Guide What to do when a tenant dies

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1. Information for next of Kin

When someone dies their next of kin has to make many decisions and arrangements. If your relative was a council tenant there are some things that we need to ask you to do. 

  • Please make sure that our housing needs team is aware that the tenant has died. They will confirm with you the date on which the tenancy of the property will be terminated.  Our Voids and Allocations officers will ring you within a few days to arrange to meet you at the property to discuss what can and cannot be left.  You will also receive a phone call from the firm ‘Tru Environmental’, as they will need to arrange to carry out a survey of the property before we can re-let it.
  •  Please return all keys to our Knowle Office in Sidmouth by noon on the Monday after the tenancy ends (all tenancies end on a Sunday).  Please label all keys with the property address.
  • All outstanding rent and any rent arrears will be due from the estate.  Our Rental team will let you know what amount of rent is due. Four weeks paid rent will be due from the date of death. If you require further time to clear the property and return the keys we allow up to a further two weeks by agreement, but a charge equivalent to the weekly rent will be made for each week.  You will need to pay this at the time of request.
  • If the tenant received housing benefit or council tax benefit please contact our benefits team. The ‘Tell Us Once’ service may do this for you.  You should be aware that council tax support will cease from the date of death, and housing benefit from the Monday following the date of death.
  • Please remove all personal possessions, unwanted items and rubbish from the property and garden.  When you meet with our Voids and Allocations officers they will be able to answer any questions you may have.  It is possible that some items can be left at the property, for example curtains and carpets that are in a good condition.  If you wish to leave anything this needs to be agreed with us.
  • If the property is not cleared then the estate may be charged for any costs that we incur when cleaning out the property so that it can be re-let to the next tenant.
  • If possible please cancel any regular deliveries there may have been for newspapers, milk and other items.
  • Take a reading from all the meters (gas, electric and water) and notify the utility companies of the death of the tenant to cancel the supply. 
  • If possible please cancel any telephone, internet and television connections.
  • If the tenant lived in one of our general purpose properties (not sheltered accommodation) and had a personal alarm supplied by us, please contact our Home Safeguard team (01395 578237) so that they can cancel the agreement and make arrangements to collect any equipment.
  • You should contact social services as soon as possible to arrange for the collect of any special equipment that the tenant may have had on loan from them. 
  • Please make arrangements with the Post Office for any mail to be redirected. Unfortunately we are not able to send post on to you.  You may have to provide a death certificate and written statement to show that you are the right person to do this.  You will have to pay a fee to redirect post.
  • Let us have an address for either yourself or another relative in case we need to contact you further regarding anything to do with the late tenant or tenancy.

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