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Ending a tenancy after a death

When a friend or family member dies we appreciate it can be a very difficult time. We have put together the following advice to help you end the tenancy, clear the home and return the keys.

What do I need to do?

Let us know as soon as you can. We legally require four weeks notice to end the tenancy, and this notice starts from the Monday after the date of death. The tenancy will then end on a Monday and we will provide you will the actual date once we have processed your form.

If you need more information on arranging a funeral please see the ‘Arranging a funeral’ section of our site for more advice.

Rent payments

Any Housing Benefit being paid will stop from the date of death and rent is then charged in the four week notice period, so any outstanding rent payments and payments for the notice period will be charged from the tenant’s estate.

The term “estate” means the total value of the tenant’s money and possessions. We will write to you when the tenancy ends telling you about any money that is owed. You will need to either pay any outstanding amount from the “estate” or produce evidence that the tenant left insufficient funds to meet the debt. In your role of administering the tenant’s affairs you are not personally responsible for any debts unless you keep the keys for longer than the four week notice period.

End of tenancy inspection

It would help us if we can make a visit to the property to carry out an end of tenancy inspection. We will book an appointment with you as soon as we receive your notice. It is very important that you keep this appointment.

During the visit we will:

  • Complete any missing information on the ‘end of tenancy’ form
  • Discuss any arrears of rent outstanding and agree payments required to clear the account at the close of tenancy
  • Identify repairs that are needed before the property is let again
  • Tell you about the condition that we would like the property returned in
  • If possible, arrange a suitable appointment for an Energy Performance Inspection to be carried out

Leaving the property in a good order

A new tenant will be moving in to the property after a short while so we require that:

  • You leave the property clean, tidy, in good repair and decorative condition - this includes any garden, yard, balcony, loft or shed
  • All the council’s fixtures and fittings in the property are left
  • You must disconnect and remove washing machine safely - if you are not sure how please get a professional to do this for you - and get an accredited professional to disconnect any cooker which must also be removed
  • All belongings, including all carpets and any rubbish and items stored in the loft, must be removed from the property, sheds and garden
  • If there is a garden it should be left clean and tidy

If there are large items that you no longer want you should call us on 01522 873333 and we will be able to advise you on how you can get these removed.

Please be aware that there is a cost incurred for cleaning or removing rubbish that is left in the property, these charges include administration costs as well as the cost for the work involved.

We will inspect the property when you hand the keys in to ensure the property has been left clean and tidy.

Gas and electricity

If gas and electricity were paid by a prepayment card or key, please leave the card or key inside the property - these devices are chipped and will only work within the original property.

The gas and electricity meters should not be left with any money owing on them.

The energy supplier will be changed to Southern Electric when we get the notice to end the tenancy. This is done to make it easy for the next tenant to get their service when they move in. Please do not be surprised if you receive a letter advising you of this change.

Key things to remember

Keys

When you have finished clearing the property please leave it locked up and secure.

Don’t forget to hand all the keys, including any shed, garage and any communal entrance door keys, into City Hall by midday on the Monday the notice ends

Meters

Have these read or make a note of the readings yourself and tell the gas and electricity providers so that they can close the accounts

Water

Tell the water company about ending the tenancy so that they can close the account

Please turn off the mains supply stop tap when finished with the property to stop any damage from leaks or burst pipes, especially in the cold weather

Council Tax

Please tell Customer Services at City Hall so that Council Tax charges can be ended.

Mail

You can arrange for any post to be directed to your address through the local post office, there is a small charge for this service

Gas appliances

You should get a Gas Safe registered engineer to disconnect any gas cooker and any gas fire that were owned by the tenant. Please do not disconnect the Council’s gas fire if there is one fitted.

Phone, cable and satellite TV

You will have to tell the service provider about the death to end any service being provided

TV licence

Inform the licensing agency of the death, you can find out more here

Others you should inform

Contact any insurance companies, banks, building societies and any other agents the tenant had contact with.

You will need to notify the Department of Works and Pensions of any income support, pensions or any other benefit that was being paid. 

You will need to notify us if a council garage was being rented.

You only need to give us one weeks notice to end a garage tenancy, you can use the same form as you use to notify us of the end of tenancy.

The same applies to garage tenancy rent as housing rent - any outstanding rent needs to be paid from the tenant’s estate.

You can hand the keys into City Hall earlier, but please ensure they are handed in before the end or on the date of the notice period.