- April 29, 2022
There are essential steps a landlord must follow to be protected both legally and financially if their tenant dies in their rental property. While you should always check your local and state laws in the unfortunate event that you are presented with a tenant death, we have outlined guidelines landlords can follow to protect themselves and skillfully and effectively move past the tragic event.
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Get Written Notice
The most important first step when dealing with a tenant passing is getting a written notice of the death. A landlord will usually find out one of two ways – either from a family member or from the executor of the tenant’s estate. Receiving a written notice is essential to legally begin the process of ending the lease, lawfully removing the tenant’s possessions, and preparing the property for the next renter.
If you discover the death, immediately call the police, as well as the emergency contact listed by the tenant. Secure the rental and do not move anything or take any personal property from the unit. Wait for the authorities and the emergency contact to arrive. Again, check your state and local laws regarding this kind of event; being prepared ahead of time will help you keep your cool if the unfortunate occasion should arise.
Once you receive written notice of the death of a tenant, you can move on to the next step.
Secure the Property
After you have received written notification of the tenant’s passing, the next step is to secure the property. Lock all the windows and doors to avoid any theft. If the tenant lived alone, the landlord may want to consider changing the locks to avoid people entering the property without authorization.
Once the next of kin or executor of the estate has officially handed over the keys, the landlord is not responsible for securing the tenant’s belongings. If there is no next of kin or estate executor, follow your local and state laws regarding abandoned tenant property.
What Happens to the Lease if a Tenant Passes Away?
Following the death of the tenant, the landlord will need to end or transition the remainder of the lease. When dealing with the next of kin, tenant’s family, or estate executor, be sure to have compassion for their situation, while respectively and lawfully working to regain the property.
Below are two common lease options along with the appropriate next steps:
- Month-to-Month Lease – The tenant’s death will act as the 30-day notice. Notify the next of kin or executor of the date that the lease will end, and coordinate with them regarding removing possessions, cleaning, transitioning the property, and all related deadlines.
- Long-Term Lease – If the deceased tenant had a long-term lease, the lease does not end automatically when the tenant passes. The lease will transition to the next of kin or the estate executor. Typically, the next of kin or deceased tenant’s executor will want to end the lease. It is advisable to work with them to end the lease and let them know that you will treat the death as a broken lease agreement, meaning they’ll need to pay rent until you re-rent the unit.
What to Do With a Tenant’s Belongings After They Pass Away
As a landlord, you cannot remove the belongings of the deceased tenant, so you’ll need to work with the family or executor to coordinate getting the tenant’s property removed. Work with them and set timelines and deadlines to help move the process along. If the tenant was on a month-to-month lease and the lease will be ending soon, set more aggressive timelines to help remove the property so the re-renting process can begin.
If the tenant had a long-term lease agreement, work with the next of kin/executor to establish reasonable timelines to have the tenant’s belongings removed from the rental unit. Rent is still required to be paid while the property removal and tenant search are being conducted if both parties have decided to treat the death as a broken lease.
If there isn’t a next of kin, follow your local and state laws regarding abandoned tenant property. You may be required to hold it for a current amount of time, then sell it at auction and return the money to the state.
What Should You Do With the Security Deposit if a Tenant Passes Away?
The security deposit may be used for unpaid rent, wear and tear beyond the normal amount, and cleaning fees. Be sure to make an itemized list of all deductions and give that to the next of kin or estate executor when the remainder is given back. Here is a sample letter to a tenant for damages that can be used when deducting items from the security deposit. If the fees exceed the deposit, the landlord will need to petition the tenant’s estate for compensation.
Dealing with a tenant passing is never an ideal situation. Your top priority as a landlord is to make sure you are protected legally by following all local and state laws regarding a tenant’s death. Following the proper procedures can help ease the financial impacts, as well as allow you to find a new tenant as quickly as possible. If there are next of kin, be as compassionate as possible, work with the family to remove any personal belongings, and get the rental returned to a place where it can lawfully be turned back over to you. When you are ready to find a new tenant, be sure to complete a thorough tenant screening and online rental application.
What to Do if a Tenant Dies in a Rental FAQs
What is the first thing to do if a tenant passes away?
Get written notification of a tenant’s death and be sure to secure the property to protect it from potential theft. Established a relationship with the next of kin or executor so you can surrender the key and let them manage the property.
If the tenant lived alone, make sure to accompany any person requesting access to the property when entering. Keep an inventory of anything that was removed.
Does a tenant’s death void the lease agreement?
