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Succession and tenancy changes

The table below shows the smallest household size allowed to remain in the property following a succession, a new tenancy upon death of the householder, assignment or a mutual exchange. 

Property typeSmallest household size allowed
BedsitSingle person
One bedroom house, flat or maisonetteSingle person
Two bedroom house, flat or maisonetteSingle person
Three bedroom house, flat or maisonette

Household of two people 

Single person subject to criteria * (see below)

Four bedroom house or maisonetteFamily with three children or household of five people
Five bedroom house or maisonetteFamily with five children or household of seven people


*Single Persons eligibility for a three-bedroom property: 

  • A single person would not normally be permitted to exchange into a 3 bedroom property  (see section 16) 
  • A single person with a right to succession on the death of the tenant would be permitted  to occupy a 3 bedroom property (see below)
  • A single person without the right to succession but meeting one of the criteria in section 'What if you do not qualify for a succession by law' may be granted a new tenancy of a  three-bedroom property in which they had been living. However this would not apply to a three-bedroom 'parlour' type house, when alternative accommodation would be offered instead.  


Succession is where you take over a tenancy when the tenant dies. The rules around  succession are written in law and clearly state when you are entitled to "succeed" a tenancy. Where reference is made to "partners", this includes same sex partnerships. 

When can a person succeed a tenancy?

A succession will only be allowed once, i.e. the tenancy has not previously been succeeded to. The successor must be the tenant's husband, wife, partner or civil partner or another member of  the tenant's family. If the person wishing to succeed is not the husband, wife, partner or civil  partner, they must have lived with the tenant continuously for the twelve months before their death. 

Joint tenancies will not be granted on succession. 

If you have the right to succeed the tenancy of a property, which is larger than you need or was  built or adapted for a person with medical needs, or there is an age criteria and you do not  qualify; we may require you to move to another suitable home by awarding you a "direct let". If  you are asked to move to a more suitable property, you will be given notice no sooner than six months, but no later than 12 months after the death of the tenant. 

If you succeed to the tenancy of a larger property than you need, and would prefer to move to a property with fewer bedrooms you may be given a "direct let" under "Best use of Stock".

How will a decision be made if more than one person wishes to succeed? 

The tenant's husband, wife, partner or civil partner will be given priority over any other member of the family. 

In the absence of a husband, wife, partner or civil partner the member of the family who has  continuously lived in the home the longest (in excess of 12 months) will succeed to the tenancy. 

If the household decide that a different member of the family (who has lived continuously within the home for at least 12 months) should succeed the tenancy, this will be allowed. 

What if you do not qualify for a succession by law?

The law states that there is only one legal right to succeed to a tenancy. Therefore if someone  has already succeeded to the tenancy a further succession would not be granted. However, the Council may grant you a new tenancy under certain circumstances as follows: 

  • You are a partner or relative who has lived in the property for at least the last two years of the tenant's life. 
  • You have accepted responsibility for the tenant's dependants. 
  • You have lived with the tenant for at least the last ten years of the tenant's life and were not paying money to the tenant as rent. 

In circumstances where you qualify for a new tenancy (as outlined above) but the property is too large for you and you would prefer to move to a smaller home we will offer you an alternative  suitable property. 

Properties set-aside for older people or people with mobility needs, four bedroom homes and 3 bed parlour type homes. 

If the property is larger than you need or was built or adapted for a person with medical needs or has an age criteria, and you do not qualify for this property type you may be made a reasonable offer by way of a 'direct let' to enable you to move into another more suitable property. If you refuse re-housing a final offer will be made to you before legal action is taken to repossess the property. 


There are legal requirements relating to when you have the right to assign or sub-let your home. 

Assignment in general is prohibited however if you are a secure tenant and have not succeeded  to that tenancy you may apply to assign the tenancy to a member of your household. The person you wish to assign to must have lived with you for a continuous period of twelve months prior to assigning the tenancy.  

Assignment may be allowed in the following circumstances: 

  • Where the assignee could have succeeded to the tenancy if the tenant had died immediately before the assignment. 
  • Where the assignment is required in order to ensure that children are safeguarded under the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act. This is where the family home (or tenancy) has been awarded by the court to the parent taking sole responsibility for children. 
  • The current tenant is transferring for medical or disability reasons and the new home is not large enough for the potential assignee to live there with them; 
  • The tenant is transferring to somewhere to be cared for, such as a residential home and the potential assignee is not permitted to go; 
  • The tenant is going to live with a new partner and the partner's home is not large enough for the potential assignee to live there; or  
  • The tenant is moving to a different part of the country and the potential assignee has strong links with Gateshead, for example they work or study here. 

If the assignee would not qualify for the property because it is larger than they need or was built or adapted for a person with medical needs or has an age criteria which is not met for this property type they will be made one reasonable offer by way of a "direct let" to enable them to move into another more suitable property. 

The current tenant and the potential assignee must meet the requirements on debt, anti-social behaviour and condition of the home as set out at Section 8. 

Joint tenancies 

Joint tenancies will be granted if: 

  • You are married. 
  • You are living together as a couple (cohabiting). (Including same sex couples). 
  • Two or more people have originally joined the Housing Register together.

Sole to joint tenancies 

As a sole tenant you can ask for a new joint tenancy to be granted if both parties are eligible to  

be on the Housing Register, are not subject to exclusion (see Section 8) and the other person: 

  • Is your husband or wife or civil partner; or 
  • has lived with you as a partner (cohabited) for the last 12 months; or  
  • would be offered that property on their application.