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    • BaileySJ
    • By BaileySJ 12th Sep 17, 11:12 AM
    • 15Posts
    • 43Thanks
    BaileySJ
    Tenant Sadly Deceased
    • #1
    • 12th Sep 17, 11:12 AM
    Tenant Sadly Deceased 12th Sep 17 at 11:12 AM
    Good morning,

    I have been a Landlord for a number of years without any hassle (just the usual ad-hoc maintenance and Gas/Electricity checks).

    Very sadly over the weekend the tenant died in the property, unfortunately the police had to gain access by smashing the front door (frame and door destroyed). They died from natural causes and there are no additional issues / investigations (apart from the usual police reports etc).

    I am going to speak with Direct Line this morning - does anyone have any experience of making a claim for damage to the door in this situation? Also, the tenant was on Housing Benefit - will the property clearance ultimately be my responsibility, the authority or next of kin?

    The deposit is quite small and would not cover the work - plus, there will be some probate procedures to go through (as she has a daughter) and to be honest I don't want to start talking money with them as this is distressing enough for them.

    Any advice or things I should be doing would be greatly appreciated - It is let through an agency and I they *seem* to be on top of things.

    Many thanks
Page 1
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 12th Sep 17, 11:24 AM
    • 5,780 Posts
    • 5,531 Thanks
    davidmcn
    • #2
    • 12th Sep 17, 11:24 AM
    • #2
    • 12th Sep 17, 11:24 AM
    I think it's likely not to be an insured risk (it's not criminal damage, for example), and I doubt tenants have an obligation not to die behind a locked door, so it may be your problem.


    You'll need to give the executors a chance to clear the property (any possessions etc belong to the estate), you can only take possession after the lease has been terminated in one of the usual ways.
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 12th Sep 17, 11:28 AM
    • 15,054 Posts
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    AdrianC
    • #3
    • 12th Sep 17, 11:28 AM
    • #3
    • 12th Sep 17, 11:28 AM
    Ultimately, the usual rules apply.

    If there are costs arising from returning the property to the expected condition at the end of the tenancy (normal wear and tear apart), then the tenant is responsible for them. Where the tenant is deceased, then their estate is liable for the costs. If the tenant's estate cannot cover the costs, then the debt is not recoverable from anybody else. The deposit you hold is an asset of the estate, less any legitimate deductions.

    Property clearance is the estate's responsibility - the contents are assets of the estate, and any cost you as landlord incur in disposing of unwanted contents is a legitimate deduction from the deposit, just the same as if the tenant had done a runner.

    Likewise, you'd be entitled to demand rent for the period until notice is deemed served.

    The question is more a moral one of how far you take it...
    • xylophone
    • By xylophone 12th Sep 17, 11:30 AM
    • 22,864 Posts
    • 13,223 Thanks
    xylophone
    • #4
    • 12th Sep 17, 11:30 AM
    • #4
    • 12th Sep 17, 11:30 AM
    unfortunately the police had to gain access by smashing the front door (frame and door destroyed).
    They couldn't have called a locksmith?
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 12th Sep 17, 11:34 AM
    • 59,874 Posts
    • 350,079 Thanks
    PasturesNew
    • #5
    • 12th Sep 17, 11:34 AM
    • #5
    • 12th Sep 17, 11:34 AM
    Technically, the tenant still has a home they are renting from you - just because they died doesn't mean you can waltz back in to "your property", so you need to find out soonest how to end that tenancy - what does the tenant's daughter want to happen? What timescales?

    The fact no rent is being paid by HB doesn't change the basic law.

    You need to cross the t's and dot the i's, in case you do something catastrophically wrong through not knowing.
    • marliepanda
    • By marliepanda 12th Sep 17, 11:34 AM
    • 4,649 Posts
    • 9,313 Thanks
    marliepanda
    • #6
    • 12th Sep 17, 11:34 AM
    • #6
    • 12th Sep 17, 11:34 AM
    They couldn't have called a locksmith?
    Originally posted by xylophone
    It depends whether they were concerned for welfare of the person inside (hurt, fallen etc) or knew they were dead. if they were concerned someone was inside needing emergency help, then no, they won't wait for a locksmith.
    Survey Earnings 2017 - £163
    • Guest101
    • By Guest101 12th Sep 17, 11:42 AM
    • 15,147 Posts
    • 14,748 Thanks
    Guest101
    • #7
    • 12th Sep 17, 11:42 AM
    • #7
    • 12th Sep 17, 11:42 AM
    Good morning,

    I have been a Landlord for a number of years without any hassle (just the usual ad-hoc maintenance and Gas/Electricity checks).

