Ask Lorraine – Please can you help? We have been told that our landlord has suddenly died, what does this mean for me and my family? Are we going to be thrown out of our home of nearly 6 years.
Thank you Les & family
Lorraine’s Answer – Hi, Les
For you the tenant, nothing changes in the short term, you cannot be evicted as long as you keep paying the rent. So I would say “don’t panic” and rush along to the Citizens Advice Bureau, the law is already on your side.
The tenancy becomes part of the landlords estate with the tenancy continuing. Once Probate has been granted then the tenancy passes to the landlords beneficiary/beneficiaries who will become the new landlords.
Granting Probate can take a considerable time, often months in fact, so even if the new landlord is not willing to renew the tenancy, the tenant will have plenty of time to look at their options.
The new landlord will look at his/her personal circumstances as to what happens once Probate has been granted. Should they continue to rent the property to the existing tenant nothing will change except that the new landlord must inform the tenant in writing of the change to the landlords details.
When the tenancy is up for renewal, the next agreement will be with the new landlord. Should the tenancy already be a periodic tenancy, the new landlord may leave as is – this is when neither party signs another agreement.
If the tenant wants to leave, they must give one months written notice, whereas the landlord must give at least two months written notice.
If there is more than one beneficiary, a property may need to be sold so that the proceeds can be divided between them. The tenant is still entitled to stay in the property until the end of the tenancy. As it can take some time for Probate to be granted and then for the property to be put on the market and sold, the tenant has time to find a new home for when the tenancy ends.
It may be that the new owner would wish to purchase the property with a tenant in situ. A win win situation on both sides – the tenant keeps his home and the new owner has rental money coming in straight away.
Every case is different and flexibility is the key.
Until next time.