Couple rented my property, husband died

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    Couple rented my property, husband died

    I have something similar. Couple rented my property, husband die. Wife paid first lapsed payment a few days before the next month was due. Is about to default on two payments now and has ceased comms with the managing agents.

    Initially I did say she could have up to 22 February to get caught up but have learned she is seeing the council on Monday... around the same time the managing agents are seeing their solicitor (as she is about to miss a second month).

    I have asked them to verify they were both on the tenancy agreement (I am overseas at the moment so can't check who signed it) and clarification as to why they seem to have gone from good terms with her to radio silence and whether they can clarify WHY she is seeing the council on Monday (benefits? any other ideas)?

    I have been told that I am daft for having shown compassion and given her leeway initially on hearing about his passing. Do I now sit back and let the managing agents their thing?

    Many thanks in advance.

    RFS, start your own thread to avoid confusing advice.


      Originally posted by mariner View Post
      RFS, start your own thread to avoid confusing advice.
      I did but it has not appeared... waiting for mods?


        As you have accepted a payment, even if she's not on the agreement you've established a tenancy (fresh AST).

        Attempt to negotiate a fresh tenancy agreement, offer lower rent so she signs, get paperwork right then evict cleanly if you need to
        I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...


          If the tenant was on the original tenancy agreement, the tenancy just continues (there's no new AST).

          When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
          Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).


            Agents are with the solicitors this morning but it is late here in Australia where I am for the next week so not sure if I will get answers to the questions I sent him as I don't have a soft copy of the agreement here to check if she was a joint tenant - they took the place on as a couple and she (as his wife) obviously lives there as her primary home.

            Worries me (although completely understandable under the circs) that she has suddenly gone from being n good terms with them (they were exemplary tenants and kept the property in good condition) has now shut herself off from communicating with them for updates - but again it must be completely overwhelming for her.

            Originally I had suggested allowing her until 22 February to get caught up just in case probate was tricky, but somewhere something seems to have disintegrated pretty badly and this dropped on me in my first week out here, and not flying back until next Monday. There would have been an option to discuss a slightly lower payment or a plan but as the bank froze what appears to be her only source of income (namely HIS bank account) then she is up the proverbial creek with paddles all gone, no more! So she goes to ground afraid of what might happen when there are options we could agree to.

            theartfullodger - yep was completely my intention to offer lower rent/payment plan - and in early discussions with agents she was grateful and it all looked like it would be amicably arranged. Then somewhere between her taking a break over Christmas after the stress of the death/funeral etc, it is complete radio silence and no means of even trying to look at ways to help the situation.

            Should know more later today your time/probably tomorrow am my time.


              Originally posted by RFS View Post
              I don't have a soft copy of the agreement here to check if she was a joint tenant - they took the place on as a couple and she (as his wife) obviously lives there as her primary home.
              Then she almost certainly is or will be your tenant of the existing tenancy.


              1) a joint tenant under survivorship so is now the sole tenant of the tenancy,
              2) the tenancy in its fixed term, she inherited it as his spouse, or
              3) the tenancy is periodic, and she succeed it as his spouse as her only or principal home.
              I am not a lawyer, nor am I licensed to provide any regulated advice. None of my posts should be treated as legal or financial advice.

              I do not answer questions through private messages which should be posted publicly on the forum.


                She is indeed a joint tenant under survivorship and is now the sole tenant and it is now periodic. Will post all the deets in a sec as I have been in conversation with the managing agent since 4am (Down under). Sigh!


                  Q1 – Where is the rented property located (England / Wales / Scotland / N Ireland)? England

                  Q2 – What type of Tenancy Agreement (TA) is this e.g. sole tenant / multiple tenant / room only? Was joint, now sole tenant under survivorship

                  Q3 – What date did current TA start dd/mm/yy? 22/12/15

                  Q4 – How long was initial fixed term (6/12/24 months / other)? 12 months

                  Q5 – Does the TA state that rent is due weekly? / 4-weekly? / per calendar month (if so, on what same date each month)? Per cal month on 22

                  Q6 – Did the TA require a tenant damage deposit to be paid? If so, on what date was this paid (dd/mm/yy)? yes 6 months paid Dec 2015

                  Q7 – If your query relates to a notice for repossession from the landlord (a Section 8 or Section 21 notice) or a tenants's notice to quit to the landlord, please provide the exact date the notice was sent/received (dd/mm/yy). Notice not yet served - see below

                  Q8 – Does the landlord live in the same property as the tenant? No

                  Full details
                  Husband passed away 18/19 November, so rent missed on 22 Nov. Agents found out that he had died and the reason the payment was delayed because his account was frozen (this was where the rent was coming from). Prior to this he had been ill in May, and re-hospitalised in September at which he assured the agents that his business income was covering the rent and that he had insurance in place to cover the rent. At that time I specifically asked the agents if I was at risk of him not being able to pay rent - was assured he had made sure he had cover.

                  Payment due for December (22 Nov) was paid on 19 December. At the time the wife was told she was due to play January's rent on 22 December. She decided to have some time away (understandably) and would pay on her return in January.

                  She returned in January and made no responses to any messages left w/c 7 January. Agents informed her on 18 January that they would have to see their solicitors on 20 January as she was in danger of defaulting in two payments, She told them she was seeing the council, accused them of harrassment but told them she would be paying on 20/21 January (which she has).

                  At the time of writing she is now back to one month in arrears.

                  When I had heard her husband had passed, and aware of how long it takes for Probate to go through for even simple estates, I felt it was a measure of compassion to tell her to have until 22 February to be completely caught up and be in a position to tell us if she wants to stay in which case to continue paying on time and in full from 22 February.

