By virtue of sections 87 and 88 of the Housing Act 1985, an individual only has a right to succeed to a secure periodic local authority tenancy if the deceased tenant had not themselves succeeded to the tenancy and they are either the spouse/civil partner of the deceased tenant or they are a family member who has been residing in the property as their principal home for at least 12 months ending on the date that the tenant died.
The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister published in November 2002 ‘Allocation of Accommodation—Code of Guidance for Local Housing Authorities' which gives guidance on when it may be appropriate to grant a new tenancy to those members of the household who have been living with the deceased tenant but who do not have the legal right to succeed. This states that:
“Where a tenant dies and another household member (who does not have succession rights to the tenancy) has:
(a) been living with the tenant for the year prior to the tenant's death; or
(b) been providing care for the tenant; or
(c) accepted responsibility for the tenant's dependants and needs to live with them in order to do so,
housing authorities should consider granting a tenancy to the remaining person or persons, either in the same home or in suitable alternative accommodation, provided the allocation has no adverse implications for the good use of the housing stock and has sufficient priority under the allocation scheme. In the case of (a) and (b), the accommodation in question must be the principal or only residence of the survivor at the time the tenant dies.”