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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Your tenant dies - what to do?

It's a landlords worst nightmare. What would you do if your tenant snuffed it. I can't even imagine. Would you be responsible for removing the body etc? I hope and guess the NHS would step in at some stage. But then you are left with clearing up the mess. Literal and metaphorical.

How many of us would have details of the next of kin?

Aside from the practicalities of dealing with the dead tenant where would a landlord stand on the tenancy? Well legally the tenants death doesn't actually end the tenancy. The responsibility for the tenancy in this situation would pass to the executors. The simplest thing is to then agree a surrender with them.

A complication would be if the dead tenant had a relative living with them. Under the AST they do not have rights of succession to the tenancy. In this situation I would serve a section 21 notice on the remaining tenant and the executors in case it was deemed that the landlord had commenced a separate tenancy with them.

If the tenant has no relatives or executors then it might be advisable to contact the Crown Office which would be involved if there are no other personal representatives (whether executors or administrators) of the deceased.

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ds23geoff said...

On my AST agreement, I get new tenants to tick a box agreeing to pay two months' rent in advance and continue paying monthly thereafter. No-one has objected as yet and they seem to understand my reasoning. This removes the possibility of a tenant upping sticks for whatever reason with no notice at the end of just one month paid in advance, which has happened to me in the past.

Oban Landlord said...

This happened to us quite recently. The Police contacted us and asked us to hand over all of the keys we held for the property. They passed our contact details to the relatives who. We said that as soon as they were able to hand back the property to our posession we would, from that day, end the tenancy. We helped them by agreeing to take things to the tip and charity shops, that all worked fine. The one thing I wished we had done is contact the Police to arrange access before the daughter came. To put it politely it would have been far kinder to her if we could have removed at least part of the carpet before she came and cleaned out the fridge. They did not have a solicitor appointed as an executor so on our solicitor's advice we returned the deposit and excess rent to the daughter and got her to sign a legal letter confirming receipt. Overall I think if you treat these situations compassionately then it should work out OK.