Landlord death - what happens with the lease?

6 Replies

Hi everyone,

Situation:

My aunt managed a property ( house rental) that she owned with both my parents in San Jose. My aunt recently passed away. Now since the lease was in my aunt's name, the tenants are claiming that the lease is now void with her passing. The lease agreement has incremental increases that I think the tenants would rather not pay. 

Intuitively, my aunt passing seems not to void the lease, especially because my parents are on the property deed as well as a proper will was left. 

Does anyone have any experience / thoughts on this?

Thanks

I have no experience with something like this.

I believe normally, the estate of your aunt will inherit the lease and it is not void. However, if the tenant claims that the lease is void, and your parents are part owner of the house, can’t you present them with the option of resign the original lease, sign a new lease at a higher price, or face eviction?
Since the lease is void, as the owner, you can evict them anytime.

If the tenants want to claim the lease has expired, that means they are essentially under a month-to-month lease. I would give them 30 days notice to vacate or sign a new lease.

Of course, that answer makes sense in most of the world. In the People's Republik of Kalifornia, I recommend you seek advice from a good attorney familiar with Landlord-Tenant law.

Without seeing the lease (including in what capacity aunt claimed to have in executing it), nobody can answer this question.

The real question to be answered is "was the original lease valid?" If so, the death does not affect it's continuing validity. 

Originally posted by @Ryan Hong :

Hi everyone,

Situation:

My aunt managed a property ( house rental) that she owned with both my parents in San Jose. My aunt recently passed away. Now since the lease was in my aunt's name, the tenants are claiming that the lease is now void with her passing. The lease agreement has incremental increases that I think the tenants would rather not pay. 

Intuitively, my aunt passing seems not to void the lease, especially because my parents are on the property deed as well as a proper will was left. 

Does anyone have any experience / thoughts on this?

Thanks

 Just like the lease is still valid when a landlord sells the property this lease is still valid & enforceable by whomever takes ownership of the house now that your aunt has passed.

On a side note if the tenants want out I would probably just get them out. Nothing but trouble trying to force them to stay. Move on to new tenants who want to be there.

James Wise, Real Estate Agent in OH (#2015001161)
216-661-6633

Thanks!

These have been helpful and all valid points. I don't think they want to leave, they just want to go month to month and avoid paying the increase. Anyways, since that is so I have some options... 

But it was quite sneaky of the tenants to say the death invalidates the lease.

-Best

Join the Largest Real Estate Investing Community

Basic membership is free, forever.