My tenant has unfortunately passed away in hospital?

by Readers Question

13:38 PM, 20th April 2020
About 11 months ago

My tenant has unfortunately passed away in hospital?

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My tenant has unfortunately passed away in hospital?

My tenant unfortunately passed away in March after she was hospitalised in February. Obviously things are difficult and  I haven’t received any rent for February to date.

I am currently still awaiting for her daughter to hand back the keys to the house. She was receiving housing benefit directly from DSS.

My agent had written to her daughter in March to ask for rent and she confirmed she was still waiting for probate.

What should I do next in this unfortunate situation?

Many thanks

Pradip

Comments

John Mac

9:37 AM, 22nd April 2020
About 11 months ago

Reply to the comment left by MP123 at 21/04/2020 - 23:40
Can't do that, the Tenancy is continuing & must be ended in the usual Legal way.

MP123

12:37 PM, 22nd April 2020
About 11 months ago

Reply to the comment left by at 22/04/2020 - 09:37
When the tenant has died? In social housing when the tenant dies it doesn’t matter if mother and daughter live together and the mother dies. The daughter has to get out. She has no security of tenure even if she has lived there for 20 years!

BB

13:03 PM, 22nd April 2020
About 11 months ago

Reply to the comment left by MP123 at 22/04/2020 - 12:37So how does this help? - as the deceased tenant isn't in Social Housing.
The simple truth is the tenancy passes on to the estate, as has been stated here. But given that the tenant was a recipient of HB, then there will be a cut off point for this, which can sometimes be very, very soon.
You as Ll or the agent must by law notify the DWP or LHA of the death.
Then the rental payments are paid from the estate or if you have a guarantor it then becomes their responsibility. So the sooner you make contact and present the facts, making all parties aware and that there needs to be a One month notice and a Deed of Surrender signed.

After this the property then needs to be cleared of the former tenants belongings.
Not a pleasant time, but one of practicalities and for you not to be overly sensitive.....remember it's a business, and you played no part in this death.

Beaver

13:32 PM, 22nd April 2020
About 11 months ago

Reply to the comment left by at 22/04/2020 - 09:37
The information I can see elsewhere online says that the tenancy can be ended by mutual agreement between the executors of the estate and the landlord.

So it seems to me that the most appropriate thing in the first instance is to contact the family and ask for a copy of the death certificate. The executor will normally respond. The information that I can see online also tells me that the rent has to be paid before the beneficiaries of the estate get paid anything from the estate. So it's both in their best interest, and your best interest for you to make contact.

Darlington Landlord

20:31 PM, 22nd April 2020
About 11 months ago

Reply to the comment left by BB at 22/04/2020 - 13:03
I have had a tenant taken to hospital and die. Housing benefit stops on date of death - I can't imagine UC will be any better, also any council tax benefit. As others have said the estate is liable for the rent and costs until a deed of surrender is signed by an executor. As this looks like a benefits case you will be doing them a favour to get in touch and explain the liability as soon as possible. I offered my tenants familly a couple of weeks rent free to remove possessions and clean.

Beaver

11:30 AM, 23rd April 2020
About 10 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Darlington Landlord at 22/04/2020 - 20:31
From memory the threshold for probate in the UK can range from £5,000 to £50,000. If you need care and have savings you get charged for care until you've only got about £20K left. And of course those kinds of savings would not necessarily allow you to buy a house. You might have some assets but little income.

So just because a tenant is on benefits it does not automatically follow that there is no estate. In fact, paying you some rent might just tip the executors from having to go through probate to not having to go through probate.

So at this stage you don't really know. But a polite request for a death certificate is a normal thing to do and flags up the fact that you have an interest in the situation. Pretty much anybody with a financial interest in the deceased that you contact after the death of someone for whom you are an executor results in a request for a death certificate.

BB

11:52 AM, 23rd April 2020
About 10 months ago

Beaver, this is just becoming unneccesarily complicated and your suggestions are not really addressing the situation Pradit finds themselves in. Anyone who is a recipient of HB would have less than £8,000 in savings and very possibly not have any real estate property. This isn't about the level of wealth in the estate for Probate.
The OP needs to keep this simple, keep it brief and get closure and the property re let, by means of the cheapest option.

Beaver

11:58 AM, 23rd April 2020
About 10 months ago

Reply to the comment left by BB at 23/04/2020 - 11:52
Whatever Pradit does he needs to keep it simple and polite; I know having done it that HMRC give you a year to go through probate. The people you have to deal with after someone is bereaved are often emotional and not thinking straight. I also know (having done it) that emptying the house of a deceased relative is an intensely emotional experience.

Beaver

13:46 PM, 23rd April 2020
About 10 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Beaver at 23/04/2020 - 11:58I think having found out from this discussion that John Mac was correct and the tenancy passes to the estate, this is what I would do.
There is no way that you could know the size of the estate. Just because the tenant was claiming benefits doesn't mean there isn't one.
So, in the first instance I would send my sincerest condolences, asking for a copy of the death certificate but keeping it really polite and if I had not already done it I would probably send a bereavement card. Having then done that I would wait a week and then I would follow up on that letter and I would write to the executors of the estate c.o. the daughter or to the executor depending upon what information you have.
In that letter I would say something like:
"Following on from my letter last week requesting a copy of the death certificate I understand that Mrs. [x] has unfortunately passed away in February. I am hereby giving the executors of the estate notice that I will be carrying out a landlord's inspection of the property on [date > 24 hours away]. As the property has been empty since February this carries no Covid19 risk.
If any of Mrs. [xs] belongings remain in the property may I politely point out to you that as the property has now been empty for six weeks they will no longer be covered by any insurance company."
And then I would inspect the property. If there is no response and if it appears that the contents of the property have zero or no value I would then very politely offer to clear the house but suggest to the executors that they might wish to remove any items of sentimental value first.
Once the house is empty I would then write to them and make them an offer to jointly end the tenancy. Once they've agreed to that I would send the estate an invoice for the unpaid rent.

BB

15:24 PM, 23rd April 2020
About 10 months ago

"There is no way that you could know the size of the estate. Just because the tenant was claiming benefits doesn't mean there isn't one"

Incorrect assumption and one which if it is proven, that there was excess in the estate such as savings, then a whole new can of worms shall be opened. As the landlord recieved rental income via HB from a Tenant whom was not entitled.

DWP may well try to recover these payments from either the landlord and/or the "deceased's estate"

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