Death is an inevitable event and this can happen anywhere. And sometimes, it can happen in a rental property. Yes, a tenant can die in a rental property. Hopefully, you don’t face such situation in life ever but, if you do then, there are certain things that you need to follow being a landlord.

Usually, homeowners hire professional property manager or Property Management Company to maintain their home. So, they will handle everything if a tenant dies in the rental property. But, what if you have not hired a property manager? If such incidence happens at your rental property then, there are certain steps that you need to follow and make sure everything is handled legally. For this, you should follow your state law and local law.

Tenant Dies in a Rental Property

Your Immediate Responsibilities of Duties

Once you are informed by a tenant’s death then your first duty is to secure the personal possessions of the tenant by closing the door and keep the keys with you. Even if the deceased’s family members want to enter the room then, you should accompany them while entering the property and make sure they will not take anything along with them otherwise, this will interrupt the investigation.

If the executor wants to enter the room then, you should handover the keys to him to investigate. But, before that you must make sure to record a video of the room and possessions.

If you are the person, who first see that the tenant is dead then, it is your duty to inform the police immediately and also call the deceased’s family members to come. The police will handle everything legally and from there, you will stay in contact with the executor and deceased family members for further actions.

Read Your Lease

When you don’t know what to do then, you should check the lease or rental agreement that both you and your tenants have signed. If you have included rules about the death of a tenant then, you may have certain obligations. Make sure you read the state laws to know what you can do if your tenant dies in your rental property. You may not be liable to keep or disposition the tenant’s belongings or you may have to keep the tenants’ possessions until you contact the deceased tenant’s family. You can also include death clause in your rental agreement to prevent liability issues.

Get Written Notice

Contact the family of the deceased tenant and ask them for a written notice of death. This will help you when you will start looking for new tenants for your rental property. Always remember that the agreement does not end with the tenants’ death so, pay careful attention to the process. Also, discuss the details with the tenants’ executor to make sure you are legally compliant.

What Happen to The Lease Agreement?

There are two types of lease agreement that landlords use – Month-to-month and long-term rental agreement. Depending on the type of your lease or rental agreement, ending it up will call different actions.

  • Month-to-month agreement

This written notice of the tenant’s death serves as a 30-day notice for the termination of the lease. During that time period, the estate is responsible for paying the rent owed to the landlord. You should talk to executor to know how long the procedure will take and ask them to remove the possessions and cleaning out the property within an appropriate time.

  • Long-term agreement

In long-term agreement, the tenant’s estate will be responsible to pay the rent amount until the termination of the lease agreement.

What Happens to The Security Deposit?

After signing the rental agreement the tenants will pay in advance for two months, which is known as the security deposit. If you have charged security deposit then, you have the full right to use the money to cover the cost of damages and unpaid rents. The remaining amount of security money should be given to executor and if the money is not sufficient to cover the damage cost then, you should work with the estate to be compensated.

Final Words

So, these are things that you will have to do being as a landlord. Once all the loose ends tied up, you are free to prepare your rental property again for hiring the new tenants. Clean your rental property in Baltimore, and make it again ready for the others to live. Advertise your property and start searching for the best tenants for your Baltimore rental property. Or, you can simply hire a professional property manager in Baltimore to find the new tenants and keeping your rental property well maintained.