I am trying to get a joint tenancy on our council property with my father (I live with him with other family members). He is currently the sole tenant. He has dementia and I and he did enquire 3 years ago just before he was diagonsed, but the council has either lost the paperwork etc. As his main carer, would I be eligible to be added as a joint tenant?
The Council state that this is not a good reason for me to be added as a joint tenant. We have lived there for over 30 years, definetely more than the 12 months usually required.
The council have stated that when he dies I can succeed him as a tenant, but what if he has to go into a nursing home and dies there? We have also discussed whether we should buy the property jointly. There are 4 family members living in the property.
Hello I am a solicitor with over 15 years experience. I will try to help you with this. Can I ask why you want to be added to the tenancy as a joint tenant and what you aim here is. Am I right in thinking you are trying to put yourself in the best position to help your father if his condition deteriorates and he becomes unable to look after his affairs?
Yes, although more and more as the eldest daughter I had been taking on the paying of the bills etc and generally looking after his affairs before he was diagnosed. The main reason is that I am designated as his main carer (completed a social services evaluation). When I told the council that I was caring they asked me to complete a form. But I have had to continually chase. Also as I have lived at the property for a number of years we had discussed the possibility of adding my name to the tenancy agreement as I was taken on many off the duties assumed of a tenant (contacting housing, arranging affairs, paying council tax etc). My brother and sister also live in the property - I have been told that one of can succeed the tenancy upon my father's death, however my concern would be what would happen if he had to go to a care/nursing home? He is fine at the moment, he is mobile, attends a day centre 3 days a week. Do you think the council have offered succession with a view that this will be unable to happen if there is a chance that my father does have to go into a care home?
Hi, I have answered your question - do you require any further info from me?
Council tenancies can only be passed on once by succession or assignment. For example, after one joint tenant dies and her/his rights are transferred to the surviving joint tenant by succession, it will not be possible for the tenancy to be assigned to anyone else.
If there has been no previous succession or assignment, secure tenants can only assign their tenancy to certain people - no one else will qualify. The only people who you may be able to assign your tenancy to are:
For council tenancies which started after April 1st 2012 family members, other than spouses, civil partners or cohabiting partners will not be able to succeed to the tenancy – unless the tenancy agreement allows for this.
You will be able to succeed to the tenancy after you father’s death but there is a risk that if his death is preceded by a long stay in residential care that the council could argue that this undermines your right to succeed.
For this reason it may be best to get the tenancy assigned (ie transferred to you ) while he is still mentally sound enough to approve this course of action. By doing this he will be giving up his right to live in the property and it is important he understands this.
In terms of becoming a joint tenant that is something that there is no general legal right to.
I hope this answer is helpful but please feel free to ask further questions
Sorry for the short delay but I fit these answers in around other legal work.
Hi, The council have not supplied me with this information - it has been three years. He can still read and write and sign his signature - I wish they had given me some advice like this when we enquired. It has just been left. I am going to argue that their tardiness has led to this and will apply for the assignment. They are saying that only he or his legal representative can apply for the joint tenancy.
You will need him to apply for the assignment but if he does this there is no reason why it can not be granted.
Thanks for your help.
I don't currently have power of attorney- should I apply - will that make a difference?
Thankyou and good luck. If I have been of help I would be grateful if you would rate my answer as I will not get paid for my answers if you do not do so. As far as a power of attorney is concerned that is outside my area of expertise but it would be a good idea to think about it. A good place to start would be here http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/site/scripts/documents.php?categoryID=200353 this is the alzheimer's society website advice on financial and legal affairs which includes information on powers of attorney.