Death of a tenant

Coping with the death of a friend or relative is never easy, and trying to deal with their affairs can be complicated and upsetting. The following should help you through this difficult time by explaining what you need to do when a resident of one of our properties dies.

If there is anything you are unsure of, please ask.

Who should I inform?

You should contact us and tell us about the death of a tenant as soon as possible.

What if I have a joint tenancy with the person who has died?

If you are a joint tenant, you have the right to take over the tenancy and stay in your home. You will be responsible for any overdue rent and any other money owed on the property. Please refer to the Moving on page for more details about succession.

What about the rent?

Where a tenant dies, it is still necessary to bring the tenancy to an end. To do this a copy of the death certificate and four weeks’ notice is normally required. However, in some cases it may be possible to end it sooner. Contact the Housing and Neighbourhoods team and they will talk you through this process.

It is important to note that rent will continue to be payable until the keys are returned. If the tenant was receiving Housing Benefit, this will automatically be cancelled on the Sunday following the death of the tenant.

If there is an outstanding balance on the tenant’s rent account after the keys have been returned, we will seek to recover the arrears from the estate. It will therefore be helpful if we are informed of who is dealing with the tenant’s affairs.

What should I do before ending the tenancy?

We politely request that the property be handed back completely empty of furniture, carpets, curtains, and refuse. Any items in the garden, such as a greenhouse or the tenant’s own shed, should be removed. If there are any articles left in the property or garden we may charge for their disposal.

You should also:

  • redirect the post
  • read the gas and electricity meters and give the reading to the utilities companies so they can send the final bills
  • turn off the water at the stopcock
  • lock the doors to the property and make sure all windows are shut
  • contact the local council to notify the Council Tax section and also inform the Housing Benefit section if the tenant received Housing Benefit

Unwanted furniture

If there are household items that could still be used, talk to the Housing and Neighbourhoods team. They may be able to tell you about furniture-aid schemes that may collect items free of charge. Your local council may offer a limited free service for bulky items.