housing Office.

What happens next?

We will write back to you within 20 working days, telling you whether you can succeed.

If you qualify to succeed to a tenancy, there is no need to sign a new tenancy agreement. We will give you a copy of the existing tenancy agreement. You will have to fill in the succession consent form.

The transfer of the tenancy will not be legal until we have agreed to it and we and you have signed the papers. 


A tenancy can only be handed on twice on the basis of succession and if a house or flat has been designed or considerably adapted for someone with special needs, in which case it can be handed on to a joint tenant or partner.

In the event that there isn't a joint tenant or partner to succeed the tenancy, only a member of the tenant's family (or carer) with special needs can take over the tenancy. They do however have the right to be offered another home which meets their housing needs. 

Once the tenancy is handed over

If the previous tenant was in arrears with rent payments, the succeeding tenant is not responsible for any rent the previous tenant owed.

Contact Housing

Get in touch with your local housing office


01294 310000


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