The lease type will determine the end date. If it was a month-to-month lease, the death will serve as a 30-day notice. If it was a long-term lease, it will transfer to the next of kin/estate executor.
What should you do with a tenant’s belongings if they pass away in your rental?
A landlord can’t remove the belongings of a deceased tenant without first working with the next of kin/estate executor. If neither of those exists, check your local and state laws to see how to handle a tenant’s abandoned property.
What should you do with a deceased tenant’s security deposit?
The security deposit can be used for unpaid rent, damages beyond normal wear and tear, and cleaning fees. The remainder, with an itemized list, should be returned to the next of kin/estate executor.
Disclaimer: TurboTenant, Inc does not provide legal advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only. All users are advised to check all applicable local, state, and federal laws and consult legal counsel should questions arise.
Krista is the Senior Content Marketing Writer at TurboTenant where she writes data-driven, actionable articles to help landlords and renters alike. With decades of writing and editing experience, she’s produced top-quality content across various industries, including real estate, SaaS, and survey design/implementation.
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The deceased tenant's property, debt, and contracts will transfer to the estate or next of kin. This means, that the lease agreement does not automatically end when a tenant dies. In most states a landlord can hold an estate accountable for any unpaid rent for the remainder of the lease terms.How do you deal with the death of a tenant? ›
- Get Written Notification of Death.
- Secure the Property.
- Ending the Lease and Last Months' Rent.
- Release to the Rights of Possession.
Death in the rental unit. The landlord must disclose to a prospective tenant if the prior occupant died in the unit within the past three years. Disclosure must be made at the time an offer is made. The landlord must disclose the manner of death, but not if the prior occupant was ill with, or died from, AIDS.How long does the family have to get belongings in Texas if a renter dies? ›
Texas law now provides that a lease terminates when a tenant dies, if the tenant's estate gives notice to the landlord of the death and removes the deceased tenant's belongings within 30 days.What happens to the lease when a tenant dies in Texas? ›
If a tenant who was the sole occupant of a rental dies during their lease, a representative of their estate can end their lease early. The representative must provide written notice to the landlord under Section 92.0162 of the Texas Property Code.
704.19, in the case of the death of a residential periodic tenant or tenant at will, the tenancy is terminated 60 days after the landlord receives notice, is advised, or otherwise becomes aware of the tenant's death.Does death terminate a lease in Massachusetts? ›
It's up to the executor of the estate to release the tenancy. If your renter was a tenant-at-will – that is, they did not have a traditional lease and were renting on a month-to-month or weekly basis – then the notice of their death essentially serves as notice of termination. Under MGL Ch.What defines a surviving tenant? ›
A joint tenant with the right of survivorship is a legal ownership structure involving two or more parties for an account or another asset. Each tenant has an equal right to the account's assets and is afforded survivorship rights if the other account holder(s) dies.What happens if you live with someone and they pass away? ›
“It would become part of the probate estate.” One option is to make sure both of you are named as joint owners on the deed, “with rights of survivorship.” In that case, generally speaking, you each equally own the house and are entitled to assume full ownership upon the death of the other.Is a death notice required in California? ›
A statement of death and a death certificate are legally required. Generally, local ordinances or deed restrictions prohibit private burials within city limits. Check with the State Health Department and local zoning authorities for applicable laws.
California Law requires that certain deaths be reported to our office. The specifics can be found in the Government Code and in the Health and Safety Code.Do you have to disclose a death in a house in America? ›
Simply put, you are not required to disclose her death to potential buyers. Sellers are required to disclose certain defects to potential buyers, but a death occurring in a home is not a defect.Do you have to disclose a death in a rental property Texas? ›
In Texas, the law states that a seller or seller's agent is not required to disclose a death from natural causes, suicide, or an accident unrelated to the property's condition. So if someone passes away simply from old age or a heart attack, a seller does not have to disclose it.Who are the heirs of deceased tenant? ›
According to Section 7(15)(d) of MRCA and Section 5(11)(c) of the Bombay Rent Act, upon the death of a tenant, the tenancy passes on to a member of tenant's family who has been residing with the deceased tenant or operating the premises for commercial purposes at the time of his death.Who is responsible for cleaning out apartment after death in Texas? ›
This means that the estate is responsible for paying all rent owed to the landlord for 30 days after the written notice is delivered. Coordinate with the executor about removing possessions and cleaning out the rental property by the appropriate deadline.What are your rights as a tenant without a lease in Texas? ›
No written lease
If there is no lease, a Texas landlord can evict a tenant without providing a reason. Simply give notice to vacate, and follow eviction proceedings if the tenant fails to leave. When there is a verbal agreement but no written lease, whatever terms specified verbally must still be honored.
