Dealing with letting agent after death of tenant

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    Dealing with letting agent after death of tenant

    Hi,

    My father recently passed away. The letting agent were informed a few days after via telephone when we found out he was due a house inspection. My mother (his ex-wife) is the executor of the will. The letting agent has asked for the will to prove she is the executor (no death certificate has been asked for as yet), however communication with the letting agent is proving difficult as being passed around. Will a scanned copy of the will be accepted? From what we have read in the tenancy it is a month notice from date rent is due, however when the next rent is due his bank will be frozen. Will they chase the executor for the rent?

    Thanks

    #2
    Sorry to hear of your loss.The agent seems to be being less than helpful.

    Assuming you are in England or Wales the tenancy continues after death with the estate/executor in charge tenant as "The estate of Mr xxx", with rent sadly still due.

    Do you know who the landlord is? Could deal direct.

    If you can clear quick then the executor can agree an "early surrender" with the landlord/agent.

    If your father moved in early enough & a relative was living with him they might have rights to "succeed to the tenancy".
    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


      #3
      The death of a tenant doesn't end the tenancy.
      The executor should serve notice (when it suits them - so possessions can be cleared without rush).
      The estate is liable for the rent, not the executor and your mother should confirm it will probably be delayed until she can take control of the bank account, which will require a death certificate and some time for the bank to sort it out.

      The agency have no right to a copy of the will and should accept your mother's word she's the executor - why on earth would she lie about that?
      Sending them a copy of the bit that confirms she's the executor with everything else blanked out might shut them up.
      Get a copy of the tenancy agreement in exchange.
      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


        #4
        No relative has ever lived with him at that address. We are currently trying to get things at the property sorted.

        My mother has the tenancy agreement but don't know if it mentions who the landlord is.

        The letting agent are not being helpful at all and are not being very kind or considerate with their tone or choice of words.

        They have demanded proof my mother is executor but not asked proof of death in any way.

        With the way the letting agent has handled this so far she is very concerned that when the bank account is frozen they will chase after her for rent and get her blacklisted.

        Comment


          #5
          She has no liability for rent, "The estate of Mr...." might do but that's not her nor the same as her.

          Might be worth her going to local CaB and/or local MP.

          You could always spend £3 with land registry
          https://www.gov.uk/government/organi.../land-registry
          "search property ownership"
          - and find out who owns the place & if there is a useful address... (takes 5 minutes..)
          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


            #6
            Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
            The agency have no right to a copy of the will and should accept your mother's word she's the executor.
            An executor needs to show s/he has title to deal with the property. A notice to quit served by someone purporting to be an executor will not be valid if that person is not in fact the executor. "Proper" evidence is a grant of probate, but if that is not required or has not yet been obtained, the will should suffice. The whole will is needed really. The OP should send a copy so as not to risk the original being lost. If the original is insited upon she should take it into the agent's office and not leave without it.

            Comment


              #7
              I hope this isn't a "what happens in practice" vs a "letter of the law" issue.

              Having recently been the executor of an estate; no one ever questioned my assertion to be the executor.
              Possibly the probate solicitor did (without asking me, as they had access to the will), but the banks, building societies, DVLA and utility companies etc didn't.
              They asked for a copy of the death certificate* and that was it.

              Wills can contain a lot of intensely private and personal information (although now they're often structured with a separate letter of wishes, which would help) and aren't intended for distribution.
              Asking for a copy of a will is intrusive and insensitive.
              The interests of the landlord are best served by ending the tenancy as quickly as possible because dead people are poor payers of rent.

              *Suggestion for the OP, get multiple copies from the registrar, I needed about 6 copies and they all have to be originals.
              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


                #8
                jpk

                It is not clear from your post if you obtained a grant of probate. If you did, then there is no need to produce the will or a copy. However, if probate has not been obtained then (a) a death certificate is only evidence of death and not evidence of anyone's entitlement to deal with the estate and (b) if there is a will appointing an executor the will is evidence of the appointment. Anyone who deals with someone who does not have a grant runs a risk. Banks and building societies regularly pay out small sums without seeing a grant, but things can go wrong - http://swarblaw.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=5672

                If a will is proved it ceases to be private. A copy of any will can be obtained from the Probate Registry. There is therefore not much of an argument that a will which is not going to be proved should be kept secret.

