Thinking and talking about death is difficult for most people, and understandably so. But landlords have to deal with the possibility of a tenant passing away on their property, especially if they have been a landlord for a long time and have long-term tenants. Landlords have to balance the sensitivity of this issue for the sake of the tenant’s family, while also thinking about their business’s continuity.

Things Can Get Complicated Fast

Things are much easier to sort out when dealing with a tenant who lived alone and who was the sole name on the lease agreement. However, different situations can cause serious complications, so it is important to also know what to do in these cases. Because of how common a sole tenant with only their name on the lease agreement is, we will be focusing on this situation in this article.

Contact the Authorities

The first thing you should do after finding out a tenant has passed away is to get in touch with the authorities. They will determine the preliminary cause of death, which will dictate whether they need to investigate further. They will also advise you on the next steps to take, if any.

Wait for the Notification of Death

In most cases, the family or the executor of their estate will handle the notification of death. Some states allow a landlord to do this if they cannot get in touch with a next of kin. Landlords who own apartment complexes and who may not know all their tenants have to wait for a lawyer, executor, family member, or representative to obtain the Written Notification of Death. This is the formal notice of the tenant’s passing away and allows you to start thinking of the next steps, including renting out the property again.

Ensure the Property is Secure

Securing the property is very important as it helps ensure the security of the tenant’s property. Remember you only secure the property if there is no other listed tenant or tenant living in the apartment. Securing the property also allows you to control access so you know who is coming and going. Doing so also protects you from liability by ensuring no items are lost or stolen.

Once the unit is secure, it is time to start thinking about cleaning it. This will include removing the tenant’s belongings if the family has not removed them and getting in touch with a professional cleaning company to do it for you. It is best to hire a company providing a hazmat cleaning service because you might not know the cause of death, and you need to protect yourself.

End the Lease

Most states do not want their landlords to lose financially, so they guarantee income even in these cases. When ending the lease, the remainder should be paid by the next of kin, the tenant’s estate, the executor, or from their security deposit if it is enough.

Following the right procedure should a tenant pass away is important so a landlord is not held liable for things like loss of property, and so they can be allowed to start renting the unit as soon as possible.