Succession of a private residential tenancy

The rights to succeed a private residential tenancy are set out in statute.

These rights are similar to those relating to Scottish secure tenancies. However, in all cases the tenancy can only be succeeded once.  

This content applies to Scotland

Termination of tenancy on death

Where there is a sole tenant and no one is entitled to succeed, the tenancy ends. [1]

Joint tenants

Where the person who has died was a joint tenant, the deceased person’s interest in the tenancy ends. [2] The tenancy passes to the remaining tenant(s).

Partners, family members or carers of the deceased are not entitled to succeed in this case.

Partner - married or in civil partnership

If there are no joint tenants and the tenancy has not previously been succeeded, where the tenant was married or in a civil partnership the surviving spouse is entitled to succeed, providing: [3]

  • The property was the surviving spouse’s only or principal home at the time of the tenant’s death, and

  • The landlord had been notified in writing that the spouse was living in the property as their only or principal home

Partner - not married or in a civil partnership

If there are no joint tenants and the tenancy has not previously been succeeded, where the tenant was cohabiting and not married or in a civil partnership, the surviving partner is entitled to succeed, providing: [4]

  • The property was the surviving partner’s only or principal home at the time of the tenant’s death, and

  • The property was the partner’s only or principal home for a continuous period of 12 months ending on the tenant’s death, and

  • The landlord had been notified in writing that the partner was living in the property as their only or principal home

Other family members

If there are no joint tenants and the tenancy has not previously been succeeded, where there is no surviving partner a family member is entitled to succeed the tenancy if: [5]

  • They are at least 16 years of age at the time of the tenant’s death, and

  • They were occupying the tenancy as their only or principal home at the time of the tenant’s death,

  • The property was their only or principal home for a continuous period of 12 months ending on the tenant’s death

  • When determining whether they have been occupying the home for the required period no account is taken of any period prior to the landlord having been notified in writing that they were living in the property.

Family members are defined as being related in the following ways to either the tenant or the tenant’s partner or spouse: [6]

  • Grandparent

  • Parent

  • Child

  • Grandchild

  • Brother

  • Sister

Any person married or in a civil partnership with one of these family members above.

For the purposes of this:

  • Relationships of half-blood are considered as whole blood.

  • A step child is considered to be a child

  • A child who has been treated as a person’s child is to be regarded as a child.

Carers

If there are no joint tenants and the tenancy has not previously been succeeded, where there is no surviving partner or family member, a resident carer is entitled to succeed the tenancy if: [7]

  • They are at least 16 years of age at the time of the tenant’s death, and

  • They were occupying the tenancy as their only or principal home at the time of the tenant’s death, and

  • The property was their only or principal home for a continuous period of 12 months ending with the tenant’s death, and

  • The carer had a previous principal home which was given up.

  • When determining whether they have been occupying the home for the required period no account is taken of any period prior to the landlord having been notified in writing that they were living in the property.

Last updated: 12 August 2020

Footnotes

  • [1]

    s.65 Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016

  • [2]

    s.66 Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016

  • [3]

    s.67 Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016

  • [4]

    s.67 Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016

  • [5]

    s.68 Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016

  • [6]

    s.70 Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016

  • [7]

    s.69 Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016