What to do if Your Private Landlord Died
Death is not planned and, sometimes, it happens when you least expected it. Take this scenario, you are off work and reach home to the news that your landlord died. What will you do now? This is the hardest question that crosses the mind of many in that situation. Therefore, below is a simple guide explaining what happens when your private landlord dies. However, it is important to seek legal advice first, considering that different states deal with housing matters differently. The below advice is just a general solution.
What is your Renting Situation?
Do you understand or know your renting situation? This is the first and most important thing you should know when your find out your landlord is dead. Are you paying rent monthly? Is it a lease? Do you have any legal document proving your connection with the deceased regarding renting an apartment?
With the lease, you don’t have to worry about anything if your landlord dies since it must be honoured. A lease can be termed as a private contract between the property owner and you and it dictates the terms of renting that particular property.
Generally, your tenant obligations and rights will remain the same even after your landlord dies, with or without the will. However, terms of engagement may change with the new owner, hence the need to be prepared.
Do you Need to Relocate if your Landlord Dies?
That will be up to you, especially if you had a lease: the death of your landlord has no effect on the lease or doesn’t end it automatically. In the event your landlord dies, the next of kin or legal representative will take over the responsibilities under the contract. Therefore, your stay period will continue to the previously agreed date.
The next person in charge after the death of your landlord might decide to re-purpose or sell the property. Therefore, it is wise to start looking for alternatives when the lease period is nearing an end.
If the landlord representative decides to terminate your tenancy for any valid reason, like the lease is almost ending, breach of the lease agreement or no current lease, they should follow a proper channel and issue a formal termination notice.
Do you need to Pay Rent in Full?
Unless stated otherwise on the lease contract, you should continue to pay rent normally under the current contract. Failure to do so, you will be asked to move out or face the penalties stated in the agreed contract. The only challenge is to know who to pay the rent, especially if you used to pay your landlord directly.
Before you know who to pay the rent to, you should know that the administrator is entitled to collect all the rent until the property is transferred to the next owner or heir. However, you need to take caution when paying rent after the death of your landlord. Double-check that the person or entity you are paying rent to is right or legit.
If you are still unsure who to pay rent to, open a separate bank account and deposit your rent until you are certain who should receive your rent money. In most cases, the person who inherits the property will receive the rent in place of the deceased.
What will Happen when you don’t have a Lease?
If you have an expired lease or none at all but still pay your landlord without renewal, then you are a monthly tenant. Because of that, your landlord can terminate your tenancy at any time with a 30-day notice. Whoever will take over the property after the death of your landlord should follow the same rules when terminating your tenancy.
In a nutshell
When your private landlord dies, you should continue to pay rent to the next person in charge. If the new management or owner wants you to leave the apartment, you have at least 30 days to prepare.