First tenant death
Click here for Top Ten Discussions. CLICK HERE for Q & A Homepage
Receive Free Rental Owner Updates Email:  
MrLandlord Q & A
     
     
First tenant death (by gevans [SC]) Dec 6, 2022 7:21 AM
       First tenant death (by Ken [NY]) Dec 6, 2022 7:34 AM
       First tenant death (by DJ [VA]) Dec 6, 2022 8:11 AM
       First tenant death (by Ray-N-Pa [PA]) Dec 6, 2022 9:12 AM
       First tenant death (by myob [GA]) Dec 6, 2022 9:26 AM
       First tenant death (by Richard [MI]) Dec 6, 2022 10:28 AM
       First tenant death (by T [IN]) Dec 6, 2022 10:38 AM
       First tenant death (by Jim in O C [CA]) Dec 6, 2022 10:45 AM
       First tenant death (by DJ [VA]) Dec 6, 2022 12:56 PM
       First tenant death (by Ken [NY]) Dec 6, 2022 1:16 PM
       First tenant death (by gevans [SC]) Dec 6, 2022 1:55 PM
       First tenant death (by Oregon Woodsmoke [ID]) Dec 6, 2022 2:29 PM
       First tenant death (by Allym [NJ]) Dec 6, 2022 2:51 PM
       First tenant death (by don [PA]) Dec 6, 2022 3:27 PM
       First tenant death (by DJ [VA]) Dec 6, 2022 6:44 PM
       First tenant death (by Pat [VA]) Dec 7, 2022 7:27 AM
       First tenant death (by S i d [MO]) Dec 7, 2022 8:43 AM
       First tenant death (by gevans [SC]) Dec 7, 2022 8:43 PM
       First tenant death (by don [PA]) Dec 7, 2022 9:36 PM
       First tenant death (by zero [IN]) Dec 8, 2022 5:21 PM
       First tenant death (by zero [IN]) Dec 8, 2022 5:31 PM
       First tenant death (by T [IN]) Dec 8, 2022 8:38 PM
       First tenant death (by don [PA]) Dec 9, 2022 12:49 AM
       First tenant death (by dino [CA]) Dec 10, 2022 1:07 PM
       First tenant death (by zero [IN]) Dec 13, 2022 6:07 PM

Click here to reply to this discussion.
Click Here to send this discussion to a friend

First tenant death (by gevans [SC]) Posted on: Dec 6, 2022 7:21 AM
Message:

Been doing this 24 years, but just had my first tenant death. He died inside the unit, in his bed.

Anything special I need to be doing? I changed the locks and his blood relatives now have the keys, no one else.

--216.218.xxx.xx




First tenant death (by Ken [NY]) Posted on: Dec 6, 2022 7:34 AM
Message:

Why would you change the locks and give the keys to anyone?I wouldnt change the locks,anyone with a key can clean it out,family or not. --74.77.xx.xx




First tenant death (by DJ [VA]) Posted on: Dec 6, 2022 8:11 AM
Message:

You have already given possession to others, but really it should only be to the administrator or executor of the deceased's estate.

Make them understand that (I assume) rent is paid for December & they need to clean out and return the unit to you by the end of the month. Otherwise, his estate will need to pay for a month's rent to give them more time.

Find out who is the administrator of his estate & deal with them. They are the one to receive the security accounting - whether it be a refund or bill.

It can be an emotional time for family members. While you should express kind sympathy & understanding for how difficult it must be (my opinion), remain professional as far as how to proceed and get your property back as quickly as possible. And collect rent until you do.

If the administrator will give you a copy of the death certificate & sign documents stating the unit is returned to you, I think you should be able to avoid any court procedures. But, of course, check your state's laws.

In the meantime, make a thorough evaluation of the condition of the unit ASAP - including LOTS of photos of what is there & any damages that will need to be repaired before you can re-rent it. Start lining up your workers to do the repairs asap. If the family / administrator is cooperative, try to do as many repairs as possible while they are still cleaning it out.

If nobody in the family wants to deal with it, are slow, want to wait until after the holidays - make sure they understand that rent NEEDS to continue to be paid until it is returned to you.