As long as the tenant does not violate any rules, they can stay until their rental period ends. But if the tenant stays in the property even a day after their lease/rental agreement ends and has not arranged for a renewal, landlords can issue a 30-Day Notice to Vacate.What are the renters rights in Texas? ›
Your rights as a tenant include the right to "quiet enjoyment," a legal term. This means your landlord cannot evict you without cause or otherwise disturb your right to live in peace and quiet. If other tenants in your building are disturbing you, you should complain to the landlord.What is a demise clause in lease? ›
The demising clause establishes the precise square footage or the premises' physical extent the tenant will lease from the landlord and the lease's duration. Typically, you can find “demised premises” in property deeds. The extent of a demised premises can contain various building sections, such as basements and lofts.Do landlords have to disclose if someone died in the house in Wisconsin? ›
Wisconsin is a caveat emptor state with no requirement to disclose death on a property. It is the buyers responsibility to discover any facts which may impact the value of the home.
So, to end a periodic tenancy, either the landlord or tenant has to give 28 days notice in writing to end the tenancy. Note that 28 days is the minimum. In some cases a landlord or tenant may opt for a longer notice; and, in other cases, the rental agreement may require longer notices, such as 60 days.How much notice does a landlord have to give a tenant to move out in Massachusetts? ›
Your landlord must first send you a "Notice to Quit" your tenancy. If the landlord is terminating your tenancy for non-payment of rent, s/he must send you a "14-Day Notice to Quit" (M.G.L.c.186, §§ 11 and 12). Your lease will specify the notice requirement for other terminations; it is typically seven days.What happens when joint tenant dies in Massachusetts? ›
Joint Tenants – When one joint tenant dies, the surviving joint tenant automatically owns the entire property. This is said to be a “right of survivorship.” A deed to two or more people must specify that they hold the property “as joint tenants” to create a joint tenancy.What are my rights as a tenant at will in Massachusetts? ›
In a tenancy-at-will the tenant pays the agreed-upon rent each month for an indefinite period of time. Either the landlord or the tenant can decide to end the tenancy by giving the other party notice either 30 days or one month before the due date of the next rent payment, whichever is longer.What is an example of a life tenant? ›
For example, a life tenant could not sell their estate as a fee simple absolute (i.e. a life tenant cannot flat out sell the property). When the life tenant dies (or, when the person whose life determines the duration of the life estate dies), the remainderman's interest in the estate vests.Can one person end a tenancy? ›
If one of you wants to leave
If the fixed term has ended or you never had a fixed term, you can give notice to end your tenancy without the agreement of the other tenants - unless your tenancy agreement says otherwise. It's important to be aware that if you end your tenancy it ends for everyone.
The life tenant must maintain the property, make any existing mortgage payments, pay property taxes, and keep the property adequately insured. Without the consent of the remainderman, the life tenant may not take out a new mortgage or otherwise encumber the property.What is it called when you live with someone for 7 years but not married? ›
Couples who live together and are not married fall under the category of cohabitation.What not to do when someone dies? ›
- 1 – DO NOT tell their bank. ...
- 2 – DO NOT wait to call Social Security. ...
- 3 – DO NOT wait to call their Pension. ...
- 4 – DO NOT tell the utility companies. ...
- 5 – DO NOT give away or promise any items to loved ones. ...
- 6 – DO NOT sell any of their personal assets. ...
- 7 – DO NOT drive their vehicles.
The police will arrange for the body to be moved by a funeral director acting for the coroner if the death is unexpected. If a doctor has confirmed an expected death you may call a funeral director of your own choice when you are ready to do so.
In the state of California, a death certificate must be filed within 10 days of the deceased's passing. The certificate must be signed by a licensed physician, coroner, or other authorized medical professional.Do I need to notify CA DMV of death? ›
You will need to do the following:
Submit the decedent's California DL/ID card to DMV (even if it is expired). Include an original or certified copy of the decedent's death certificate. Submit a written statement listing the: Decedent's full name.
