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Death of a Tenant

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There are three main occasions when you are faced with the problem of when a tenant dies. Firstly, if the tenant was on his/her own, the tenant‘s executors will assume responsibility for discharging the tenant’s obligations, subject to the size of the estate. Normally, the executors will wish to clear the property at the earliest possible opportunity, and return the keys to the landlord. The landlord has a right of a month’s written notice if the tenancy is periodic. If it is still fixed term, the landlord must mitigate his losses by finding a new tenant.

Secondly, if, at the time of death, the tenant resided at the property with a co-tenant, then this co-tenant will be entitled to continue residing at the property, and the deceased tenant’s executors will be jointly liable for any remaining fixed term only.

Lastly, if the deceased tenant was a protected or statutory tenant, rights of succession may apply if the tenant lived in the property with spouse or other member of immediate family. Legal advice should be sought in such cases. Since 1989, a successor to such tenancy will be an assured tenant, and as such, the landlord will be able to charge a full market rent, instead of the rent registered by the Rent Service, which will have been considerably below market rent.

21/04/2008 00:00

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