I suggest that you may offer to them that they remove anything they want from his possessions and sign the rest over to you to dispose of. Tell them this will ease their burden of work - especially "this time of year" over holidays. You will be helping them, and getting your unit back sooner which will help you. The cost for clean-out will come from deposit. --68.229.xxx.xxx




First tenant death (by Ray-N-Pa [PA]) Posted on: Dec 6, 2022 9:12 AM
Message:

I understand what the law says.

I also understand the timeline associated with dealing with an estate. During much of that time you would not be getting rent payments either so you need to look out for your interest without putting yourself at risk of getting sued.

You really should have notified the emergency contacts that rent is paid until the end of the month and all the stuff is expected to be out on or before then.

Should you have given access - nope. Not without a court order, but I have had the police tell me that the closest relative would be coming to town for only two days. I have however accidentally forgot to double check to see if the door was locked on those two days too (wink- wink).

t is a high wire that the landlord is on. I have found that normally the family isn't going to argue that much about the crap left behind. But, when they do - it gets ugly quickly and the folks are emotional on a roller coaster to begin with.

Keep us posted. --24.101.xxx.xxx




First tenant death (by myob [GA]) Posted on: Dec 6, 2022 9:26 AM
Message:

First step send condolences.

2 Days after funeral contact about property.

Go ASAP to inspect. Maybe u did that when u changed locks which BTW is probable illegal.

--66.133.xx.xx




First tenant death (by Richard [MI]) Posted on: Dec 6, 2022 10:28 AM
Message:

A couple questions:

1. Does anyone think it would be a good idea to require tenants to have a life insurance policy with the landlord as beneficiary (if the tenant approves). This could cover final expenses and burial as well as pay to move belongings to storage or to goodwill, etc. Many of us have older single tenants and some of them have few or no relatives.I could make the payments on the policy from the rent.

2.Do you think it would be good to add to the rental agreement a clause that says in the event of the tenants passing or long term hospitalization, tenant gives permission to landlord to move all possessions to storage, notify police, emergency contacts, etc? Details could be worked out. This would, hopefully, allow the landlord to clear the unit and take possession asap. --75.7.xx.xx




First tenant death (by T [IN]) Posted on: Dec 6, 2022 10:38 AM
Message:

Richard- First question, rare and most wont do it. A lot of them don't want to do renters insurance. 2nd question, IN state law requires two points of contacts. If anything happens to the renter... those 2 contacts will act on their behalf and do whatever is necessary.

My lease has the 2 points of contacts to remove belongings or pay rent. In this case, since the person probably paid for Dec rent; they have until the end of Dec to remove everything. Otherwise, its 2 weeks.

I had 3 die now. first was in a car wreck. Took a month to get their stuff out. Had no points of contacts at the time. Daughter in CO, son in the navy. Next I knew her sister was taking point to remove her stuff. Long mess.... --170.203.xxx.xxx




First tenant death (by Jim in O C [CA]) Posted on: Dec 6, 2022 10:45 AM
Message:

Check your states laws about a death in the property. In California we must disclose the fact for 3 years unless the cause was AIDS related. I always change the locks between any tenants or any other parties. --99.23.xxx.x




First tenant death (by DJ [VA]) Posted on: Dec 6, 2022 12:56 PM
Message:

FWIW, this is a clause taken from my Rental Agreement:

EMERGENCY CONTACTS

Minimum 2 contacts per adult Tenant (no overlaps, not each other)

If for any reason Tenant cannot be reached, or is non-responsive to management calls or notices, such as in the case of an emergency, incapacitation, incarceration, hospitalization, abandonment, or death Tenant designates the following persons as approved to receive mail, notices, phone calls, texts, messages, deliveries, etc. from Landlord for Tenant. Tenant authorizes this person to remove their personal items, and to act on their behalf with Landlord. Each person listed as an Emergency Contact has 100% authority to receive legal notices on behalf of Tenant.

Persons listed must be at least 18 years old. Provide as much information as you can. Please print clearly.

--68.229.xxx.xxx




First tenant death (by Ken [NY]) Posted on: Dec 6, 2022 1:16 PM
Message:

DJ,Richard,I am not sure but once a tenant actually dies i doubt the lease is still in effect,does anyone know for sure? --74.77.xx.xx




First tenant death (by gevans [SC]) Posted on: Dec 6, 2022 1:55 PM
Message:

My apologies, I should have provided more information.

The guy lived alone, but has a wife and kid here locally. Separated but not divorced. Also has a girlfriend.

