In Florida, nearly 200,000 state residents pass away every year. It’s a sad fact and, unfortunately, many communities that allow their homeowners to lease out their property may not be aware of their legal rights and restrictions if a tenant that rented their home has passed away. As a Tampa HOA property management group that specializes in rental management services, we know that it’s critical to abide by state laws when dealing with this unfortunate topic.
In this two-part article, we will educate you on your rental management rights when a tenant passes away. In the second section, we will conclude our series. In this article, we will focus specifically on sole tenants that were leasing a home on a short-term contract.
Leasing Agreement Remains Active
The most important thing that a landlord must understand, when they are informed that their tenant has passed away, is that the leasing contract they have in place remains active. This agreement will be switched over to the tenant’s executor. After the executor is assigned, their responsibility to the property may vary depending on the agreement that was in place. For example, if the tenant was renting on a month-to-month contract, the executor’s legal responsibility for the rented property would cease 30 days after the tenant’s final payment.
Obtaining a Notice of the Tenant’s Death
After you have been informed that a tenant passed away, the first step the landlord should take is to obtain written notice of the tenant’s death. Having documentation is critical as this notice helps in recovering any financial losses. This also helps establish the changeover date that the property can host a new occupant by. Lastly, this helps the executor by giving them a timeline to begin moving the tenant’s personal belongings.
Controlling the Property
When a sole tenant has passed away, the landlord must be patient and wait until an executor has been appointed before they make any transitional efforts. Once there is an executor established, the landlord should communicate with the executor of the estate to figure out an exit plan before resuming control over the property.
According to Florida Statute 83.59(d), the property owner may take over possession of the property if the following elements have been met.
- The sole tenant has deceased. This means that they are the only tenant listed on the lease. If another tenant is listed, they would be responsible for payment.
- Rent is currently unpaid.
- 60 days have passed since the date of the tenant’s death.
Difficult situations like this one are one of the many reasons why it’s best to consult with a company that specializes in full residential community management services. When you partner with Wise Property Management, we can assist your community with all your rental management needs from screening applicants to creating a leasing contract agreement to payment collection services to handling evictions.