If there has been a death in the household

Your housing rights might change if someone you live with dies. Having lived in your home for a long time doesn’t automatically give you the right to stay there.

The key issues that will affect your rights are:

  • whether your home is rented or owner-occupied
  • whether you have signed or been named in any legal documents relating to the property, such as an occupation contract, title deeds, or a will
  • whether you have succession rights or rights under the rules of intestacy (this will depend on how you are related to the person who died and where you were living at the time of their death).

If the owner dies

If you live with the owner of your home and they die, your rights will depend on whether your name is also on the title deeds and whether the person left a will or not. If there is no will, special rules of intestacy will apply. This situation can be complicated – you’ll probably need help from a solicitor, who will be able to check the title deeds for you, the terms of any will, how to find out if there is a will, and on the rules of intestacy.

If a contract-holder dies

If your home is rented and someone living with you dies, there are two main questions you have to ask to work out whether or not you can continue to stay there:

Phone an adviser

If you have a housing problem, call our expert housing advice helpline
08000 495 495

Email an adviser

If you have a non-urgent problem and would like to speak to an advisor
email us

Checking the will

If the person who owned your home dies, you need to check whether they left a will. This page explains how to find out whether there is a will and how it might affect your rights

Checking the name on the occupation contract

If you rent your home and someone in your household dies, your right to continue living there will depend on whose name the agreement with the landlord was in

Succession rights

An occupation contract does not automatically end when the contract-holder dies. Legally, an occupation contract counts as property and you may be able to take over a contract if you were living with the contract-holder who died.

Getting help after a death

Whatever your circumstance, losing someone close to you is a terrible experience to go through. There are specialist agencies that might be able to help you.

Finances after a death

Your financial situation is likely to change if someone you live with dies. You need to ensure that the rent or mortgage will be paid, even if you’re not liable for paying it.

We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 08000 495 495.

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This page was last updated on: Mehefin 5, 2023

Shelter Cymru acknowledges the support of Shelter in allowing us to adapt their content. The information contained on this site is updated and maintained by Shelter Cymru and only gives general guidance on the law in Wales. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law.