Our hearts break when our friends and loved ones die. One of the toughest parts of death is not the emotional fallout, but the headache of logistics that follow. Who will plan the funeral, pay the last bills, and clean out their apartment?
This last question has been the source of much consternation for the loved ones of the deceased and their landlords alike. But it doesn’t have to be. Learn the rules around cleaning out an apartment after death, so you’re prepared for the worst.
What Should You Do if a Tenant Dies in Your Rental Property?
It’s a dark question many of us at some point have to consider: How do you empty a house or apartment after a death? The answer is going to vary from state to state, as different state legislatures and governors have enacted legislation that changes the process. Because there is no fixed process, it’s your responsibility to make yourself aware of state laws regarding the cleanout of tenant property, all while abiding by lease terms, of course.
But apartment cleanout is about much more than determining who is legally responsible. If you’re intimidated by how much there is to do, we have suggestions on where to start.
1. Notify the Authorities
The first thing you should do is notify the authorities. If the tenant was the sole occupant of the unit in question, authorities will need to come and remove the body in the proper way. Family and descendants need to be notified, the executor of the will needs to be established, and sometimes the death will be inspected by authorities.
2. Wait for Official Word Before Moving Forward
Before you can move forward with any cleaning or clearout, wait for official word from authorities. Investigations into deaths are common, even without suspicious circumstances. As the property manager or landlord authorities will notify you with written notice of the tenant’s passing. You’ll need that document to transition the property, and so will the family of the deceased.
Keep a hard copy of the written notice of the tenant’s death. If the executor of their will was not provided with one, ask authorities if they can be given an official written notice of the will as well. If no executor was determined prior to death, get back in touch with local authorities on how to proceed.
3. Secure the Property
Now that you’ve been given the go-ahead to re-enter the property and settle matters, it’s time to secure the property.
The first thing you’ll want to do is conduct a little investigation of your own. Ensure that the doors lock, the windows are unbroken, and that your key still works. The last thing you want is for a theft to occur at a deceased tenant’s former unit. Notify the family before you change the locks, but do so as soon as you can.
If you’re working with a property management company, ensure they’re involved in each step of this process.
4. Establish Contact with the Family/Executor
The U.S. government has compiled a list of agencies to notify when someone dies.Families of recently deceased individuals become extremely busy immediately after the death. Have patience as you work with them to clear out the unit.
The most important step here is to establish contact and develop a friendly working relationship. Share your timeframe for clearout but don’t be pushy or demanding. Generally, leases do not terminate upon a tenant’s death, so you need to cooperate with the family to ensure a quick and painless clearout process.
5. Work Out a Clean-Up Plan
You can work directly with the family of the deceased to develop a clean-up plan. Check with state laws to find out whether you are responsible or the executor of their will is responsible. Remind them of the terms of the deceased’s rental agreement, and agree on a time frame for clearout.
What Happens to a Deceased Tenant’s Possesions?
You have to check with the laws in your state regarding the passage of possessions once a tenant dies. For instance, the laws in Arizona regarding community property and the rights of survivorship differ greatly from the Senate Bill from the state of Connecticut concerning such matters.
Generally, it is the responsibility of the executor and next-of-kin, but as the landlord you will be involved to some extent. Written permission from the executor or next of kin can also grant you the authority to organize the clearout. This is where Nixxit Junk Removal comes in.
You can contact Nixxit night and day when the news of a loved one, family member, or tenant has passed. Suddenly being tasked with clearing out an apartment filled with unfamiliar objects and clutter is stressful. Let our team of fully trained and qualified professionals take it from there.
Need Help Clearing Out an Apartment in the Bay Area? Contact Us.
If you’re in need of apartment clearout services in the Bay Area, call Nixxit Junk Removal. Nixxit offers the leading environmentally-friendly apartment cleanout services in the Bay Area.
Remember to be kind to yourself in the wake of a loved one or tenant passing away. Cleaning out their apartment will likely be the last thing on your mind, so let Nixxit handle it with kindness and quickness.
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