I'm convinced that my tenant is dead - but how do I prove it?

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    I'm convinced that my tenant is dead - but how do I prove it?

    I know it sounds like the title of a farcical 'comedy' from the 1960s, but it's not. I have (had?) an elderly lady tenant. I haven't seen her for months. Whenever I go to the house to inspect/carry out a repair she's not there, but her son and his family are! It's like they live there. At first they said she was hospitalised with Covid (perfectly plausible), then after a couple of months of that they said she has dementia and is been kept in hospital whilst they try and sort it out (less plausible). Rent has been sporadic during these last months, whereas it was always bang on time before. I would like - understandably - to get to the bottom of the issue. How on earth can I find out if she's dead? Unbelievably there seems to be no easy way.

    #2
    You have to be careful when you deal with these things. Perhaps you can say you wish to improve the property and would like to speak to your tenant( elderly lady) before embarking on the project. And also carefully word a letter to your tenant about rent being not on time. And also let the family know,if there are any issues, you are prepared to discuss it openly and help - perhaps this will persuade them to let you know what is going on. Good luck

    Comment


      #3
      If she has died family will understandably (hopefully) be sensitive..


      Check with hospitals, care homes, local churches, funeral directors, adult social services, neighbours, local tradespeople ?? Google'd her name??

      You could try sending her a cheque for something semi-plausible and see if it gets paid in (accounts should be closed on death).

      When did she 1st move in? Serve is AST a valid s8g10&11, see what response you get.
      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...

      Comment


        #4
        A letter about the rent might prompt a response.

        I'd have a search of the local paper website - people still put notices about deaths.

        It isn't very sympathetic, but you could serve a section 8 notice using ground 7 - which has the benefit of preventing a new tenancy arising if the new occupants say they have a new tenancy because you've been accepting rent from them.
        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).

        Comment


          #5
          Could you enquire with death registrar?

          Comment


            #6
            Try asking the neighbours - they might know.

            Comment


              #7
              If they have died and had a will you may find it via the link below
              https://probatesearch.service.gov.uk/#wills

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by JK0 View Post
                Could you enquire with death registrar?
                I found an ex-tenant after asking local registrar about her marriage...... Worth a try...
                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...

                Comment


                  #9
                  theartfullodger,

                  Thanks for the suggestions. I'm pretty sure that data protection law stops any of those from telling me anything (bar the neighbours, obviously). Googling her produces nothing, but she was very old and had no social media presence etc. I suppose I could serve a section 8, but in the past I've found them to be no use at all unless the tenant is in 2 months' arrears at the time of service and on the day you turn up at court too. Sending the cheque is a good idea!

                  Comment


                    #10
                    jpkeates,

                    Interesting idea re. ground 7. Is it still 2 months to expiry, or has it been bumped to 6 months? Also since I don't 'know' that the tenant is dead when serving I bet it would get thrown out on a technicality, even if she did turn out to be.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by amy131 View Post
                      If they have died and had a will you may find it via the link below
                      https://probatesearch.service.gov.uk/#wills
                      Thanks! Great site. There's a couple that **could** be her. But I'm not sure how to tell.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        So, out of curiosity. What do I do if she turns out to be dead and unwanted members of her family have moved in? I don't want to let to them. Since they have no tenancy, do I simply call the police on them as squatters? Something else? I surely don't have to go through court proceedings to get rid of people who aren't even tenants do it?

                        Comment


                          #13
                          tired old chap

                          Out of interest, how long has the tenant been living there for, date they 1st moved in ?
                          Fed up with nitpickers and rivet counters...

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by tired old chap View Post
                            Interesting idea re. ground 7. Is it still 2 months to expiry, or has it been bumped to 6 months? Also since I don't 'know' that the tenant is dead when serving I bet it would get thrown out on a technicality, even if she did turn out to be.
                            I have no experience with this ground, but it does use the term "became aware" relating to the landlord's knowledge of the tenant's death.
                            So it does allow for the possibility of a realisation, rather than being told.

                            And it's time limited to twelve months after becoming aware of the tenant's death, so a lot of things can happen in the period since the tenant's death.
                            And you could wait, because, right now, you suspect something but are not actually aware of it.

                            As long as you don't actually agree a new tenancy has arisen, this seems to prevent accepting rent from creating a new one.
                            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).

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by 45002 View Post
                              tired old chap

                              Out of interest, how long has the tenant been living there for, date they 1st moved in ?
                              Some years. I'd have to dig out paperwork to get the exact date. Why is it important?

                              Comment

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