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  1. #1
    othersider2 is offline Member
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    Tenant dies during lease

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? PA

    My tenant died 4 months into our year lease agreement, a standard PA association of realtors residential lease. Her family has not established an estate yet. I have told them they must do that. Rent is due in April. My understanding is that the lease automatically transfers to the estate. But what happens if there is no estate by April 1? Do I consider it abandonment? Can I take possession of the dwelling (they will have her belongings out by Tuesday - they have her key)? I have a month rent security deposit, a pet security deposit, and two last months rent. Do I owe anyone anything? What if the family raises the estate after I have already rented the dwelling to another tenant?What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)?What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)?
  2. #2
    FarmerJ is online now Senior Member
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    You wrote > I have a month rent security deposit, a pet security deposit, and two last months rent < so if thats the case let them get the unit empty and go in check for damage and then make your repairs and begin to find a new customer , If for example you find a new tenant who has paid and in the unit by april 15 then you could fairly keep a pro rated amount of the prepaid rent and reasonable advertising cost and refund the difference to the estate of the tenant via certified mail , Also you still need to do a deposit disposition with in your states time lines to the estate , IF you have no address other than the tenants address of record, ( your units) send it there. Keep all communications in writing with the estate of the tenant sent at least via confirmed mail delivery or certified mail.
  3. #3
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    For future reference, you have taken WAY more security deposit then is allowed by PA law. PA allows you to hold a MAXIMUM of two months rent, total. You can call it "security deposit" or "pet deposit" or "last months rent" or whatever you want, but in the eyes of the law, it's all considered a deposit, and it can't be more then 2 months rent. So, don't do that.

    Let the family collect her belongings in peace, try to cut them a little slack. Then once they are out, get the place ready, document any damages, and start looking for new tenants. Once you find one, calculate how much rent she would ACTUALLY owe, add in any damages, and refund the remainder to the estate. You don't have to worry about whether they've established one or not, unless it turns out that you are completely unable to find a new tenant until the lease expires and you end up being owed rent. But how likely is that really? In the (much more likely) event that you end up owing her, just make the check out to the estate of (tenant) and mail it off to the next of kin. They will figure out how to cash it.
  4. #4
    othersider2 is offline Member
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    ecmst12 - i will give the extra money back. could i be sued just for the fact that i took that much? I mean, would I have to pay not only the money I took but also a penalty because it was against the law?
  5. #5
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    Well, if I were you, I would try to avoid getting sued because of this. I'm sure the last thing the grieving family wants to do is to sue you, so just be fair and reasonable with them and they will probably do the same, ya know?
  6. #6
    othersider2 is offline Member
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    OK. I told the family that if they raised the estate by month's end, we can legally terminate the lease immediately, but if they didn't, the lease would continue on and the estate (when established) would be responsible for April's rent. Was I right?
  7. #7
    Alaska landlord is offline Senior Member
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    I will have to disagree with all the replies you have obtained so far.
    Unless you take possession and secure all property left behind, you can be sued by the surving family members for property that they feel belonged to them. In these situations, family members often fight for whatever property they feel rightfully belongs to them and you may be caught in the middle. The estate should not be devided until the courts decides who is to manage the estate. You give no money back until your rent and damages have been assessed.
  8. #8
    Alaska landlord is offline Senior Member
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    I figure this will be of some help.


    [url=http://books.google.com/books?id=-3ZLpJWmy1gC&pg=PA325&lpg=PA325&dq=WHEN+A+TENANT+DIES%2BPROPERTY&source=bl&ots=y8wAQTrBTc&sig=aS-bMt5amH_CcHSzHNf1AfH90_4&hl=en&ei=y1a7SeuWG5XaMeSYuZcI&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=2&ct=result]Every Landlord's Legal Guide - Google Book Search[/url]
  9. #9
    Cvillecpm is offline Senior Member
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    Yes, lease transfers to tenant's heirs or assigns and they are responsible for the rent.

    You need to write them and advise them to remove the furniture from the unit and CLEAN it so that you can re-rent and mitigate the "DAMAGES" due by the tenant's estate.

    This is where the tenant's application is so important. Yes, you want evidence you are providing the unit key to the correct person and you start with the nearest relative information on their application.

    Lastly, do not use a REALTOR generated lease UNLESS you are a REALTOR or CLIENT of a REALTOR.
  10. #10
    marcdonovan is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cvillecpm View Post
    Yes, lease transfers to tenant's heirs or assigns and they are responsible for the rent.

    You need to write them and advise them to remove the furniture from the unit and CLEAN it so that you can re-rent and mitigate the "DAMAGES" due by the tenant's estate.

    This is where the tenant's application is so important. Yes, you want evidence you are providing the unit key to the correct person and you start with the nearest relative information on their application.

    Lastly, do not use a REALTOR generated lease UNLESS you are a REALTOR or CLIENT of a REALTOR.
    The heirs are not responsible for any debts of the deceased. Did you mean the estate?

    The estate has not caused any "damages"

    Whats wrong with using a realtor lease?
  11. #11
    Cvillecpm is offline Senior Member
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    Wink

    The heirs and assigns are responsible for the amount UP TO THE VALUE OF THE ESTATE.

    Realtor forms are for the use of REALTORS for the benefit of their clients. If you are NEITHER, then the lease could be voided by a smart tenant's attorney.

    It has ALREADY happened in Texas WITH the help of the Texas Association of Realtors....landlords have gotten the TAR lease and tenants' attorneys have challenged and had the LEASE VOIDED since the landlord had no RIGHT to use the copyrighted document.
  12. #12
    othersider2 is offline Member
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    I obtained the PA Assoc of Realtors lease from the real estate agent who represented us when we bought our primary residence. She gave me a lease to use with the rental property we own. So doesn't that make me the client of a realtor, and wouldn't that hold up in court?
  13. #13
    Cvillecpm is offline Senior Member
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    No * you are not the client since she does not manage the property. By doing a "good thing" she may well have violated the NAR code of ethics and the PAR bylaws.

    Think about it...if EVERYONE could use the lease form, why isn't it on the web for all to take as the wish?
  14. #14
    othersider2 is offline Member
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    Ok-so I have an invalid lease. How should I now proceed to take possession back and settle with the estate?
  15. #15
    marcdonovan is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cvillecpm View Post
    The heirs and assigns are responsible for the amount UP TO THE VALUE OF THE ESTATE.
    This is just plain wrong. The estate is responsible; the heirs are not.

    Who are the "assigns?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Cvillecpm View Post
    Realtor forms are for the use of REALTORS for the benefit of their clients. If you are NEITHER, then the lease could be voided by a smart tenant's attorney.

    It has ALREADY happened in Texas WITH the help of the Texas Association of Realtors....landlords have gotten the TAR lease and tenants' attorneys have challenged and had the LEASE VOIDED since the landlord had no RIGHT to use the copyrighted document.
    This sounds like another Realtor myth. Can you paste a link? If not, then I have to file this in the same category that says you can't assume a loan that is non-assumable. My title attorney tried to tell me this and I asked him to show me why not. He couldn't.

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