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View Full Version : Can landlord recover rent arrears after tenant dies?



Wickerman
28-03-2008, 10:56 AM
What would you do if a student tenant dies and you have a guarantor?

Would you

a) Write the debt off

b) Collect it from the guarantors (and look bad)

http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/Landlord-demands-family-pay-rent.3925167.jp

I would love to know who the agents are (I run a small agency in Liverpool so I KNOW it is not me!), but ultimately it would be down to the landlord - no-one would come out of this well if option b) is picked...

jeffrey
28-03-2008, 10:59 AM
What would you do if a student tenant dies and you have a guarantor?

Would you

a) Write the debt off

b) Collect it from the guarantors (and look bad)
There are three options:
those two PLUS sending demand to Deceased T's personal representatives. The debt survives T's death and is due from his/her estate.
Best: guarantor.
Next best: personal representatives.
Worst: writing-off. Why should L make free gift to T's beneficiaries?

Ericthelobster
28-03-2008, 19:16 PM
Worst: writing-off. Why should L make free gift to T's beneficiaries?But this was a student, who was no doubt in debt anyway - highly unlikely to have an estate to leave to beneficiaries. Furthermore, it sounds as if the tenant was up to date with the rent when she died, and it's the rent for the rest of the contract that the landlord is chasing for.

Pretty distasteful if you ask me.

SellUpAndCallItQuits
28-03-2008, 22:42 PM
I'd write it off, at the most I'd expect payment until I found a new tenant but only if offered.

Situation would be different for an older tenant in the event of a natural death, especially if the estate had the money to pay.

davidjohnbutton
29-03-2008, 10:37 AM
Within a month of the death of my late mother who was a life tenant in a trust set up by my late father, I was faced with a capital gains tax bill of some £16000 (based on the trustees disposing of what was effectively their asset to me as remainderman i.e. the last one in the trust to inherit).

I was grieving sure, I had just lost my second parent. I would have loved the inland revenue to say "Well look, this man has just lost his mother, maybe we should write off his liability otherwise we will look bad to out public" No they didn't, and they charged me interest on it too - I had to sell one of the houses to meet the bill!

Now when I contrast that with what these parents are going through - yes, the death of a child is horrible - my parents in law lost their eldest daughter to a heart attack at 34 years - things still had to be paid - the funeral etc and arrears of council tax.

And then I look at my own status as a landlord and what would I do. Well, I have had two tenants die on me - I keep a very tight rein on payments, so the maximum I have had to deal with in these cases was 4 weeks arrears - I simply charged rent to date of death and gave the relatives/reps two weeks without charge to clear the house - in actual practice this was done within 3 days in both cases because I had a good relationship with both tenants and had met their relatives at some stage or other.

What would I do in the situation of this student death? I would not have gone in like a bull in a china shop for starters - I would have charged rent up to date of death and regarded the contract as frustrated by death. I would have asked and indeed helped if need be, that the let be cleared ASAP but certainly within 2 weeks. I would only have gone after guarantors if there were arrears accumulated before death and even then it would have been on an easy pay plan and if those arrears had been less than 4 weeks, I would have written them off against tax. I would have relet the place ASAP.
That seems to me to be the most merciful and sensible solution.

Bel
29-03-2008, 12:46 PM
I wonder what the council housing or housing associations do as this must happen all the time.

davidjohnbutton
29-03-2008, 14:01 PM
From what I have seen on TV's Life of Grime - when a tenant dies and there are no relatives, the local council go through a process of finding out if there are any assets to pay the rent/tax and funeral costs. This involves searching the deceased's premises and bank accounts etc.

Of course, councils and HA's won't have guarantors to fall back on. So failing the above searches being successful, I expect they will report the losses to comittee and eventually it will be written off.

jackboy
29-03-2008, 20:17 PM
I think it's very difficult. A post on here before was about a guy who had 'died' but actually he just wanted to get out of paying his debt or something and landlord saw him a few months later. Somebody said shld ask to see the death certificate but in reality this wld be very hard to do i guess.

domehead
30-03-2008, 22:03 PM
I would love to know who the agents are (I run a small agency in Liverpool so I KNOW it is not me!), but ultimately it would be down to the landlord - no-one would come out of this well if option b) is picked...

