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Death of a Tenant

By Daniela Nelson


Although it is not pleasant to speak about, sometimes death during a tenancy does occur. When a tenant passes away there can be heightened emotions and stress for all involved. I hope this article assists in understanding the process of what happens if someone passes away while living in your investment property.


Death of a tenant when it is a sole tenancy

When the sole tenant, or single leaseholder, of the property, passes away the lease comes to a complete end as per the date noted on their death certificate. Any rent paid past this date needs to be refunded to the executor of the will.

As you can imagine this is a very hard time for families and loved ones. As a Property Manager, I give them as much time as they need to finalise their affairs and hand the property back to us. This is where having the right landlord insurance becomes very important as some families need more time than others. Sometimes it takes several weeks before we can commence advertising and hold viewings to secure a new tenant. Some landlord insurance companies (depending on your particular policy) will cover the loss of rent from the day that a tenant passes away until the day prior to a new tenancy commencing.


Death of a tenant when there are multiple tenancy holders

When one tenant dies and there are multiple leaseholders, the lease continues as normal with the deceased tenant's interest in the tenancy ending.


Releasing the security bond

When the keys for the property are handed back to us a final bond inspection is carried out as normal, with us comparing the property to the way that it was handed to the tenants. If anything requires attention we arrange for this to be completed by our contractors and the cost deducted from the bond.

After the final bond inspection is completed, all repairs carried out and account compiled (if necessary) it comes time to release the bond. The executor of the will is be required to sign the bond disposal document, provide photo ID, a copy of the death certificate and also a copy of the will stating they are the executor. These documents are then lodged with the Department of Commerce-Bond Administrator and they will arrange for a refund to the executor.

If there is no executor of the will then the bond administrator will accept a copy of the funeral receipt from the payee and also photo ID for the funds to be released to them.


What happens when a tenant dies and a third party wants to clean out the dwelling?

When a tenant dies and a third party wants to clean out the dwelling we complete REIWA form number 349, Tenant Deceased Estate Indemnity Form. This form will provide protection to the Property Manager and Owner when a person is requesting access to the property, as it is often unclear as to whether the person requesting access has the correct authority to do so.


About the author

With nearly a decade of experience in real estate, Daniela Nelson is part of the superhero Property Management Department at Empire Estate Agents in Victoria Park.  As a senior property manager, Daniela works closely with landlords, tenants and clients on a daily basis. Her friendly professionalism combined with her excellent time management and organisational skills means that she is able to give clients a level of service second to none.

Need more information on this topic? Or can we help you with other property management questions? Feel free to call and speak to us at Empire Estate Agents on (08) 9262 0400 or email reception@empireestateagents.com.


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