Death of a tenant

If a Council tenant dies and no one else is living in the property, arrangements need to be made for the property keys to be returned to the Council. Upon advising the Council of the death, we will be happy to assist you with any questions or concerns you may have and we will inform you of the date the notice expires by post.

Please be advised that until the tenancy is formally ended and all keys have been returned, rent in full will be charged in addition to any costs for repair that may be necessary. This will be payable from the deceased estate.

If in payment, Housing Benefit will end on the Sunday following the date of death. Once again rent in full will continue to be charged until the tenancy is formally ended and all keys have been returned.

You should tell us about the death as soon as possible using the online Tell Us Once service to inform most government – and local government – services of a death in one go.

You will be given a reference number by the registrar when you register the death. You will need this number to sign up for the service. If you want to use the service but don’t want to sign up online you can call the Department for Work and Pensions on 0800 085 7308 and speak to a Tell Us Once adviser.

What we will need

  • Details of the tenant’s next of kin (closest relative)
  • Copy of the death certificate
  • Your address and contact details, or the details of the person dealing with the deceased affairs if this is not you

Returning keys to the Council

Please ensure that all keys are returned to the Civic Offices reception on or before the date the notice ends where you will also receive a receipt.

Clearing the property

Those dealing with the estate would be expected to clear the property of all furniture and personal belongings before returning the keys. Any items left in the property or any repairs that need to be done once void will be done by Reading Borough Council and will be chargeable to the estate.

  • Clear all personal items from the loft, outbuildings and property including all carpets
  • Leave a plug and chain for each sink, wash hand basin and bath
  • Sinks, wash hand basins, baths, shower trays and toilet pans are clean and in sanitary condition
  • Electric sockets and light fittings must be in a good working order and not dangerous to use. If fittings are removed, standard fitments must be reinstated
  • Clean each room once it has been cleared and made good
  • Gardens and lawns should be tidy and cut back
  • Redirect the post
  • Take Gas and Electric readings, inform the utility company as soon as possible, and keep details until final bills are paid.

Rent accounts

The executor, administrator or family members are not responsible for rent payment.

However, until the tenancy is formally ended and the keys have been returned a charge will be made on the rent account. We will expect this to be paid along with any arrears from the deceased tenant’s estate.

If the deceased was getting Housing Benefit, payments will stop the Sunday following the date of death, and therefore won’t cover the charges between this date and the tenancy ending.

If a sole council tenant dies and someone is living in the property

We will need the main contact that is living in the property to contact our call centre on 0118 937 3787 and arrange for a call back from the housing officer. The housing officer will then arrange to call you back within 5 working days and arrange an appointment to come and meet you at the property where they will discuss whether there are any succession rights.

If there is someone living in the property we still have to serve a valid notice on the property if they were a sole tenant as per legal requirements.