Landlord Questions

by Cathy
(Kitsap County, Washington)

Help! My tenant passed away suddenly and I don't know what to do!

My tenant moved into my rental on a month to month tenancy. He was paid up on his rent through August. In May he died.

His estate now wants July and August rents returned. I can understand that, it being a month to month.

But: the tenant did not pay his utilities since he had been there - he is responsible for them as stated in the rental agreement.

Also, the estate did not give written notice until June 17, 2009 at which time the keys were returned.

Can I keep the rent and deposit to pay for the unpaid utilities? Also, since the keys have been returned and notice given, when can I legally enter? The place appears empty from the outside.

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Landlord Rights
by: Anonymous

You probably have the legal right to enter the moment the keys have been returned and notice given. However, I would first (as a matter of record) notify the legally appointed executor of the estate that I will be entering the premises. I presume that the tenant left a will and appointed an executor - family members or friends cannot make demands on behalf of the estate unless duly appointed.

I would then inspect the premises and make note of any repairs (not normal wear and tear) that has to be done. I would then draw up a detailed statement with:

* Cost of repairs

* Unpaid utilities

Furthermore: In terms of your rental agreement (if a month's notice was stipulated in the agreement) and their written notice of 17 June, you may be entitled to rental until end July anyway.

The above will then be off-set against rent and deposit payments and the balance returned by registered mail to the executor of the estate.

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Tenant dies with unpaid rent
by: Jay

Had a month to month agreement with tenant. He owed a partial April, May, June and July rent.
Died owing me money in July. Left all his furniture in the house. Brother came and got what he wanted and his son got some stuff. But, place a mess and needs to all be repainted. Exwife says I have to put furniture in storage til his estate goes through probate. Doubt he had a will. What am I legally required to do?

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