tenant passed away this weekend in my rental.

5 Replies

I have a tenant, who passed away a few days ago. Her rent was late, so I had her brother check on her. She was a single lady. What is the best/kindest way to reclaim the rental. The rent for this month is understandably late. Can I use the security deposit to cover this month?

Do I need to go through the eviction process or just hope the relatives move her belonging out before the end of the month? Whats a respectable amount of time I should give the relatives before I address these issues.

If this has happened to anyone else, I would appreciate the feed back

You're going to want to address your local laws about this issue to get specifics. Typically, heirs will need to show proof before you let them into the apartment, unless they have keys. Do not let anyone in unless they show proof, otherwise you can get sued if a dispute between heirs comes up. Some landlords say you should even change locks, until someone steps up. You will need to be reimbursed by the estate for any rent payments, but that may not happen very timely. Her death voids lease in the sense that you wont be able to charge and breaking lease fees (may vary by state) but the estate is responsible for rent until unit is cleaned out. if they are out by end of November, you can charge full nov rent. if they drag there feet, you will still charge December rent.

Very state dependent.  Here in Wisconsin, for a death of a tenant there are certain rules about notice and breaking the lease.  I certainly wouldn't let anyone in but the executor or you could risk a claim from the beneficiaries.  If they use their own keys, that is a different issue.  I would give them a bit of time and then reach out to the brother in another week or so to find out what the family's plan of action is on this to start that conversation moving.  Find out if there will be a probate and what the expected timeline for the appointment of the executor.  From the executor you can get the timeline for cleanout of the property.

Something to think about... when we rent to single people, we have a paragraph in the rental agreement where they fill in the name and contact info of the person they want to make decisions about their tenancy and belongings if they become incapacitated.

You can absolutely apply the last months rent against the deposit.  Your biggest concern is getting possession back and getting the relatives to take or waive rights to the belongings so you don't have to store it.

You must research your state landlord tenant regulations as already suggested. The rules are state specific.

Contact relatives immediately. As in 2 days ago and inform them that her rent is past due and that someone needs to pay it. Do not allow access until it is paid.

Your business interests are of primary importance.

@Thomas S. I think it be best that the owner look into their local laws. It very well could be illegal to demand rent from the tenants' heirs in exchange for access to family items.. They're not even on the lease, so why would it be their responsibility? When my mom passed away, credit card companies started contacting me saying that I had to pay her debt. It's absolutely not true because it's not my debt.

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