A hospital is allowed to keep the body of a deceased person in a hospital mortuary for up to 21 days after the date of death (section 80 of the Regulation).Do you have to disclose a death in an apartment in California? ›
California: In California, the Californian landlord-tenant law states that landlords must disclose the death of a tenant on their property if it occurred within the past 3 years. Landlords are also specifically NOT required to disclose the HIV status of any tenants that died on their properties.What happens if you don't file probate in California? ›
The estate will be frozen and inaccessible to the beneficiaries: This consequence is inevitable, as property and assets cannot be transferred without going through probate first. This is because the court needs to ensure that all debts and taxes are paid off before the estate can be distributed.How long do you have to disclose a death in a house in California? ›
Death at the Property
In California, sellers must tell the buyer if a death in the home has occurred anytime in the past three years. This includes death by most natural causes (certain types of deaths, like those from AIDS, cannot be disclosed).
In California, for example, any death on a property, whether peaceful or otherwise, needs to be disclosed if it occurred within the last three years. The seller must also disclose any known death in the home if the buyer asks.Does it matter if someone died in your house? ›
It doesn't officially matter if someone died on a property. However, some prospective homeowners don't want to settle down in a house where something really violent happened, like a homicide or suicide.Does someone dying in a house lower the value? ›
Moreover, a property's market price could be greatly diminished by a tragic event like a murder, a suicide or paranormal activity – an even greater drop in price than if the house was next to a cemetery.What happens if a tenant dies in a rental property in California? ›
If the death of a tenant occurs during the term of the lease, California law provides that the lease will remain in force and the executor or administrator of the decedent's estate will become the tenant for the duration of the lease term.
If a tenant who was the sole occupant of a rental dies during their lease, a representative of their estate can end their lease early. The representative must provide written notice to the landlord under Section 92.0162 of the Texas Property Code.
If the deceased property owner had a will stating who the property should be transferred to, the will should be filed for probate within 4 years of the date of death. The property may subsequently be transferred or sold by the Executor named in the will according to the wishes of the deceased owner.Are the heirs of a deceased landlord are bound by the terms of existing valid leases? ›
The heirs of a deceased landlord are bound by the terms of existing valid leases. A SALE-AND-LEASEBACK CLAUSE. Sale and leaseback is an arrangement whereby an owner sells the property and then leases it back.How long does the family have to get belongings in Michigan if a renter dies? ›
If all of the requirements are met, it is possible the landlord will be able to recover possession of the leased property 28 days after the tenant dies.What is unattended death cleanup? ›
Unattended Death Cleaning, also known as biohazard remediation and decomposing body, is a necessary task in the wake of a death. The cleaning and decontamination of a property that has been contaminated by a deceased person. This process is necessary to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.How do I get rid of a tenant without a lease in Texas? ›
If there is no lease, a Texas landlord can evict a tenant without providing a reason. Simply give notice to vacate, and follow eviction proceedings if the tenant fails to leave. When there is a verbal agreement but no written lease, whatever terms specified verbally must still be honored.How long can a tenant stay after the lease expires in Texas? ›
As long as the tenant does not violate any rules, they can stay until their rental period ends. But if the tenant stays in the property even a day after their lease/rental agreement ends and has not arranged for a renewal, landlords can issue a 30-Day Notice to Vacate.Does a landlord have to renew a lease in Texas? ›
Renewals: A landlord in Texas may decide to not renew a lease for almost any reason. However, if the lease expires without a 30-day notice to terminate, the relationship will continue on a month-to-month basis.How long can a renter stay without paying in Texas? ›
In Texas, the rules are stacked against the tenant. Unless the lease or rental agreement specifies otherwise, when the rent is unpaid, landlords must give tenants three days to quit. Or, if they're feeling generous, they can give tenants three days to pay or leave.What can landlords not do in Texas? ›
- You May Set Your Own Security Deposit. ...
- You May Not Discriminate Against Applicants. ...
- You May Terminate a Lease Early. ...
- You Must Not Allow a Noisy Environment. ...
- You May Evict If Necessary. ...
- You May Not Disregard Maintenance Requests. ...
- You May Raise the Rent.
Texas Squatters Rights: Bottom Line
After meeting the state-required criteria, a squatter can eventually claim adverse possession, and gain ownership rights to the property. After this, they are no longer an illegal trespasser but entirely legitimate titleholders of the previously vacant property.