                  In light of this 'arrears-surfing' and probably creating a rod for my own back here - I have instructed the agents to do the following:
                  1) Write to her thanking her for paying for the period ending 21 January.
                  2) Informing her that she has (as previously suggested) until 22 February to get back on track completely so she owes 2 months rent by that due date.
                  3) She MUST keep a dialogue open with the management agents and has until 1 Feb to contact them with her response.
                  4) She has been to see the council - she must assess whether or not she can feasibly afford to continue with the tenancy. I am prepared to reduce the rent temporarily to help her until the probate is sorted out, if she wants to stay, on the condition that once she is able to, she pays what is owed in full.
                  5) If she is not able to afford to stay, then she must give her notice to leave, and she is liable for all rent owed.

                  I hope this gives the council time to sort out any benefits she may be entitled to as a widow and presumably housing benefit too. If it is just a matter of the insurance paying out or the period of time it takes to sort out the probate and if she actually wants to stay (they were always exemplary tenants and have kept the place in very good order), then it is just a case of potentially just having the agents and the tenant get back on a decent relationship - they have always been on good terms until this period in January - most likely because right now she is totally overwhelmed with everything.

                  It appears she may not work and so his income was their only income and so she also has to find money for food and utilities.
                  That being said she has paid both months in full, albeit about a month late.

                  I think if she refuses to have a dialogue after 1 Feb when I am back from Australia, and defaults on 22 Feb, then I have honoured my compassionate measure and I will let the managing agents serve the eviction notice - Section 8.



                    She's likely somewhat upset by husband's death and likely keeping a landlord happy over rent payments is not her top priority.

                    Treating people as you would hope to be in the same circumstances might be a start?
                    I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...


                      I completely agree - In December she called upon the managing agents after sadly having a row with a family member over help with the rent, office girls had sent food and called round to help her out in the first few days, sent a representative to the funeral to pay their respects as by all accounts they were a popular couple and had forged a good relationship with the firm and she was grateful with the suggestion that I would give her until Feb 22 to get sorted. So I thought I had been doing the right thing, she seemed relieved there was some leeway and everything seemed ok. I sent a card, a letter and assured her that if she wanted to stay, she would be most welcome and that she had a few months to get things sorted.

                      Then for some reason (while I was in transit and over in Aus) the agents seem to have gone into complete overdrive and freaked her out completely. They were well aware of the suggestion of Feb 22 and felt that had been a compassionate gesture so I am completely at a loss to what the hell they did in the period w/c 7/1 to when this all dropped like a bomb last Friday. I mean... I flew on the 10th and this kicked off last Friday so I can only assume they just chased and chased for the money until she finally responded in a panic. I had dropped them a line on Thursday as I was checking my invoices and was told she was not responding and they were seeing a solicitor!

                      I will be heading down to have a F2F meeting with them in Feb when I get back for sure.

                      While I would love it to be possible, she cannot live rent free in the property until probate is completed I know that when my father died, I had to do all of the legal stuff for my mother - she was completely incapable of functioning at the time. From what i hear from the agents, there does not appear to be any family members on hand to help her. We could probably guide her towards recommended probate solicitors - but she would still need to chase them to get stuff done which, with no help, is probably like pushing jelly up Everest with her nose. That's why I would be willing to reduce the rent to help her depending on what the council are doing for her.

                      I am sure this is not the first time the agents have had a tenant die on them. I just have no clue how they went from sympathetic and good terms to this in the space of about a week or so. I can only find out when I get back which is why i have told them to confirm the above in writing and stop texting her. We know she has missed today's payment (well - today for me, still tomorrow for you!) so there is a chance she might come forth with the second one on your Tuesday? Who knows.

                      I am relieved I do not have to serve a Section 8 just now. They have also advised I can serve a Section 21 at this time too, but I am inclined to try and get this resolved in February one way or the other. I think it is very likely that she can't afford it, but she won't be in a position to move right away. But again, I don't know until we get she and the agents back on some civil footing. I can't just pitch up and intervene, but feel I ought to do something just out of sympathy for her.


                        Op has been understanding and given time to pay, but if the tenant cannot afford the rent, dragging it out is not going to help her. Tenant could have advised the ll her position re benefits. Also it may be useful if op serves a s21. T could possibly then access a payment from the homelessness prevention fund, depending upon the la.


                          Thanks and will look into this. I have emailed agents to confirm that they provided a How to Rent doc as it is my understanding this must have been with the tenants at the start of their tenancy in order for me to instruct them to serve a Sect. 21 - do I understand this right? They did say i could also serve that but... again if she is freaked out completely now, any kind of notice to quit, leave and be gone would probably tip her over the edge so the wording in terms of being more helpful to her has to be completely on point (and at the moment my confidence in the agents is wavering a tad)!!!


                            Further Update - sadly the insurance the late tenant had in place for rent payments was only while he was alive. There was no life insurance policy in place in the event of his death.

                            I have asked the agents to communicate with her in writing including the option for her to determine whether she is even in a position to pay the rent on her own. I also got confirmation that they have supplied a How to Rent guide so S21 may well be an option at the agreed point of 22 February. I have also told them to leave her time to respond by 1 February and for them to stop messaging her until that time to give her a break.

                            I intend to get down there to meet the agents the week after she should have responded to them so we can try and draw up some options depending on what more she can tell them/us.


                              Why waste a month? Serve s21 now, with an expiry date of 2 months+ hence.
                              Most banks will give spouse limited access to deceased's account to pay essential household expenses, subject to available funds, whilst awaiting Grant of Probate., subject to sight of Death Certificate.


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