As a landlord, there are a lot of situations you may find yourself in that you never expected. You may be thrown into the middle of all kinds of drama or have to have serious conversations with tenants about late payments or other touchy topics. However, one of the most difficult situations you may encounter is the death of a tenant while living on your property. While you hope to never have to deal with this particular situation, it is still beneficial to learn the specific steps.
When someone passes away, there is always a question of what to do with their belongings or outstanding contracts. Remember that this can be a delicate situation, so work with the family or executors in a kind and compassionate way. Your goal is to resolve the situation and move on to show the home to new potential buyers or renters. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you navigate this tricky situation as a landlord.
Secure documentation of your tenant’s passing.
If a tenant passes away while they are living on your property, you need to secure documentation stating such. This will be necessary to close the account and start the process of re-renting the space. Getting this information in a timely manner will help you avoid a large financial loss. Oftentimes, you’ll be notified by the individual’s next of kin and they will be able to send you these documents.
In some cases, you may be the one to discover a deceased person. If this is the case, call for the authorities immediately. The police will be able to get to the bottom of the cause of death and understand the situation. This will help you in the long run, because you won’t be held responsible for any part of that unattended death.
Clean up and secure the property.
There are many different causes of death you may encounter if your tenant passes away. If police suspect a homicide, be sure you don’t touch the property as it is an active crime scene. In other cases like a death of natural causes, you may want to bring in technicians that know something about death cleaning.
Utilize after death cleaning services when the time is right to help settle the aftermath and get your property ready for home staging. Handling cleanup will help a real estate agent sell your property effectively. You’ll also want to be sure everything is secure. Windows and doors are locked and the property is not being disturbed as things are finalized.
Figure out the terms of the lease.
When a tenant passes away, chances are they still have some time left on their lease. Pull out their official contract to see the terms they agreed to. Oftentimes debts will transfer to an individual’s next of kin rather than completely disappearing. This means you may still have a contract with another person.
Address this situation with compassion to see how the next of kin wants to proceed. If they’d like to keep the property, see about transferring the lease into their name. If not, it’s time to get ready to re-rent your property. Finalize death cleanup and begin the staging process as the best way to make the place seem enticing. The benefits of staging a home can help you sell in record time.
Work with the family on removing personal belongings.
The next step is helping the family remove personal items from the property. It’s an important thing to remember that you cannot do this on your own. Set a time limit for the family members to move out, so you can start to get ready to put the property back on the market.
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