Succession is when a tenancy is passed to another household member in the event of the death of the main tenant. There are limitations on the household members who can succeed.
Who can qualify for a succession?
Tenancy succession is only applicable to customers with a Scottish Secure Tenancy or a Short Scottish Secure Tenancy.
You must have informed Trust of you living at the property as your sole and principal home, and a qualifying period of 12 months or more must have passed. The qualifying period cannot begin unless we have been notified that the individual is living at the property as their sole and principal home.
Legislation sets out 3 levels of priority for succession:
A person qualifies as having first priority to succeed to a tenancy if they are:
- the tenant’s spouse, civil partner or co-habitee if the house was their only or principal home at the time of death; or
- a joint tenant, if the house was their only or principal home at the time of the tenant’s death.
In the case of a co-habitee, they must also have occupied the house as their only or principal home for at least 12 months immediately prior to the tenant’s death.
If more than one person qualifies for the tenancy under Level One, they must decide among themselves who should get the tenancy. If they cannot agree, within 4 weeks of the death of the tenant or of the date of notification by us of the right to succeed to the tenant, Trust will decide.
A person has second priority to succeed to a tenancy if they are a member of the tenant’s family, as long as:
- they are aged at least 16 years at the date of the tenant’s death; and
- the property was their only or principal home at the time of the tenant’s death and had been so for a period of not less than 12 months prior to the date of death of the tenant.
If more than one person qualifies for the tenancy under Level Two, they must decide among themselves who should get the tenancy. If they cannot agree, Trust will decide.
If no-one qualifies at Level One or Level Two, or a qualified person does not want the tenancy, it will be inherited by a carer as long as:
- they were aged at least 16 at the date of the tenant’ death
- the property was their only or principal home at the time of the tenant’s death and had been so for a period of not less than 12 months prior to the date of death of the tenant
- they gave up another only or principal home before the death of the tenant
- they are providing, or have provided, care for the tenant or a member of the tenant’s family
If more than one person qualifies for the tenancy under Level Three, they must decide among themselves who should get the tenancy. If they cannot agree, Trust will decide.
How many times can a tenancy be succeeded?
Under the provisions of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001, on the death of a Scottish Secure Tenant the tenancy can only be succeeded to twice.
Where a tenancy has already been succeeded to twice, on the death of the tenant who inherited the tenancy through a second succession the tenancy will normally be terminated, unless there is a surviving joint tenant who continues to use the property as their only or principal home.
When would a succession be declined?
Should a qualifying person with succession rights decline the tenancy, they must give Trust written notice within four weeks of the tenant’s death or from receiving notification of their right to succeed, as applicable.
A qualifying person who has declined the tenancy must vacate the property within three months of their written notice to Trust.
They will be liable for rental charges due only for their actual period of occupation after the tenant’s death.
Special rules for specially adapted properties
Schedule 3, section 5 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 sets out the provisions that apply where a property has been specially designed or substantially adapted for occupation by a person who has specific needs.
We considers that all of our rented accommodation for older people (that is amenity, sheltered, very sheltered, supported, housing with care and retirement housing), as well as any other specially designed or adapted property that falls out with the category of standard general needs stock, will fall within the criteria of special needs housing as described in the Act.
Qualifying for a succession in a specially adapted property
Where a property falls into the category of specially adapted housing (Trust considers that all of its rented accommodation for older people to be specially adapted), the succession rights are as follows:
A person qualifying at Level One has the automatic right to succeed to the tenancy, regardless of whether they themselves have the specific needs which are provided for by that accommodation.
Any other persons who would normally qualify at Level Two or Level Three will only be eligible to succeed to the tenancy if they have the special needs requiring accommodation of that kind.
In order to qualify for a second succession, all persons in any of the Levels One, Two or Three must have the special needs requiring accommodation of the kind provided by that property.
In the case of both first and second successions, if there is no person who meets the criteria to qualify to succeed, Trust has the right to terminate the tenancy.
Where a tenancy is terminated under these special rules and there is a person who, but for these rules, would otherwise have qualified for succession, Trust must make suitable alternative accommodation available to them.