                The provisions of section 17 HA 1988 should also be noted.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
                  I hope this isn't a "what happens in practice" vs a "letter of the law" issue.
                  Perhaps more of a case of widespread incompetence or ignorance.

                  Anyone pausing for a second and thinking about the situation will (hopefully) want to see proof before doing something potentially expensive.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I recently dealt with a bereavement, first experience as an executor. The bank, a large and well established one, requested sight of the will to ensure I was an executor. They didn't request a copy, just sight by a manager who then signed off whatever was need to progress.
                    I certainly wouldn't want any large scale (or even small scale) transactions or contract changes taking place without some evidence/audit in place.
                    I may be a housing professional but my views, thoughts, opinions, advice, criticisms or otherwise on this board are mine and are not representative of my company, colleagues, managers. I am here as an independent human being who simply wants to learn new stuff, share ideas and interact with like minded people.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Lawcruncher View Post
                      jpk
                      It is not clear from your post if you obtained a grant of probate.
                      Apologies, I was speaking of the period before probate was obtained.
                      After probate everything was essentially automatic.
                      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


                        #12
                        As part of the probate process banks etc will provisionally accept statements that X is the executor, especially if told so by a professional. Information is needed to prepare the probate papers and if sight of probate is insisted on before supplying the information you will never get the information you need to get probate.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I was sharing an experience in order to help the OP.
                          Not a single person asked to see a copy of the will - the probate solicitor had a copy anyway and had no need to ask.
                          As far as I know, no one asked them for any proof I was executor - I don't recall anyone even asking for their details (although that's possibly an age and memory issue).

                          I can't imagine that the organisations I was dealing with made me a special case.

                          My feeling is that the letting agent is being a bit of an arse.
                          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


                            #14
                            Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
                            I was sharing an experience in order to help the OP.
                            Not a single person asked to see a copy of the will - the probate solicitor had a copy anyway and had no need to ask.
                            As far as I know, no one asked them for any proof I was executor - I don't recall anyone even asking for their details (although that's possibly an age and memory issue).

                            I can't imagine that the organisations I was dealing with made me a special case.

                            My feeling is that the letting agent is being a bit of an arse.
                            Whilst obviously anyone benefitting is entitled to a copy of the will, no one else needs to see the will if the will is proved. However, if the will is not proved the only evidence of who the executor is is the will. There is nothing improper, over-zealous or unusual in the agent's request.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by jpkeates;591529Wills can contain a lot of intensely private and personal information (although now they're often structured with a separate letter of wishes, which would help) and aren't intended for distribution.
                              Asking for a copy of a will is intrusive and insensitive.
                              [COLOR="#FF0000"
                              Wills are a matter of Public record after Probate granted. Probate/'Executor' may not be required for some family Wills, but whoever deals with the Estate should obtain 'permission to administrate' from rel Govt body. [/COLOR]
                              The interests of the landlord are best served by ending the tenancy as quickly as possible because dead people are poor payers of rent Equally LL should allow immediate family/Executor time to clear/sort the deceased's property/documents before accepting a 'surrender'. <1 month should suffice and rent would remain payable as a 'business' debt. The 'Executor' has a duty to act in the best interests of the beneficiaries, not delay the distribution by objecting to provide requested docs to those organisations that appear to have a valid requirement for their production.

                              *Suggestion for the OP, get multiple copies from the registrar, I needed about 6 copies and they all have to be originals. There can only be 1 original death Certificate provided; what is required is Certified Copies of Original ie not a photocopy of Original. 6 Certified copies should suffice.
                              Many people appoint a Family Solic or Bank as Executor to sort out complicated/controversial Wills.

                              Comment

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