LEADING IN HOUSING, SUPPORT AND RIGHTS FOR PEOPLE WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES
Two people standing in the doorway of their home with a welcome sign on the wall

Succession and tenancy 

This page has technical information about a disabled person's right to stay in a property - rented or owned - as their family gets older.  About half of all people with a learning disability are supported by relatives and live in the family home. The question of what rights to continue living at home the disabled person has arises as the family get older.

In some circumstances the best long-term option may be to continue living in the family home with whatever care and support is necessary. If the parents (or other relatives) are themselves tenants, rights to succession may or may not make this possible.

How to access


One in four families live in rented housing. The ability to continue to live in the family home in the long-term depends largely on the nature of the landlord. Local authorities grant secure tenancies, RSLs assured tenancies and private landlords assured shorthold tenancies although this is a simplification.

If the landlord is a:

  • Local authority then the son or daughter has a right to succeed to the tenancy provided there has not already been a succession. A spouse or a partner who remains as a surviving joint tenant is taken as being a successor to the tenancy, so the history of the tenancy needs to be checked
  • RSL there is no right to succession however guidance from the regulator in the past has said that if the property is a relativeís permanent home, in which they have lived in for at least a year and they have a housing need they should normally be granted a new tenancy.
  • Private landlord who has granted an assured shorthold there is no right to succession and no guidance or regulation which says a tenancy should continue.
Note that in all cases there is nothing to prevent the landlord granting a new tenancy to the son/ daughter or other relative. This is least likely where a private sector landlord is involved. Where the property is a larger family home the landlord may offer (or seek to move the disabled person) alternative accommodation that is smaller and/or more suitable. One way to try and plan with confidence is for the son/ daughter to become a joint tenant with their parent (or other relative).

Pros and cons


Pros - there may be many advantages of continuing to live in a family home including:


  • Continuing to live in a familiar property and neighbourhood
  • Possible support from neighbours
  • Avoid trauma of a move at the time of a parents/ relatives death or illness
  • Property may be adapted and offer more space than other alternatives.

Cons - staying in the family home is not however always the best choice:

  • Son/ daughter simply may not like it or want to remain without parents
  • May be excessively large, expensive to heat, difficult to look after
  • Unsuitable for some reason and too difficult or expensive to adapt well
  • Adult Social Care and/ or Supporting People may conclude it is too difficult or expensive to provide care and support at home.

How the money works


On taking up the tenancy, whether through succession or a new tenancy the tenant will become liable for the rent and if eligible should get help from Housing Benefit to pay the rent and any eligible service charges.Other issues
The key point is the importance of planning ahead and considering if continuing to live in the family home is a good option and if so how any care and support will be provided.
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Learning Disability England
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Learning Disability England
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