Succession - Q&As

Samantha Robinson
Samantha Robinson

Published: April 19th, 2023

7 min read

Following the recent webinar on succession Samantha Robinson answers some of the questions that were asked during the session -

A son and his wife has a right to succeed to a bungalow following the fathers death but it is an adapted property and the son doesn't have any disability needs - how should this progress?

Answer - only the son will have the right to succeed, not him and his wife, she is not a family member. If son has a statutory right to succeed then this happened by operation if law when his father died. It has already happened and it doesn't matter if the property is adapted. If the son is entitled to contractually succeed then unless the tenancy also specifies that you can move him to suitable alternative accommodation, then he is entitled to succeed to the tenancy of the Property. If this is the case given that the Property is adapted and the son and his wife have no need for those adaptations you could write to them to state that although son is entitled to contractually succeed you would like them to consider a tenancy at another address so that you can give the property to a person in need of the adaptations. It is up to the son whether he accepts this. However, once he is the tenant you could consider issuing possession proceedings against him on the basis of Ground 9 of the Housing Act 1988 - Suitable alternative accommodation must be available for the tenant, or will be available, when the court order takes effect. If the court is satisfied that the alternative accommodation is suitable it must also consider whether it is reasonable to award possession. As the notice period is two months, this should be served as early as is possible once he has a tenancy. This is a very tricky ground for possession so I would recommend that you get proper legal advice about your specific case.

Would a successor take on any arrears of the deceased?

Answer- No, the successor would either be liable for rent from the date of death of the former tenant if statutory succession takes place or from the date they sign a new tenancy for the property if they are entitled to contractually succeed. They are not liable for the deceased tenants arrears, the tenant's estate is.

Do we need to serve NTQ on OPT even if family are dealing with the estate?

Answer- Yes unless a family member has applied for probate (if there is a Will) or letters of administration (if there is no Will) and is officially appointed and dealing with the deceased tenant's estate.

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