The Disposition of Housing of the Deceased

You never want to think about a tenant dying in your building. However, knowing how to handle the disposition of housing of the deceased can make things easier for you and your tenant’s family during this challenging time. It can also save you any confusion when it comes to legal matters.

Are You Responsible for Housing Disposition?

As a landlord, you have an agreement with your tenants that covers your responsibilities and theirs. That lease should include any action taken in the event of their death.

Unless the deceased has an executor or administrator of their estate, no one can legally claim or dispose of their personal items. Therefore, the responsibility can fall to you as the landlord.

Eventually, you must either terminate the deceased tenant’s lease or let it expire. Without an estate administrator or executor, no one can take possession of the apartment.

When Can You Terminate the Lease?

After three months, you, as the landlord, can take measures to evict the deceased tenant. You must serve the notice of eviction to one of the following people as they are related to the tenant, in this order and as available:

  • Spouse
  • Child
  • Another surviving relative or distributee

As of September 2019, lawmakers introduced Senate Bill S6714. While this bill is still in committee, it would allow executors and administrators to terminate the lease if passed.

Sometimes, the tenant will not have any surviving relatives, or even a will stating who should take possession of their home after they die. At this point, the Public Administrator can help you determine the best course of action.

What Are Your Options When a Tenant Dies?

When a tenant dies, you may need the help of an experienced Staten Island real estate lawyer. At DDC Law, our attorneys know how to navigate cases involving deceased tenants with compassion. Call us today at 718-667-1301 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.

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