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breaking a lease by death

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our long term tenant died. we had a lease which stated a 60 day notice for vacating. The tenant's family gave us 10 days notice. One of the family members asked for the security deposit to be returned. We discussed and all agreed that no security deposit would be returned and we would not press the lease issue. To further complicate matters, our elderly sisters in the upper unit asked if they could move downstairs to the prior tenant's unit. It took us 2 months to rent the upper unit. Suddenly we receive a certified letter from dead tenants attorney that family is suing us for security deposit X's 2!

In that you have been contacted by an attorney, you should promptly contact a local lawyer that knows about security deposits and landlord and tenant issues.

If your two-flat was in Chicago, you would have a problem (or two) if you did not strictly comply with Chicago's Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance.

Call a local lawyer promptly, and learn about your position. Once you do that, you may want to get back here and tell us what you have found out (be careful, as the lawyer who contacted you to make a claim against you may be "lurking" here.


This is a tricky issue........You have a tenant that cannot give 60 days notice because..well.. because He DEAD!

Plus you did not give a detailed accounting of any of the damages to justify the keeping of the security deposit.

The dead tenant must pay that months rent, If he died say on the 5th and they moved his stuff on the 15th...the rent still is paid for the month...so you lost Nothing!

YOU as a landlord must make a good faith attempt to re- rent the apartment, For the NEXT RENTAL PERIOD... and since your sisters wanted to move downstairs THAT would be considered re-renting the apartment, and you would NOT have lost any rent on the dead tenant! Then you would have return the secuirty

And since you did not immediately look to re rent the bottom apartment, or the top depending on what your sisters did...you have no reason to keep the security. And i guess by law they can sue for double the security back.

So did your sisters move in yet? Did you re-rent the other apartment yet? when was his rent due on the 1st? when did he die?

Did he have 2 months security deposit with you?

[Edited by dj1 on 05-19-2001 at 10:48 AM]

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