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Clearing deceased’s house after death

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My father recently died and council have cleared his house and sent me a bill for over £1000. Didn’t know about this cost. Wondering what constitutes an estate ? My father only had small amount of money in an account - nothing else ? Can the council   Legally pursue this? There is enough to cover this just but wondering where I sit legally with this cost ? 
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  • edited 27 March at 1:02PM
    xylophonexylophone Forumite
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    edited 27 March at 1:02PM
    An "estate" is a person's assets, whether cash. shares, real estate, chattels etc.
    This is a bill to be paid from the estate?
    Was your father's estate solvent?
    https://www.co-oplegalservices.co.uk/media-centre/articles-may-aug-2017/what-is-an-insolvent-estate/

  • LintonLinton Forumite
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    Are you the executor?  Did you (or the executor if not you) ask the council to clear the house?  Did you/executor agree the cost? £1000 is very expensive - Age Concern cleared my father's large 4 bedroom house for £250.  Perhaps the house clearance was part of the tenancy agreement - I assume that it was a council owned house.
    My conclusion is that if the executor asked the council to do the work and agreed the amount to be charged, or if the council was covered by the agreement under which your father held the house then the bill should be paid from the estate.
    If the circumstances were different can you explain?

  • Keep_pedallingKeep_pedalling Forumite
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    If a council has to clear one of there properties because the estate administrator failed to do so in reasonable time, then they will do it themselves and charge the estate the cost of doing so.

    Whether you need to pay it or not will depend on whether the estate is solvent or not. If there is nothing left after funeral costs then they cannot recover there costs from the family.
  • HampshireHHampshireH Forumite
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    ...ultimately yes they do have a right to do this. The terms of the tenancy agreement would be to hand the property back empty and in good condition.

    The Council would also have explained this if they had a point of contact /were asked. Usually when giving notice a letter is sent explaining how to return the property and keys.

    Alternatively their website would usually explain this too.

    This would fall to the executor to do and then claim the costs back from the estate. It is always cheaper to do it than have the council/housing association do it.

    £1000 isn't very expensive at all for actual costs if it had a lot in it. It's approximately £500 per skip load but items such as fridges, cookers, etc cost more to dispose of and incur extra charges. Plus VAT.

    Age concern however are a charity.£250 would never have covered their overheads let alone the costs to dispose of the items.

  • LintonLinton Forumite
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    I dont think Age Concern would clear a house unprofitably.  A surprising amount of the contents, even if apparently complete junk, can be recycled/resold which would cover the costs whereas the council could well just dump the lot.
  • Barbara44Barbara44 Forumite
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    I did not get informed about the clearance costs before I attended the premises and removed some personal possessions. I did not have the option of clearing myself. My father had no will and I’m the administrator. There are several debts but they can all be covered from little savings he had. The council property was rented - does that change Anything? 
  • elsienelsien Forumite
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    Didn't have the option because you couldn't do it in time, or because they didn't tell you?
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
  • ShelldeanShelldean Forumite
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    Hen my nan died in 2007, her council were less than helpful. She died on a bank holiday Sat. We notified them first chance, Tues. They fulled expected the keys there and then. Then they expected them on the Friday. We finally negotiated three weeks.
    My sis and i both with our own familes and dealing with the loss of our grandmother who'd brought us up, cleared thw house as best we could. Neither of us drove and at the time both were on benefits.
    Didnt manage to clear everything dueto having to travel to Nan's property and get back for end of school and the fact we couldn't afford any one to take stuff away for us.
    We left a three piece suite a brand new cooker with instructions that we couldnt give away. A few empty boxes that we'd forgotten to flatten and recycle. And the yellow pages.

    Handed the keys back on time and received a lovely bill of appox £1700. This is what the council said it cost them to clear the remaining bits. Included pictures...Including the yellow pages we'd left on the window sill for next tenant. Interestingly there was no picture of the brand new cooker!!!
    The council were adamant i personally owed them the cost. However i was aware the debt belonged to the estate not me! And as there was no money left after funeral expenses, I told them so!
    Took a few phone calls for the message to get through and they gave up!

    So in summary debt belongs to the estate not anyone else! And should be paid if there's funds in the estate.
  • Barbara44Barbara44 Forumite
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    Didn’t tell me - I live some distance away. Was told to take what I wanted and leave the rest. Not informed about clearance costs until about a week after I returned home ( they hadn’t cleared it at this point - but I had signed over keys to them) 
  • MojisolaMojisola Forumite
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    Barbara44 said:
    Didn’t tell me - I live some distance away. Was told to take what I wanted and leave the rest. Not informed about clearance costs until about a week after I returned home ( they hadn’t cleared it at this point - but I had signed over keys to them
    As you'd handed the keys over to them, you obviously weren't going to clear the property yourself.  The council will have a long waiting list and would have needed to get the property ready for another tenant.

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