Rent after death

by Readers Question

8:07 AM, 21st May 2014
About 4 years ago

Rent after death

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Rent after death

My late Uncle died in December 2013. He lived in rented property which I believe is owned and managed by the same company. His rent was completely up to date; in fact he had paid more as it was in advance. He had lived in the property for the whole of his 76 years with his mother and father living there before he was born. He has always paid his rent on time. Rent after death

The Letting Agent was notified by the police, the coroners office, the neighbour and me that their tenant had died. I also emptied the house and returned the key to the address I had; their head office in London.

I never heard a thing until March when they sent an invoice for unpaid rent in my name (which I had never given them and to my personal address, which I had never given them). I responded explaining that they had been notified of their tenant’s death and I sent a further death certificate.

They acknowledged receipt of the death certificate.

I received a further invoice for unpaid rent. I wrote again to explain the situation and they said there was still a liability as the key was not returned to the local office. They said that once they had received the key there would be no liability for rent.

I informed them that a key had been sent to the London office, but as it happened I had found a spare and sent that recorded delivery at the beginning of April explaining that as I had already notified them that the property was vacant and returned the key there was no liability for rent.

Today I received an invoice for unpaid rent for £1,499!

I have obviously written again recorded delivery, but in the meantime what re-dress do I have? This is amounting to harassment.

Thanks

Karen



Comments

Tessa Shepperson

8:11 AM, 21st May 2014
About 4 years ago

I have just done a post on my Landlord Law Blog which covers this situation: http://www.landlordlawblog.co.uk/2014/05/21/what-happens-to-a-tenancy-when-the-tenant-dies/

8:38 AM, 21st May 2014
About 4 years ago

The answer is as simple as this:
under English Law you cannot inherit another persons debts and if there is insufficient funds within the deceased's estate the debt dies with them.

The landlord in this case is doing what credit card companies try to do: make the family obligated to pay a debt they are not responsible for.

If you were the personal representative or executor of your uncles estate which has insufficient funds to meet or reduce the debt that's the end of the matter and you have no liability .........unless that is you have distributed the estate to quickly and then a debt appears afterwards then you will have personal liability.

Hopefully that will put your mind to rest?

Garry Streeter

Abiodun Ogunyemi

9:33 AM, 21st May 2014
About 4 years ago

The agents are just playing their mind games on you and trying to push their luck. If you had posted a set of keys to the property on recorded delivery in the first place to their head office, there is no way they will dispute the fact that the keys had been received as you will have proof of postage and for the fact that they are fully aware that the initial tenants had passed away should have closed the account on that particular rent.

You have done your bit to informed them, the council and the coroner has done their bit as well. For the fact that you had records of communication informing them that their tenant had passed on is good enough for you to prove in the court of law that they are fully aware and that they had decided to turn the clock against you by way of their harassment.

My advise if possible, record all telephone conversation noting the name and time of person you spoke to and let them know both on the phone and in writing that their actions towards the issues is been seen as an harassment and will be reported to both police and necessary authority.

Also, try and request for their complaint procedures and follow all their procedures (if any) outlined .

I believe along the way someone will see a good reasoning to what you are complaining about.

Best of luck.

Steve From Leicester

10:09 AM, 21st May 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Tessa Shepperson" at "21/05/2014 - 08:11":

Tessa,

Have you got things back to front on your article?

You begin by talking about "Periodic statutory tenancies" under Housing Act 1977" then go on to talk about "Periodic Assured tenancies" under the Housing Act 1988. Is that right?

AMENDMENT: My apologies - I think it is me who mis-read your article 🙂

Tessa Shepperson

10:16 AM, 21st May 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Steve From Leicester" at "21/05/2014 - 10:09":

Yes, I have just checked and does say ASTs. I have put it in bold in case it is likley to confuse anyone. Thanks for reading the article anyway!

Sally T

11:23 AM, 21st May 2014
About 4 years ago

If he lived there for 76 years he most likely would of been on a protected tenancy at a reduced rent. I'm surprised the company are messing about when they could be re-renting at a higher amount, not to mention that the property would have a higher value now.

Mike

18:08 PM, 21st May 2014
About 4 years ago

why I get a feeling that you should write them back stating that since your uncle lived there for all his life of 76 years, sure by now he must part own that property and that they should be refunding you a considerable amount of overpayments that he had made in all those years, imagine if he was paying that rent as part mortgage, by now he would have owned that place entirely.

Might be worth persuing that avenue, find out if he had any rights by staying there for such a long period, as I am no expert, but yes if they are acting cheeky, why not try to oversmart them. Tell them that your uncle actually now owns that property and they should arrange to send you title deeds so that you could dispose off his property and pay all his other debts off.

and on the other hand what proof is there that the property is not owned by your uncle, or he may have borrowed money on it so that his deeds are with this company and he may have cashed on equity on that house, I really don't know but yes it might be worth delving deeper into it, I have not known people living all their life in one place paying rent all their life.
Worth a try even if he has absolutely no stake in this house, just waste their time and give them some excuse and fright to scratch their head, even if it is baseless.

Lynette Morris

19:02 PM, 21st May 2014
About 4 years ago

It would be easier to take this response, though obviously well intentioned, more seriously , if it were less garbled and the grammar of a better standard.

The comment misses the basic, simple response: you cannot be held personably responsible for the debt of a third party.

Sally T

19:33 PM, 21st May 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Lynette Morris" at "21/05/2014 - 19:02":

If someone has taken time out to write a response, I think it extremely unfair that you should judge their literary skills. Some of this countries most successful business people didn't even finish their secondary school education, does it really matter that his full stops aren't in the right place ?

Mike Sosner

8:33 AM, 29th July 2014
About 4 years ago

No, if he was on a protected tenancy it may be that you are able to inherit this tenancy for which a low rent is liable. As the gentleman famously said RTBL! ("Read the bloody lease!") Do you get a property at low rent at your disposal? Heard of Rent-to-Rent? Can you sublet? If so, you may find yourself with an enduring asset. I would explore this option.

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