Usually, the habendum clause states the property is transferred without restrictions. This means the new owner has absolute ownership of the property upon satisfying their conditions (usually payment in full) and has the right to sell or bequeath the property to an heir and so on.What does execution of this lease mean? ›
In the event that Tenant executes this Lease first, such action shall constitute an offer to Landlord, which may be accepted by Landlord by executing this Lease, and once this Lease is so executed by Landlord and delivered to Tenant, such offer may not be revoked by Tenant and this Lease shall become a binding contract ...Is Wisconsin a full disclosure state? ›
Wisconsin law requires you to disclose any condition or defect that would result in a significant negative effect on the property value, that would significantly impair the health or safety of future occupants, or that would significantly shorten or negatively affect the normal life of the property.How much notice does a landlord have to give in Wisconsin? ›
Tenants may be given either a written 5-day or 14-day notice to vacate the property. 5-day “Cure” Notice. This written notice from the landlord gives the tenant five days to remedy or move out within five days.What is the statute 704.19 in Wisconsin? ›
If any periodic tenant vacates the premises without notice to the landlord and fails to pay rent when due for any period, such tenancy is terminated as of the first date on which it would have terminated had the landlord been given proper notice on the day the landlord learns of the removal.How long can you keep a deceased person's bank account open? ›
(a) Upon the death of an accountholder, the FDIC will insure the deceased owner's accounts as if he or she were still alive for six months after his or her death.What should a landlord do when a tenant dies in Florida? ›
Inform the deceased tenant's next of kin or estate executor that the lease is about to end. They should cover the remaining rent owed by the deceased tenant. Set clear deadlines as to when they should remove the tenant's belongings, clean out the property, and so on.What happens to a phone contract when someone dies? ›
The account remains active and unless the phone is leased or on a pay for use contract, it is considered property of the estate. If the issue is not addressed, the phone will keep charging the deceased's estate the monthly fee.When a tenant dies in NYC? ›
When a tenant dies, the property, debt, and contract will transfer to their estate. It's important to note that the lease agreement does not end immediately with the death of the tenant. In New York State, the estate of the deceased will remain liable for the performance of the tenant's obligations under the lease.
Legally, only the owner has legal access to the funds, even after death. A court must grant someone else the power to withdraw money and close the account.What debts are forgiven at death? ›
No, when someone dies owing a debt, the debt does not go away. Generally, the deceased person's estate is responsible for paying any unpaid debts. When a person dies, their assets pass to their estate. If there is no money or property left, then the debt generally will not be paid.Are bank accounts automatically frozen when someone dies? ›
This is not a bad idea, but most banks will still immediately freeze the account. This is because they will usually require a death certificate and an affidavit of survivorship by each of the surviving heirs.Who is responsible for cleaning out apartment after death in Florida? ›
If the estate of the deceased is not enough to cover the damages done, the responsibility lies with the property owner. While the family can certainly make sure the property is cleaned up, they are not obligated to do so.Does a landlord have to disclose a death in Florida? ›
Do you have to report a death in your home while selling real estate in Florida? Florida has no requirement for disclosure of death on a property. This includes disclosure of homicide or suicide.What are the obligations of a life tenant in Florida? ›
The life tenant has full control of the property during his or her lifetime and has the legal responsibility to maintain the property as well as the right to use it, rent it out, and make improvements to it.Does death automatically terminate a contract? ›
Contracts do not simply end automatically when our loved ones leave us. So it is important to inform the contractual partners and terminate contracts. In some cases, special termination options apply in the event of a death.Can a deceased person's phone be unlocked? ›
You'll most likely be required to provide: A copy of a death certificate. A copy of the deceased person's ID or passport. A copy of a certificate of inheritance or other documentation from a court that proves sole heirship or names and addresses of all heirs and consent that you are entitled to act on their behalf.Does death cancel all contracts? ›
The general rule is that the death of one of the parties to a contract does not discharge the contract.What is the succession law in New York State? ›
Under New York intestate succession law, your spouse will receive up to the first $50,000 of your estate, plus half of the balance. Your children will receive the rest evenly. New York entitles surviving spouses of decedents who have disinherited them to a piece of their estate.
Section 2523.5 - Notice for renewal of lease and renewal procedure (a) On a form prescribed or a facsimile of such form approved by the DHCR, dated by the owner, every owner, other than an owner of hotel accommodations, shall notify the tenant named in the expiring lease not more than 150 days and not less than 90 days ...What is Section 2503.5 of the NYC tenant Protection Regulations? ›
Section 2503.5 - Renewal of lease (a) On a form prescribed by the division signed and dated by the landlord, every landlord shall notify the tenant in occupancy not more than 120 days and not less than 90 days prior to the end of the tenant's lease term, by certified mail, of such termination of the lease term and ...