tenant death

7 Replies

Anyone ever have a tenant die on them with no heirs or with no heirs who want to do anything about it?  Happened in Cook County, IL.  The local police and a state representative were at one point involved but no more.  Wondering if anyone has been through something like this.  If so, what was your experience and how did it resolve?

Thanks for reading and for any insights.

@Jerry N.  We have actually had this happen a few times over the years and here is the couple of scenarios we had.  Our ultimate goal was to get possession back the easiest & most economic way possible.  Be sure to check with your own attorney on what ever route you chose to go.  These were all in Cook County, Chicago.

Example 1 - We had a tenant that had heirs that didn't want anything to do with it so we paid them to come and take possession of it all after proving their relationship as the son of the deceased.  I think it cost us $1000 for them to haul it all away and take possession of the deceased belongings.  Every heir has a price.

Example 2 - Similar to example 1 and happened after example 1 we paid a heir to come sign a waiver that they don't want the belongings and that they recognize all items will be donated to Goodwill or thrown in the garbage.  We paid the heir $50 or $100 to sign off on this letter we had our attorney review after we drafted it.  

Example 3 - Tenant had minimum belongings so we posted notice that "We deeded this property to be abandoned and we will be taking possession over in 7 days".  After 7 days we took their belongings and placed them into storage we had in another building(had to pay our guys to do it).  We took pics and placed them in a basement in another building we have.  

Check with your attorney and this situation will cost you something but I imagine you are losing $30-$60 a day in rent right now.

Mark Ainley, Real Estate Agent in IL (#471.003954)
630-587-7400

Great advice from @Mark Ainley

If we have one adult move into one of our units, we ask them to designate someone we can work with.

In the event of abandonment, arrest or death, the following person has the authority to decide when to terminate tenancy and how to store/distribute my belongings:

Name: ____________________________________________________

Address: ____________________________________________________

Phone #: ____________________________________________________

I would look at your local abandonment laws and see if you can store and/or dispose of the belongings.

Yes, unfortunately, I've had a few deaths over the years. FORTUNATELY, we include an addendum in every lease that deals with Emergency Access for this and other unforeseen situations. PM me if you'd like me to send you a copy of the language we use. 

I have had tenants die as well, but to be honest @Mark Ainley and @Michele Fischer gave as good of an answer as I could give.  In some states if there is enough money to warrant it you can file an estate as a creditor, but it is rarely worth the headache.  Any leftover money goes to the state unclaimed money account.

In Calif, if there has been a death in a rental or a home for sale, notice must be made to the next occupant, but no specific wording is required to my knowledge.

Thank you @Mark Ainley , @Michele Fischer , @Account Closed   

We've got some good insights here and now have some investigating to do.  Thanks.  

Will post an update sometime in the future when this is resolved with the complicated history.

BTW had read a number of other threads on this topic and learned that about CA.  Also, read a lot of tangential articles then about CA and am surprised how unfriendly CA seems to be to landlords.  

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