    Very sadly over the weekend the tenant died in the property, unfortunately the police had to gain access by smashing the front door (frame and door destroyed). They died from natural causes and there are no additional issues / investigations (apart from the usual police reports etc).

    I am going to speak with Direct Line this morning - does anyone have any experience of making a claim for damage to the door in this situation? - unless the police wish to pay for it? Also, the tenant was on Housing Benefit - will the property clearance ultimately be my responsibility, the authority or next of kin? - Uhm well that's the estate, so it's executor who would arrange it. Certainly NO-ONE else has any right to touch or take it

    The deposit is quite small and would not cover the work - what work? - plus, there will be some probate procedures to go through (as she has a daughter) and to be honest I don't want to start talking money with them as this is distressing enough for them.

    Any advice or things I should be doing would be greatly appreciated - It is let through an agency and I they *seem* to be on top of things.

    Many thanks
    Originally posted by BaileySJ


    Nothing has changed, you need to secure the property and the tenancy continues
    • BaileySJ
    • By BaileySJ 12th Sep 17, 11:46 AM
    • 15 Posts
    • 43 Thanks
    BaileySJ
    • #8
    • 12th Sep 17, 11:46 AM
    • #8
    • 12th Sep 17, 11:46 AM
    I'm not intending to 'waltz back in' - I am just trying to be decent to the family who has lost someone whilst being mindful of the fact that this is likely to be quite costly for me. The door alone is £750 + VAT, plus in all likelihood 2-3 months at least paying a mortgage without rent.

    I cannot see me being able to pursue the lost rent from the family (nor would I really want to). I am more looking for advice on who is reasonably responsible for stuff.
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 12th Sep 17, 11:50 AM
    • 15,054 Posts
    • 13,375 Thanks
    AdrianC
    • #9
    • 12th Sep 17, 11:50 AM
    • #9
    • 12th Sep 17, 11:50 AM
    I cannot see me being able to pursue the lost rent from the family
    Originally posted by BaileySJ
    No, you can't. You can only pursue it from the estate of the deceased tenant. This is a very important distinction... It doesn't move from being the deceased's estate to being the property of those who inherit until all debts are settled, and all assets are gathered in. That's when the executors know how much (if anything) can be distributed.

    I am more looking for advice on who is reasonably responsible for stuff.
    As with any end of tenancy - the tenant, then you.
    • Slithery
    • By Slithery 12th Sep 17, 11:51 AM
    • 166 Posts
    • 228 Thanks
    Slithery
    Rent is still due until the tenancy is properly ended, you should be putting in a claim for this from the deceased's estate.
    • saajan_12
    • By saajan_12 12th Sep 17, 11:52 AM
    • 757 Posts
    • 495 Thanks
    saajan_12
    The money can be sorted later, the immediate issue relating to the tenancy is what happens to the house. Talk to the daughter / executor re

    1) when they can clear the house and access arrangements

    2) termination date.. serve notice or even better, agree a mutual termination with the executor so the estate stops being liable for rent and you can re rent the property without waiting for 1-2 months for notice to expire.

    3) The estate is liable for the full rent until termination and any damages / cleaning costs. You have to return the deposit less these deductions to the estate.
    • Guest101
    • By Guest101 12th Sep 17, 11:52 AM
    • 15,147 Posts
    • 14,748 Thanks
    Guest101
    I'm not intending to 'waltz back in' - I am just trying to be decent to the family who has lost someone whilst being mindful of the fact that this is likely to be quite costly for me. - Great, so offer to end the tenancy at a time of their choosing. The door alone is £750 + VAT, plus in all likelihood 2-3 months at least paying a mortgage without rent. - Why 2-3 months?

    I cannot see me being able to pursue the lost rent from the family (nor would I really want to) - no you pursue the estate! how many times . I am more looking for advice on who is reasonably responsible for stuff.
    Originally posted by BaileySJ
    You are responsible for the security of the house.
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 12th Sep 17, 11:54 AM
    • 59,874 Posts
    • 350,079 Thanks
    PasturesNew
    The police won't pay for the door, that's a fact.
    They were called to gain entry because of concerns for the tenant, so forced an entry. That's the end of it from their point of view as the call wasn't malicious and did turn out to be a problem they had to solve.

