Section 79 – Effect of succession
236.This section makes provision for when a successor becomes the contract-holder.
237.In a situation where there is only one person qualified to succeed, or where there is more than one person qualified to succeed, but only one of those persons is a priority successor, the successor becomes the contract-holder either when the landlord is notified of the death of the former contract-holder, or one month after the death, whichever is earlier.
238.In a situation where there is more than one person qualified to succeed, and either two or more of those persons are priority successors, or all of those persons are reserve successors, the successor becomes the contract-holder either on the date on which the persons qualified to succeed decide who will take over the contract or, if the landlord makes the selection (where agreement cannot be reached between the potential successors), on the date the landlord makes that selection.
239.In a situation where a successor has appealed against the landlord’s appointment of a successor, the successor becomes the contract-holder on the date the court determines the appeal.
240.But if either of those things happen before the landlord is notified of the death (or, if the landlord is not notified of the death within one month of the contract-holder dying, before the end of that one month period), the person does not succeed to the contract until the landlord is notified of the death, or until one month after the death (whichever is earlier). In reality, an appeal situation may result in an extended period before a person qualified to succeed becomes a contract-holder.
241.In situations where no contract-holder has been appointed because a decision has not yet been reached about who the successor is to be (either because the successors haven’t reached a decision, because the landlord hasn’t chosen a successor, or because the court hasn’t determined an appeal), and individuals with a succession right are living in the property, they are not treated as trespassers, but rather as joint contract-holders.