So my tenant died last FRI 9/28 (not in the unit) and now his family is here handling his affairs. He was a great tenant and I want to be compassionate, however, it could not have come at a worst time. What is the protocol for this? He died before rent payment on the 1st, and the family is requesting one week to clear everything out. That sounds fair to me, but I just want to make sure everything is handled properly. I know California can be tough on landlords. any advice will help. thanks in advance
Work out a deal with family with respect to deposit. You may want to get the heirs sign a law suit waiver in order to get the deposit back.
A good place to start would be: (1) check you written lease and (2) check California landlord & tenant statutes, regarding the rights and liabilities of a landlord when the tenant dies.
SOunds like his relatives are handling the situation. You have the deposit, which you can use for damages and unpaid rent. A week sounds reasonable to get his things out of there.
I had two tenants die on me this year and both of them had lived in the units for 16 - 18 years. They both died at the beginning of the month before rent was paid, they had tiny little deposits because they moved in so long ago, we had to wait for family to clean them out, and we had to replace flooring, paint, make minor repairs, and clean thoroughly.
On the other hand, the owner had 16 - 18 years with no vacancies, no late payments, and no problems. I would say it's worth a little sensitivity and patience.