    The tenant wasn't "at fault" for the police breaking down the door either - they weren't doing anything illegal.

    If they'd broken in because the tenant was a drugs dealer they were after, you'd be able to pursue the tenant for it as they were the cause of the damage.

    This is just one of those things .... it's tax deductible as a cost to your business.
    • Crashy Time
    • By Crashy Time 12th Sep 17, 12:13 PM
    • 4,790 Posts
    • 2,104 Thanks
    Crashy Time
    I take it you didn`t know the tenant well, as money seems to be your main concern here?
    • G_M
    • By G_M 12th Sep 17, 12:20 PM
    • 41,067 Posts
    • 47,178 Thanks
    G_M
    Check your insurance policy. Some cover damage caused by the emergency services, some don't.

    Your priorities are

    1) make the property secure
    2) establish who the Executers of the will are, or if no will, who the Administrator is going to be

    Then you negotiate with the executer/administrator:

    3) to get the property cleared
    4) to agree a tenancy end date
    5) to get the rent paid up till that date
    6) to return the deposit/agree deductions (the door?)

    Now how sympathetic/legalistic you tae this is up to you. If you know or find out that the deceased's estate has no assets (eg to pay rent) you may wish to put pressure on the executers to do 3& 4 rapidly, as 5 will not happen.

    Or you may choose to give them time to grieve, come to terms with the loss, make their decsions etc.

    edit: some posters above seem to be suggesting you are not acting sufficiently sympathetically (eg just worried about money). I don't see that in your post. You seem to me to simply want to understand your position & obligations, which is just sensible. It's not a scenario landlords come across tha often.
    Last edited by G_M; 12-09-2017 at 12:22 PM.
    • BaileySJ
    • By BaileySJ 12th Sep 17, 12:22 PM
    • 15 Posts
    • 43 Thanks
    BaileySJ
    I did not know the tenant at all - I am however, aware that she is not well off at all hence why I don't mind payment coming from the deposit (which was put up by the local authority) but have no interest in pursuing her estate. I was hoping the insurance might have been an option.

    I can assure you money is not the important thing here, but there is also a limit to what I am able to cover.
    • Missus Hyde
    • By Missus Hyde 12th Sep 17, 12:25 PM
    • 287 Posts
    • 414 Thanks
    Missus Hyde
    There's some rather unkind and unfair comments towards OP in this thread; hardly his fault the tenant died in his property and from his posts it sounds as if he's trying to deal with a difficult situation as sensitively as he can (which ultimately looks anyway as if he'll have to pick up the bill for the damage done to his front door.)

    OP, I'm afraid that landlords are considered by some to be the devil incarnate, no matter how much they try to deal fairly with their tenants.
    It's a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known........Sydney Carton.
    • G_M
    • By G_M 12th Sep 17, 12:49 PM
    • 41,067 Posts
    • 47,178 Thanks
    G_M
    ....but have no interest in pursuing her estate. I was hoping the insurance might have been an option.

    .
    Originally posted by BaileySJ
    That depends

    a) what policies you have eg rent protection?
    and
    b) what they cover (read the small print)
    • Guest101
    • By Guest101 12th Sep 17, 12:57 PM
    • 15,147 Posts
    • 14,748 Thanks
    Guest101
    There's some rather unkind and unfair comments towards OP in this thread; hardly his fault the tenant died in his property and from his posts it sounds as if he's trying to deal with a difficult situation as sensitively as he can (which ultimately looks anyway as if he'll have to pick up the bill for the damage done to his front door.)

    OP, I'm afraid that landlords are considered by some to be the devil incarnate, no matter how much they try to deal fairly with their tenants.
    Originally posted by Missus Hyde


    OR and here's a little tip, the LL is a commercial provider (no different to Sainsbury's) and therefore is expected to accommodate business expenses.


    You are making it personal, the rest of us as simply viewing this as a commercial interest.
    • AnotherJoe
    • By AnotherJoe 12th Sep 17, 1:01 PM
    • 7,226 Posts
    • 7,735 Thanks
    AnotherJoe
    I did not know the tenant at all - I am however, aware that she is not well off at all hence why I don't mind payment coming from the deposit (which was put up by the local authority) but have no interest in pursuing her estate. I was hoping the insurance might have been an option.

    I can assure you money is not the important thing here, but there is also a limit to what I am able to cover.
    Originally posted by BaileySJ
    Unless ask the executors to pay up (which you say you don't want to) you'll have to suck it up. If you can't afford it you should get out of the LL business.
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