Tennant found dead in house

13 Replies

I just received a call from one of my tenants saying they found the other tenant dead in his room. Sheriff's Office is investigating the cause (looks like suicide) and will be contacting Next of Kin to notify and come pick up his things. My question here is, am I required by law to disclose that there was a death in the house to the next renter? Have any of you experienced a death in your rentals? If so, any pointers that I may not be thinking of. 

On a side note: Thoughts and prayers with his family. He was way too young for this to happen. 

It really depends on your state laws. In California it would have to be disclosed for 3 years after the death to buyers or tenants.

Legalities aside, would you like the landlord to tell you this if you were looking to rent a place? Woukd you still rent from him? Or ask this, "What if I moved in somewhere and then found out later someone had died where I now sleep?"

Don't be consumed by the all-too-precious legal mumbo-jumbo. What is the right thing to do? What does your conscience, your heart say about what is moral?

Whatever you decide, this is a tough call, and I wish you success. Pray about this, discuss it with your family and any business partners or close associates, and maybe talk to your pastor. While you may be legally correct in what you do, you may always have to live with the smell of a bad decision if you choose incorrectly.

Tim

Not required in Florida.

You may not have to but the other tenant is going to tell them if it is a rent by room situation so consider that.

I found a tenant dead during a property inspection. Dead tenants is never a good situation, but it is a business of providing housing, it happens. 

I did not disclose, but had a prospect tenant who just so happen to know who lived there and asked "Where did [Deceased Tenant] move to?" I wasn't going to openly disclosure, but definitely wasn't going to lie. It wasn't an easy conversation, but she still rented it.

Telling potential tenants likely will produce the best long term results.  If you don't say anything and then they find out later you potentially could have an upset tenant.  I would go by the open book policy, that it how I handle all of my deals, and I have found that it works very well.   I would consider human psychology in this decision.  With information being so freely available it is likely they will figure it out anyway, so consider how they will react if you don't tell them upfront.

@Dustin Baldwin

One caution about next of kin picking up personal property. Make sure they have legal standing to do so. Get with your attorney right away to find out what you need to do legally to protect that property and make sure you are protected from a lawsuit.

If Aunt Sally comes over for that irreplaceable broach, and the deceased had promised it (or even willed it) to someone else, you could be held responsible.

Not so much to the op, but what is the big deal. Everybody dies. Just cuz someone died in a property does not mean your going to die if you live there. Or do people really believe in ghost. WEIRD

@Kevin Manz , there are plenty of people who get freaked out by the thought of living somewhere where someone else passes away, especially in a non-traditional manner. The more violent or gruesome, the more people will be challenged with it.

Some states require you to disclose it, some don't. Some municipalities require it, some don't.

Sounds like a shared apartment? maybe the other roommate will continue living there and get a new roommate.. Unfortunate but death happens, and the estate of the deceased is responsible for his bills and clean up of the apartment.  Harsh, but reality. 

Make sure if it's separate locked living space for deceased tenant you secure the area after the sheriff has released it , I'd take my own photo's showing what's in the space. You need to be sure  you let in the correct next of kin to take control of his possessions that have the right to his personal property. I'd ask for the family's attorney to provide you with that information.

I'd recommend to change the lock,Put note of door saying see Manager for entry, Premise has been secured by Management. 

Each state has laws which define what must be disclosed in a transfer of real estate as well as to prospective residential tenants.

However, laws are intended to to define the legal minimum required. Your own ethics ought to dictate what policy and practice is appropriate for your ral estate investment and.rental  business.

Absent a crime scene or violent scenario which resulted in the death of a tenant, this is about how a prospective tenant might feel about sleeping is a room that someone died in. 

Have you ever been in the hospital? If you've spent even a night, then you've slept in a room for which someone died. Probably even in the bed that you spent your duration in! 

If it were me, I would disclose that a former tenant died in the house. I would not say where in the house., however I'd state that it was natural causes. Also, they may have been declared dead later in an ER, which means some did not die in the house but in a hospital. 

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