Death of a tenant

Notifying us

We know that it can be extremely difficult to deal with practicalities following the death of a loved one. We can help you and give advice on what needs to be done when a property has to be returned to Westminster City Council.

We would be grateful if you could tells us the name and contact details for the deceased’s next of kin and the name and details of any other person who is responsible for dealing with their affairs.

Before the keys are returned to Westminster City Council those responsible for dealing with the deceased’s affairs need to:

  • move the deceased’s belongings from the property
  • redirect their post
  • read the gas and electricity meters and forward final readings to the appropriate companies
  • close all of the windows and lock all of the doors
  • notify the council’s housing benefit and council tax departments.

If you are in any way unsure how to proceed then please contact us for assistance.

Succeeding a tenancy

In some cases the tenancy may be able to be passed on to another person. If you have been living in a property with a partner or a family member who was a secure tenant but has died then you may be able to take on their tenancy. This is called succession; only one succession is permitted for each property meaning that it is not possible to succeed into a property where the deceased tenant had already succeeded into it.

There are some legal requirements that need to be met: 

  • the deceased’s tenancy must have begun before 1 April 2012
  • if a sole tenant dies, a married partner or registered civil partner can succeed to the tenancy and can stay in the same property
  • if you are a non-married partner, same sex couple living together as civil partners or another family member, then you can succeed to the tenancy if you can prove you have lived there for the 12 months before the death of the tenant. However, you will need to move if the property is larger than you reasonably need.

If your tenancy started after 1 April 2012 then the same rules apply as above, except family members whose relationships are not listed above are not allowed to succeed to a tenancy.

The council allows some additional family members to succeed to a tenancy in limited circumstances. Please check the council’s tenancy policy (opens new window) for the current rules on discretionary succession.