What happens if your landlord dies? A complete guide with your next steps

You came home one day and the next door neighborhood told you that your landlord died. Now what? Is probably one of the biggest questions that you are asking yourself at the moment, so we prepared a guide explaining everything you need to know about what happens if your landlord dies. 

Remember, that when it comes to housing situations, every state has a different situation so it is always advisable to contact your state’s housing authority. With that said, the advice below is a general rundown of what to expect and should be the same throughout the country.

Understanding your renting situation

The most important thing to do when you find out that your landlord is dead is to understand your renting situation. Are you on a lease? Are you paying month by month? Do you have any documents that can prove you are the renter of that apartment?

A lease is a private contract between you and the owner of a property that outlines the terms under which you agree to rent his property. If you are renting an apartment under a lease there is nothing to worry about when your landlord dies, as the lease must be honored by the following owner of the apartment.

Does a lease survive death?

In most of America’s states the lease runs with the land, which means that whoever is the inheritor of your landlords, your lease is still attached to the property and the new owner must honor it since he took the apartment subject to the lease. 

My landlord died and i don’t have a lease, what should I do?

If you don’t have a lease signed or your lease expired a time ago but you just kept paying your landlord without renewing it, then you are a month by month tenant.

In most of the states, when renting month by month either you or the landlord can terminate the tenancy with 30 days notice prior to your due date. However, taking the property control after the death of your landlord is legally required to honor this rule and give you the same amount of notice. 

Keep in mind that, unless you are being notified on the same day that you paid your last month’s rent, you will actually have a little more time than 30 days. For example, if your due date is the first day of each month and you paid it on July 1st, if the new landlord gives you an eviction notice on July 15th, 30 days from that date should be August 15th, but you will have already paid on August 1st, so you need to move out on September 1st. 

An exception to this 30 days rule is California, where renters have to be notified 60 days prior to the expected move out date if they have lived in the unit for more than a year. 

My landlord died, who should I pay rent to?

If your landlord died the person who inherits the property where you live is the responsible for 

your lease and has the right to receive the payment of your rent.

In conclusion, what happens if your landlord dies?

If your landlord dies you should keep paying the rent to the person who inherits the apartment. If the new owner of the apartment wants, you have the legal right to be notified at least 30 days in advance

About Chad & Rachel

Rachel and Chad have over 17 years of experience as both renters and landlords. They were tenants in 7 different apartments before becoming landlords of 9 apartments in Chicago. Renting apartments from landlords and being landlords themselves have helped them gain the knowledge that they want to share with renters. Whether you are at the beginning of your rental journey or in the middle of your lease and dealing with complex apartment issues, we are happy to help where we can. Read more about Rachel and Chad, or send a message using this contact form.

6 thoughts on “What happens if your landlord dies? A complete guide with your next steps”

  1. Just asking that the properties is not yet pay to housing mortgage and the landlord death, the hier will claim so that our payment will come to them.
    On transaction of payment in the housing mortgage
    What shall I do

  2. Weve been renting a unit for 6 years we were paying the lady he was dating until we found out the house was in foreclosure and has been for years. The lady raised our rent during pandemic and she has posted dozens of ” notices ” on our door. She shows up at any time of the day or night she has no rights to the house and we’ve been paying her a lot of money. She has now had electric and water turned off. What do we do?

  3. My lanlord has die from covid and Her Family is Selling the home. I have been living in for the pass Ten year and now I am going to lose everything.. I can’t afford to move or buy or rent.. I need help…..


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