His mother (also a LL in another state) contacted me and asked me to secure the property. The coroner broke the door lock and asked me to replace it and secure the door.

His mother asked me to secure the house and change the locks if possible. Coroner told me only allow access to "blood relatives".

Mother told me today to allow access to his ex...because she is legally still his wife.

No will. Rent is paid this month. Mother and wife separately told me they will get his stuff out this week. Mother said she will bring her crew and professionally clean the house.

If that really happens, I'm a happy man.

I had already met the mother and had several conversations with her. I don't see her or the wife causing any problems or dragging their feet. But that could change.

I'll keep you all posted. Thanks! --216.218.xxx.xx




First tenant death (by Oregon Woodsmoke [ID]) Posted on: Dec 6, 2022 2:29 PM
Message:

[[[[........ think it would be a good idea to require tenants to have a life insurance policy with the landlord as beneficiary .......]]]]]

I often find myself wanting to kill my tenants. If I received a bunch of money for doing so, it might make it all too tempting. --76.178.xxx.xxx




First tenant death (by Allym [NJ]) Posted on: Dec 6, 2022 2:51 PM
Message:

I assume he changed the locks in case some bad person was in there. I would too until I got a "cause of death". --71.188.xx.xxx




First tenant death (by don [PA]) Posted on: Dec 6, 2022 3:27 PM
Message:

Nothing wrong with changing the locks in that situation. A LL cannot change the locks to do a self-help eviction. In this case, there was one tenant and he was dead, so no one had rights to live there.

Legally, only the appointed adm. or executor should have been allowed in, but with the fact pattern given in this case, there is a low probability of any problems.

One caution, though. Gevans wrote "No will." How does he know? What would happen if an executor probated a will that Gevans did not know about and showed up to the scene after Gevans gave all the guy's stuff away? --73.141.xxx.xxx




First tenant death (by DJ [VA]) Posted on: Dec 6, 2022 6:44 PM
Message:

Ken:

It depends on what is written in your lease. It is to my advantage to have it pass to the estate of the deceased, so the estate will be responsible for paying for rent, damages as necessary, and properly terminating possession. --68.229.xxx.xxx




First tenant death (by Pat [VA]) Posted on: Dec 7, 2022 7:27 AM
Message:

Oregon Woodsmoke, I almost spewed my coffee out when I read that, my thoughts exactly!

I had one lady die that went into the hospital for gastric bypass surgery, years ago. She was a hoarder, and we were lucky her son got everything out. She worked as a security guard at the local prison.

I like the clause DJ shared. --216.126.xx.xxx




First tenant death (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Dec 7, 2022 8:43 AM
Message:

Gevans, I believe what you meant to say is his blood relative ALREADY HAD a key... not that you GAVE THEM a key.

The Coroner told you.... ? Hmmm, is the coroner a judge in a court of law who will determine if what you did is allowed or not? Most public officials are trained from day one to utter the following words, "I cannot give you any legal advice. You will need to seek independent counsel."

Here's the thing... "Blood relatives" often aren't in the Will, even if there is a Will. The Court and the Court alone determines who has access to the tenant's "stuff."

Now, from a practical standpoint, what will likely happen? Not much is my guess. There's a 90% probability that whatever you did will work out fine. As long as no long lost cousin shows up and throws a hissy fit, you're probably a-okay.

But in the future, don't take legal advice from public officials, relatives, friends, co-workers, or (honestly) people on the internet. The law is a tricky thing, and each state is going to have it's own rules for how estates work.

As for me, here's how I handled it the first and only time I had a tenant death.

1) I personally secured the home and posted notice of abandoned property, which included the notice of unpaid rent, on the front door. That's how I found out he had passed: no rent from a very responsible guy, then I looked up his obituary. I bagged up all the fridge and cupboard food since utilities were off (it was summer, no worry of frozen pipes) and pitched it as it was already spoiled. Took pictures for my records. Also videoed the interior of the place to make full record when I entered.

2) Waited 30 days. He gave no indication he was going to return to claim his stuff, obviously, because he was dead. The two tests for abandonment per my state's statutes are unpaid rent for 30 days AND no intention to reclaim personal property. The first one was easy: no rent paid. The second one was odd (because he was dead), but that's the test. I complied with the letter of the law. No executor presented himself to me during that time and his one emergency contact never answered the phone. Inherited tenant.

3) Handyman did the trash out and threw all the stuff away.

