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Security Deposit Of Deceased Tenant

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Security Deposit Of Deceased Tenant

Postby relentless1 » Mon Nov 23, 2009 11:26 pm

What happens to the security deposit if a sole tenant dies.

My friend's dad paid the rent prior to the first of November and died on the 11th. My friend has now cleaned out the apartment to its move-in state and removed all of his dad's (the sole tenant's) belongings.

When he invited the landlord to do the inspection so he could get the deposit back they said that they would not be able to do so.

His dad, in a will, left him all assets and belongings including the $3300 security deposit on the apartment. He also made him executor of his estate.

Is there a law that states that the landlord must return the security deposit to the relative?
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Postby TenantNet » Tue Nov 24, 2009 1:07 am

The law is that the estate may be entitled to the deposit.

First, we are not experts in estate law. The son should consult with an estate attorney. He might have to go through probate.

The estate can hold the apartment until the lease expires just as if the tenant were still alive. The executor (once named as executor -- by probate if necessary) may stay in the unit. Actually the estate can designate anyone to stay there just as the tenant has a right to a roommate.

Be I would step gingerly as it might prompt the LL to get aggressive. Of course, while the estate maintains the unit, it must continue to pay rent or be exposed to a non-payment proceeding. In theory the LL could hold the estate liable for the rest of the term, but I'd get a legal opinion on how and when prior obligations may be discharged.

It seems this LL wants to be nasty. I'd either get an opinion and maybe a letter from a lawyer to the LL, or be prepared to litigate as when any tenant can't get the deposit back ... or keep the place for another month to live out the deposit.
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Postby Landlord's Boy » Tue Nov 24, 2009 11:08 am

SD goes to the estate, not the relative. Nevertheless, there should have been an inspection once the apt. was empty and the keys were returned.
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Postby TenantNet » Tue Nov 24, 2009 12:00 pm

Just to expand on that, failure or refusal to conduct an inspection is not the same thing as refusing to return the deposit. Yes, SD goes to the estate (and as the OP stated, as the son is the beneficiary, ultimately to him once the estate's assets are distributed).

If the LL refused to return the deposit, his failure to agree to an inspection can work against him. Perhaps the son can immediately send a letter to the LL (cert, and fax) asking him to an inspection and give him a few different times to accommodate his busy schedule away from screwing other tenants.

If he refuses, this can work against him if it is ever litigated. It would be hard for him to then claim damages other than maybe loss of rent. (again, get a legal opinion if the death of the tenant can discharge lease obligations).
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Postby Landlord's Boy » Tue Nov 24, 2009 3:42 pm

Even if the son is the executor, the SD refund has to be written "To the Estate of -" rather than to the son. And it may be that the occupancy has to continue through the end of November or even December, unless the executor with the LL's cooperation gets the apt. re-rented before then, so no refund check will be written until December at the earliest. (I'm not an expert at Estate Law either, but I do recall having to work this way at least once.)
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