Death of a Tenant

by Readers Question

11:42 AM, 21st April 2015
About 4 years ago

Death of a Tenant

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Death of a Tenant

My Tenant since 23.07.2007 has died unexpectedly in hospital. He had recently married at the beginning of this year, but without his pension his wife will probably unable to continue to pay the rent beyond his meager savings, which she could take several months to inherit. Death of a Tenant

I could down size the flat to assist this nice lady, but this would probably only be a temporary solution.

What if any precautions I should follow in this situation.

Thanks

Barry



Comments

Mark Alexander

11:47 AM, 21st April 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi Barry

It is important that you realise that the bereaved friends and family are probably just as worried about about finances as you are .... perhaps even more so.

Have you considered meeting with them?

Would you consider allowing your tenant to take in a lodger to help pay the rent?

What benefits is the lady entitled to?

Have social services and/or Citizens Advice been consulted?

It may well be that friends and family will help, perhaps even guarantee the rent and make payment. If you don't communicate effectively you will never know.

Arguably the worst and most callous thing you could do in this situation, especially without investigating all of the above, would be to serve notice. This is the nuclear option so think very carefully before you reach out towards that big red button.
.

Riverside Property

8:19 AM, 22nd April 2015
About 4 years ago

Thanks your comments Mark, all of which have been considered and I'm sure the relevant authorities are helping / advising the widow accordingly.

I have no intention to putting financial pressure on the situation, but was curious to learn of your/your readers experiences in this situation.

Thanks again, Barry

Mark Alexander

10:34 AM, 22nd April 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Riverside Property" at "22/04/2015 - 08:19":

Thankfully I have only had one experience so passing away so far. It was a different set of circumstances and it happened in 2012. My article and member discussions can be found here >>> http://www.property118.com/my-tenant-has-died/27383/
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Mandy Thomson

11:14 AM, 22nd April 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi Barry

Is the lady of state pension age? Even if she has made insufficient contributions during her working life, she might still be able to claim pension credit, assuming she's at least 62 and doesn't have too many savings or assets http://www.ageuk.org.uk/money-matters/claiming-benefits/pension-credit/who-can-claim-pension-credit/

Anyone eligible for pension credit is also likely to qualify for local housing allowance.

In any event, your tenant's widow would be advised to visit her local Age UK branch (even if she's under retirement age herself, she was financially dependent on a pensioner) where they can offer excellent advice and direct assistance with benefit claims. Unfortunately, many older people simply assume they're not entitled to state benefits and never apply.

Carol Thomas

13:50 PM, 22nd April 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi Barry
This happened to me last year, the only difference being that the main tenant was the lady's partner and he had not included her in his will!
NOTE TO ALL - Make A Will ASAP
She managed for the first month or two. Then she borrowed from family, finally she got assistance from the council, which was woefully less than the actual rent. I had become very friendly with the couple and as they had returned from Spain, she had no friends at all, so I stepped in to help. Upshot - I got so stressed that I decided to evict her. She wanted me to do this too.
It was at this time that I decided to take Mark's advice and put my properties with Lettingsupermarket. They handled the eviction process and got a brilliant new tenant in a matter of days!! They have been amazing and it might help you to put your property/ies with them at some stage.
It's never an easy position to be in but you are running a business so you can be as kind as you want but you will still need to be paid. ( by the way, my tenant left owing hundreds of pounds, which I'll never see, and it took months to get the deposit as she threw all documents away!!!)
Best of luck and I hope it goes well....

Renovate To let

7:59 AM, 23rd April 2015
About 4 years ago

I think in these situations you have to wear both a human hat and a business one.

As the wife in occupation at the time of the death, she has inherited the tenancy, regardless of whether she was named on it. It remains the same tenancy in regards to length, whether it's in fixed term or not, rent etc. Clearly this is not what would have happened had she applied to rent by herself as you would have reference checked her etc.

If would be a good idea to make sure she realises this is the situation while helping her understand how stuff in the property works (as you would with a new tenant) and providing your bank details etc for the rent along with how to report problems. That age bracket is often 'conventional' in that 'all that' might have been the husband's role so she may be totally confused.

It would be kind to ask if she has family or other assistance with making the best of her new situation (eg council tax single occupancy discount, going though the online benefits checker etc). If you want to offer a smaller place at this point then you could do so but clearly that means a surrender and a new minimum 6 month period so would need care re affordability.

I think that backing off and leaving her to it is not the right approach as she may be in need of your help but not dare to ask for it. So much of the financial assistance she might be entitled to is not backdated and so early application is vital before debts mount.

If you offer to downsize her, she would get a new 6 month minimum term so you would need to be sure of affordability rather than add to her problems.

Riverside Property

20:06 PM, 23rd April 2015
About 4 years ago

Thank you all for your recent comments.

My recently widowed unemployed lady Tenant is receiving advice from the local authorities, but I gather she is getting very frustrated with the form filling especially at the Job Centre Plus who pass her from person to person within the building.
I have completed the local council Proof of Rent form for her today, but I guess it will take time for anything to happen there. Rent is due today, but I have advised the nice lady to leave financial matters until after her husband's funeral, the cost of which she can ill afford. Would you believe she thought he owned my flat !

Thanks again, Barry

Mandy Thomson

20:23 PM, 23rd April 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Riverside Property" at "23/04/2015 - 20:06":

I strongly advise you both to book an appointment with Age UK - given that her husband, your tenant, was a pensioner, I'm sure they'll be able to offer SOME assistance. Unfortunately, Job Centre staff are given very little training, despite the complex benefit system, so they are often at a loss to deal with a case that isn't straight forward.

It seems likely that the lady will qualify for a funeral payment, though she will have to wait pending her benefit claim https://www.gov.uk/funeral-payments/eligibility


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