It’s extremely important that property owners and homeowner association employees understand the requirements of the law when a tenant unexpectedly passes away. With over 35 years of experience in Tampa homeowners association management, Wise Property Management has in-depth knowledge of the right management services for your community. This includes the unfortunate circumstances of a tenant passing away unexpectedly.
As we discussed in the first section of this two-part article, if you are a landlord and your tenant has passed away, it’s critical that you understand that the leasing agreement is still active and that you need to obtain a written notice of the tenant’s death to begin the process of transitioning the residence to a new occupant. In this section, we will discuss several other actions you should take as well to avoid any legal issues.
Preventing Theft of Possessions
In a perfect world, when a tenant passed away we wouldn’t have to worry about the potential theft of their belongings. However, this is a legitimate concern when dealing with a deceased tenant’s possessions. In many cases, this involves the deceased tenant’s own family members either unaware of the legal restrictions or looking to obtain valuable possessions before the estate is finalized. As a Tampa HOA property management group, we know that it’s critical to ensure that the property is secured after the tenant’s untimely death.
Ensuring that all of the windows and doors are locked is a good start; however, changing the locks is never a bad idea either. For example, a friend or family member that has no right to enter the property without the executor’s consent may have a key. Although some family or friends may not be pleased that they cannot access the interior, it’s best to prevent people from entering the property and possibly being involved in an estate dispute at a later date. Owners need to ensure that their property cannot be accessed.
If a family member insists on entering the home, accompany them on this trip and keep records of what transpired (who entered, what time and date, what they left with). Once an executor is appointed and present, this person can be given the keys to the property and handle whomever is allowed access to the property. It’s best to be overly cautious with these situations to avoid any liability.
Clearly Worded Contact
Although such a situation isn’t top of mind when you and your tenant agree to a leasing contract, having the right language in that agreement can be critical when the unexpected happens. At the end of the day, the property owner or association doesn’t want any long-term responsibility for the tenant’s personal property. When you utilize our Tampa HOA property management services, we specialize in rental management services and can create a leasing contract that protects your property from any liability issues.