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Death of Landlord

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I stumbled upon this forum whilst searching for advice and have been impressed by all you knowledgeable folk!


So here goes...


I live in a rented property which I moved into in Aug 1999


I signed an assured short-hold tenancy with a period of six months.This was not renewed, and I have paid the agreed rent since then.


However, in the spring of 2004 my Landlady died.


The property was inherited by here son, and I had to allow estate agents in to value the property in order to calculate the inheritance tax he was due to pay.


I was not asked to sign a new tenancy agreement in his name.


I would like some confirmation of what my tenancy is, and wondered if there is any protection afforded to me by the fact I was resident in the property when he inherited it (sitting tenant?)


I have found myself in a awkward position as my partner, who I do not live with is currently taking his employer/ my landlord(!) to an employment tribunal. He (the landlord) is a spiteful man and I am worried that I may be on the receiving end as an easy target.


I am really stressed out about it as I have three children and wish to continue the secure home we have enjoyed for the last eight years.


Does anyone know what my rights are?


Thanks for reading this post, and any advice or information will be greatly appreciated.

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The tenancy agreement is not invalidated by the death of a party, but the landlord becomes in effect the executors of the deceased landlord.


An assured shorthold tenancy for a fixed term of 6 months will become a periodic tenancy when the six months expires. If you pay the rent monthly, it becomes a monthly periodic tenancy.


The landlord (who is now presumably the executors of the deceased) can give you one period's notice to quit, i.e. one month's notice.


However, this is subject to the minimum statutory period for an AST of two months, so in effect you can be given two months notice at any time after the fixed term has ended.


The landlord commits a criminal offence if he evicts you without a court order, so if you do not vacate after the two months notice has expired he can apply for a court order for possession.


None of which is affected by the fact that the landlord is the executor of the estate of the deceased.


The executor is able to execute a deed transfering ownership of the property to the heir under the deceased's will, but you probably won't be told. You can search at H M Land Registry for a fee of £3 to discover who the legal owner of the property now is, i.e. whether the late landlord is still registered as owner, in hich case his executors are the ones with the power to give you notice.


The executors may be noted on the register, as this sometimes happens. In which case their names and addresses will be given there also.

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The important thing perhaps to sum up is that you have the exact same rights as before, but these rights allow him to evict you sooner or later if he wants completely legally, and not requiring a reason. Other than that sum up, Ed is spot on.

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7 years in retail customer service


Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years


By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.


Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.


Please click the star if I have helped!!

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The landlord (who is now presumably the executors of the deceased) can give you one period's notice to quit, i.e. one month's notice.


He can give notice to quit if he likes, but Section 5(1) of the Housing Act says:


An assured tenancy cannot be brought to an end by the landlord except by obtaining an order of the court in accordance with the following provisions of this Chapter or Chapter II below or, in the case of a fixed term tenancy which contains power for the landlord to determine the tenancy in certain circumstances, by the exercise of that power and, accordingly, the service by the landlord of a notice to quit shall be of no effect in relation to a periodic assured tenancy.


The executor is able to execute a deed transfering ownership of the property to the heir under the deceased's will, but you probably won't be told.


Failure to give notice of a transfer of ownership is a criminal offence - see section 3 (3) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. It seems that if the property is still vested in the executor(s) there is no need to give notice, but if there has been an assent or other transfer notice should have been given. Have a look at the register and see what it says.

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Ed999, MrShed, and Aequitas, thank you for looking at my post, and your replies are very much appreciated.


I had hoped I would be afforded more rights due to my circumstances, but I mustn't grumble!


Shall stay put 'till the bitter end ;)

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Nevertheless, as I pointed out, the contractual period of notice that must be given is one period, but subject to the statutory minimum of 2 months. So if you are paying rent quarterly the notice period is still three months, not two.


Beware of falling into the usual trap, if the heir at law is also the executor. There is no obligation then to execute an assent.


So where the deceased's son is both the executor of the estate and the beneficiary under the will, as may well be the case, a registration of the son at H M Land Registry does not mean he has committed an offence. No obligation arises under section 3 where the landlord is merely an executor.

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The register will make it clear if the son has simply been registered as personal representative rather than executed an assent in his own favour. Rule 163 (4) of the Land Registration Rules 2003 says:


When registering a personal representative of a deceased proprietor, the registrar must add the following after the personal representative's name -

    "executor or executrix (or administrator or administratrix) of [name] deceased".

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Having looked at the Land Registry website, they have stated that they do not have a record of any titles for this property.


As I understand your replies, it will make no difference to me who the property is registered to, and that the son will have 'inherited' me as a tenant, and that my exiting tenancy agreement with his mother will still apply.


My tenancy agreement states that I will receive two months notice, but should I understand from Ed999 that as I now have a monthly periodic tenancy, only one month will be required?


I understand that he cannot evict me without a court order, but that is of little comfort!


Sorry to harp on, and possibly look a little dim!


He cannot separate the fact that his dispute is with my partner, who does not live with me. I have lived in the house for eight years, and only met my partner four years ago, who was employed by my Landlord for three.

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The harsh fact is that with an assured shorthold tenancy, once the fixed term (usually 6 months) has ended, the landlord can give you two months notice at any time, ending the tenancy.


He does not have to give any reason, he simply has to give the minimum two months notice, and then obtain the court order if you don't move out.


For a monthly tenancy, which is what you have, the required period of notice is two months.


There is no defence, save the purely procedural ones that he has not given the correct period of notice; or that the notice does not take effect on the correct date (being the last day of a period of the tenancy and not earlier than two months after the date the notice was given); or that the notice is not in the prescribed form.


For details see section 21 of the Housing Act 1988: Housing Act 1988 (c. 50)

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