Since then, her parents, Kevin and Margaret, of Co Armagh, Northern Ireland, have received demands from student accommodation specialists Brownlow Property Management (BPM), based in Wavertree

Bel
30-03-2008, 22:41 PM
Since then, her parents, Kevin and Margaret, of Co Armagh, Northern Ireland, have received demands from student accommodation specialists Brownlow Property Management (BPM), based in Wavertree

If the LL identity is protected, then only the agency will get the bad publicity. Then again, they could get a few more LL's because they have shown themselves to be extremely dedicated to the cause of collecting rent.!!

Imp
31-03-2008, 08:04 AM
Does the contract out live the tenant, or does the contract expire when the tenant does? I don't know contract law, so would be interested whether you can be forced to honour a contract even after death.

jeffrey
31-03-2008, 09:51 AM
Does the contract out live the tenant, or does the contract expire when the tenant does? I don't know contract law, so would be interested whether you can be forced to honour a contract even after death.
All 1988 Act tenancies are governed by s.1(1)(b) which means that, to be within the Act, T must occupy property as only or principal home. Of course, death of T does not mean automatic termination of tenancy- merely that the Act then ceases to apply.

Shawnus
01-04-2008, 09:09 AM
Well, they did withdraw her rent from the bank account after she died, so I would leave it there.

I know that inland revenue would still pursue taxes after death, but they don't really have to rely on having a good reputation, we're all forced to deal with them anyway.

jeffrey
31-07-2008, 17:25 PM
The Hartlepool canoist, however, wasn't as dead as all that- so I hope that his creditors keep closer tabs on him this time round.

Mars Mug
31-07-2008, 17:33 PM
I know where he's a tenant for the next 6 years or so;)

jeffrey
31-07-2008, 17:40 PM
I know where he's a tenant for the next 6 years or so;)
Licensee, not tenant. For housing aspects, see s.14 (Cells) in Prison Act 1952. Not much in there about owner's duties to occupant, except s.14(2) re certification that its size/lighting/heating/ventilation/fittings are adeqate, but I'm sure that at least the windows won't fall out...

Mars Mug
31-07-2008, 17:45 PM
Sorry, my mistake. Does that mean that if he damages the window trying to open it he won't be liable?

monomep
30-07-2009, 12:10 PM
I'd simply drop it, as a matter of good taste.
But I'm not surprised that something like this would be an issue in England, neither am I surprised about agencies pressing to collect the outstanding rent. It seems like this country's tenancy law is but a big joke, founded on the landlord's Doberman mentality of days gone by.

Poppy
30-07-2009, 23:11 PM
Why have you resurrected a thread that ended 364 days ago?

Mars Mug
31-07-2009, 06:31 AM
For a birthday party?

Sportingdad
31-07-2009, 07:52 AM
I think it's very difficult. A post on here before was about a guy who had 'died' but actually he just wanted to get out of paying his debt or something and landlord saw him a few months later. Somebody said shld ask to see the death certificate but in reality this wld be very hard to do i guess.

Yes it was me, I've had a few die over the years but the most memorable was the "deeply shocked" tenants son (50yo) came in to advise the father (75 ?) had passed on and that he would bag everything up , we agreed, returned deposit only to see the father walking down the road a few weeks later.

Have had a couple of genuine under 25's die which is terrible but also have had a tenant advise that they have to leave mid-tenancy because the mothers popped it and when I phoned the father who was the guarantor as the tenant thought after telling me that he could move out instantly his mother picked the phone up !

Bottom line cynical as I maybe people will lie nowadays without guilt, I just ask nicely for a death certificate for Insurance purposes.

Mars Mug
31-07-2009, 08:03 AM
Yes it was me, I've had a few die over the years but the most memorable was the "deeply shocked" tenants son (50yo) came in to advise the father (75 ?) had passed on and that he would bag everything up , we agreed, returned deposit only to see the father walking down the road a few weeks later.

You should have run him over because as far as you were concerned he was already dead ;)