Regulated Tenancy - Succession by brother

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  • Regulated Tenancy - Succession by brother

    My tenant recently died but her brother continues to live at the property and pay the rent. I now want to establish a tenancy agreement with the brother and agree a revised rent.

    Both sister and brother were/are in their 80's and have lived at the property all their life. Their parents rented the property before them! The rent was registered over 2 years ago in the name of the sister (now deceased).

    The sister (now deceased) was considered as a regulated tenant under the 1977 Rent Act. As I read the law of succession it allows the brother to succeed to the tenancy, under and assured tenancy.

    My questions are:

    1) With the death of my tenant I believe that the previously registered rent agreement has ceased. Am I correct?

    2) Can I establish an AST with the brother?

    3) Given the long history of this tenancy have any of you got any other words of wisdom for me as a new landlord?

  • #2
    1. Yes, the rent ceases to be registered by the rent officer, but a rent proposed under an assured tenancy, or AST can be referred to the Rent Assessment Committee.

    2. NO, you cannot convert a right of succession to a Rent Act tenancy to an AST - it becomes an Assured Tenancy at a market rent UNLESS the tenant is stupid enough to sign documents agreeing to an AST - and on an 80 year old, you might be regarded as "tricking" the guy and any AST you created might be set aside by the courts.

    3. No, you are stuck with the arrangement - be thankful that there can only be one succession to a Rent Act tenancy and that when this brother leaves either voluntarily or feet first, you will have vacant possession to either sell or relet on an AST.


    • #3
      Not totally sure here, but might it be the case that the brother is also still a regulated tenant? Could both brother and sister be deemed to have succeeded the original tenancy jointly from the parents. Bear in mind they both have lived at the property all their lives. I'm not sure that just because the rent officer registered the rent in the name of the sister that this would preclude that she alone inherited the tenancy. I think it could be a matter for the courts to decide. Bear in mind that you cannot reduce the rights of a regulated tenant. And if the tenant agreed an assured tenancy, which was subsequently disputed either by him or a relative the damages would be substantial if it were sold as such, ie the increase in the value of the property without the regulated tenancy (up to 50% of the value of the property).

      At the time of the first succession were any other arrangements or agreements made then? If there were a dispute the rent officer would automatically step aside and leave it to the courts.

      I think specialist legal advice is required for both parties here and more information re the original succession, before a definitive opinion is made. As David wisely said the gentleman is old and any arrangement made without him having taken independent advice could be looked upom as coercive in nature if disputed at a later date.


      • #4
        I thought that the second sucession did reduce the regulated tenancy to an assured tenancy. In essence I understand that the only real change in the tenancy is that you can increase the rent to a market rent rather than the peppercorn you've been enjoying over the last 40 years. You must ensure that when you first go to tackle this point that you make it very clear in writing that you will also be reviewing the rent on an annual basis. The tenant, should they not agree with your new rent offer do have the option to go to a rent assessment committee but they will only ensure that the rent IS a fair market rent for a flat/house in a particular area.This is of course assuming that the brother and sister don't jointly enjoy the protection of rent act tenacy.

        Other input from posters/members would be useful as this is a very dim light at the end of a potentially long rent act tunnel.


        • #5
          "My tenant recently died but her brother continues to live at the property
          Both sister and brother were/are in their 80's and have lived at the property all their life
          The sister (now deceased) was considered as a regulated tenant under the 1977 Rent Act"

          My point was just that there may not actually be a 2nd succession, a judge may rule that both brother and sister were considered as regulated tenants all the time, and more information would be needed to establish how the tenancy was transferred from the parents...or maybe all 4, parents and brother and sister being regulated tenants all along.

          Think about their age and when the parents may have died, possibly well before assured tenancies even existed.


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