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Does my lease terminate if the landlord dies?

Category BBB Attorneys

“My father recently passed away. He had rental properties 
in his name and one of the tenants phoned me to hear if 
he has to move out out now that my father has passed away. 
What is the position? Has the lease come to an end?”

Lease agreements don’t generally terminate on the death 
of the landlord. The appointed executor of the estate of 
the deceased will take over the administration of the 
estate and transfer the residue of the estate, after paying 
out legatees, to the heirs. The rights and obligations in 
terms of the lease agreement will pass to the heirs, 
provided that the heir/legatee accepts the inheritance.

The terms of the lease agreement will be paramount in 
determining the grounds for termination of the lease. Should 
the agreement specifically provide that the lease terminates 
on the death of your father (the landlord) then this position 
will apply when the landlord dies. A tenant will however have 
to be allowed a reasonable period to vacate the premises.

Given that tenants could be affected by the death of your 
father, it may be prudent to approach your executor to review 
the lease agreements and determine the termination provisions 
thereof to avoid continuing uncertainty in this regard and 
ensure proper communicationwith your tenants on their 
continuing rental position.

SOURCE:  BBB Attorneys

Author: Veda Palmer

Submitted 02 Nov 18 / Views 40