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Your housing rights if you care for someone you live with

If you look after a family member or friend who's ill, elderly or disabled, you could get support as a carer.

If you move into their home, your rights will depend on if they own or rent the home and if you pay any rent.

If you’re away from home to care for someone temporarily

If you rent your home, tell your landlord that you’ll be away. This is so that they do not think you’ve abandoned your tenancy.

If you get Universal Credit to help pay your rent, you can usually keep getting this for up to 6 months while you’re away.

If you get Housing Benefit, you could keep getting this for up to 13 weeks while you're away. This can be up to 52 weeks if you’re providing care that has been approved by a doctor.

If you decide to give up your home to care for someone, check what your rights will be. Make sure to end your tenancy correctly if you rent your home.

Moving in to care for someone in their home

If the person you care for rents their home, ask them to tell the landlord in writing that you’re moving in. This can help secure your right to stay in the home in future.

Your rights depend on your arrangements with the tenant.

If you pay rent to the person you care for

You’ll usually have common law tenancy rights, even if you do not have a tenancy agreement in writing.

Check your rights in a common law tenancy

If you do not pay any rent

You’ll be a non-tenant occupier. This gives you weaker rights than being a tenant, and you can be evicted quite easily.

If you’re being asked to leave, contact a Shelter Scotland adviser for advice on your rights.

Becoming a joint tenant

You'll have a stronger right to stay in the home if you become a joint tenant.

As a joint tenant, you'll both share the same rights and responsibilities. If one of you cannot pay their share of the rent, the landlord can ask the other to pay the full amount.

If the home is rented from a private landlord, you can ask to become a joint tenant straight away.

If the home is rented from a council or housing association, you can only become a joint tenant after you’ve lived in the home for 12 months.

If you become a joint tenant, you’ll share the same rights and responsibilities. If one of you cannot pay their share of the rent, the landlord can ask the other to pay the full amount.

Check your rights in a joint tenancy

If the person you care for dies

Your rights to stay in your home could be affected.

If the home was owned by the person you cared for, get legal advice as soon as possible to understand your rights.

Find a solicitor from the Law Society of Scotland

Check if you could get legal help for free or at a lower cost

If you live in a rented home

You may be able to take over the tenancy. This is called succession, or succeeding the tenancy.

You’ll usually have the right to succeed the tenancy if either:

  • you had a joint tenancy

  • the person you cared for was your spouse or civil partner

You can also succeed the tenancy if all of these apply:

If you’re in a different situation or you’re being pressured to leave your home, contact a Shelter Scotland adviser. They can help you understand your rights and work out your options.

Get help with bereavement

The Scottish Government has advice on organisations and websites that can help with:

Getting support as a carer

You can get a free carer’s assessment from the council. They’ll ask you about how your caring responsibilities affect your health, work, free time, and relationships.

Then they’ll recommend services and support that could help make things easier.

Find your council’s social services department on

You could get benefits and other financial support as a carer. To check what you’re entitled to:

For more information about your rights and support that you could get:

Last updated: 17 March 2023

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

Get advice if you're in England