The key is knowing your state laws and complying with them. Again, you'll probably be okay since most tenants have little of value and no one raises a fuss, but this should be a reminder that the time to get educated is now rather than waiting for tenant #2 to die. It's going to happen.

--184.4.xx.xx




First tenant death (by gevans [SC]) Posted on: Dec 7, 2022 8:43 PM
Message:

The mom and wife both said no will.

Both SAY the place will be cleaned out by the end of the month...and rent is already paid. I still have the security.

He was a poor guy in a class C rental. Not much of value.

Sid, you are right. Mom and wife already had keys!!

This is the deep south. Coroner did not "tell" me what to do. He gave me some free advice based on his experience. --158.115.xxx.xxx




First tenant death (by don [PA]) Posted on: Dec 7, 2022 9:36 PM
Message:

Mom and wife both said no will. OK, when someone makes a will that leaves out close relatives, they often do not tell those same close relatives and give them the will for safe keeping. Based on what you wrote, I don't think you have anything to worry about, but what would you do if his buddy has a will he made naming Buddy as heir and executor, Buddy probates it and shows up with Letters testamentary demanding the deceased's assets? --73.141.xxx.xxx




First tenant death (by zero [IN]) Posted on: Dec 8, 2022 5:21 PM
Message:

T: You said "IN state law requires two points of contacts. If anything happens to the renter... those 2 contacts will act on their behalf and do whatever is necessary."

I have never heard of that. Not that I am in disbelief, but would one emergency contact and one work contact count?

Maybe it is time to change my application again, for the second time this month. --107.147.xx.xxx




First tenant death (by zero [IN]) Posted on: Dec 8, 2022 5:31 PM
Message:

My first tenant death was a suicide. I think it was accidental, but ruled as such.

Her girlfriend was recently out of the picture and not on the lease anyhow. Place was full of cats. I called the chief of police for the town the rental was in and asked how to proceed.

It was still a 'crime scene' until the coroner decided it was a suicide. I was given permission to take care of the cats but told to not take any items nor allow anyone else in the apartment until I was notified.

No will. Her family from out of state were gathering to come get her stuff. Bank contacted me about the car she was buying. It was all a mess for me at the time.

Cats were re-housed. Her out of state family trashed the place looking for stuff of value. Keys to the car were found and returned to the bank. Her ex, who had lived with her for years, was allowed to come get what was left that she wanted after the family ransacked the place.

I lost rents, damages and all that. I didn't fight anything at the time. I probably would now, knowing a bit more.

Lost two others since then, but it was all smoother considering. Having others on the lease made it not my problem. --107.147.xx.xxx




First tenant death (by T [IN]) Posted on: Dec 8, 2022 8:38 PM
Message:

Zero: look up IN Code 32-31-1-23. went into effect 7/1/21. I know, fun reading code/laws... (Zzzzz) --170.203.xxx.xxx




First tenant death (by don [PA]) Posted on: Dec 9, 2022 12:49 AM
Message:

Zero, like Gevans you state "no will." How do you know that?? SOmeone could show up months later with a will, probate it, and demand the deceased's assets. Did the family probate the estate as an administration and get appointed to represent the estate, or did you just hear them say "no will" and give them access? --73.141.xxx.xxx




First tenant death (by dino [CA]) Posted on: Dec 10, 2022 1:07 PM
Message:

I allowed relative access but did not give keys since I did not want to be turning over possession.

--104.175.xx.xx




First tenant death (by zero [IN]) Posted on: Dec 13, 2022 6:07 PM
Message:

I gave access to the property after the local chief of police told me to.

Guess if someone came along after to collect her things with a will I would push toward him. Her girlfriend came in after the out of state family did their thing and rummaged thru more.

T: Thanks for that tidbit. Was not aware obviously. Neither my attorney nor the judge seems to be aware either.

Time for another change to my application. --107.147.xx.xxx



Click Here to send this discussion to a friend
Report discussion to Webmaster


Reply:
Subject: RE: First tenant death
Your Name:
Your State:

Message:
First tenant death
Would you like to be notified via email when somebody replies to this thread?
If so, you must include your valid email address here. Do not add your address more than once per thread/subject. By entering your email address here, you agree to receive notification from Mrlandlord.com every time anyone replies to "this" thread. You will receive response notifications for up to one week following the original post. Your email address will not be visible to readers.
Email Address: