Procedure Following Death of Regulated Tenant – Rent Act Tenancy 1977
Apologies for this being so long, but I hope the questions and answers will be a helpful resource for others.
I seek advice regarding our Regulated Tenancy, where the tenant died on the 30th of August 2020. The tenancy is in grade 2 listed building.
The tenancy dates back to 1962; on Mr A’s death, the tenancy passed to his wife, Mrs A.
Mrs A’s adult daughter and adult grandson moved back in with her and resided there for over 2 years before she died.
The rent is registered with the Rent Officer under the Rent Act 1977.
Please can you advise me on the following:
I understand that the daughter or grandson may decide by agreement which should be granted an Assured Tenancy if either of them wants this. They have said they want to remain, but they don’t yet know that an Assured Tenancy will be at market rent – circa three times the current rent.
1. If they don’t agree, who should be granted the Assured Tenancy? Who has to apply to the County Court for this to be determined, them or the landlords?
2. Could it be that the deceased will determines the right to the assured tenancy? i.e., If she left everything to her children or had no will, then her daughter’s wishes for the tenancy override her grandson’s?
3. Should I obtain a signed letter, and should it be witnessed, confirming their agreement to who is granted the tenancy?
4. Is a market rent based on similar size and period properties in the area, or does it consider the interior condition?
5. If they don’t want to remain at market rent. Any advice for them getting rehoused?
The last rent payment was made on 1st September (for September.) from the deceased’s bank account. The daughter has asked for our account details to continue paying rent from the 1st of October.
6. Should I provide this and immediately accept rent from the daughter or grandson?
7. I found this reference, “ground 7 specifies that acceptance of rent after the death of former tenant will not be regarded as a creation of a new tenancy unless the landlord has agreed in writing to any change in terms of the tenancy such as the amount of rent”. Is this correct in this case?
8. I found this reference, “The tenancy passes to the Personal Representatives of the deceased as part of the Estate. The Estate (not the relatives) pay the rent until the tenancy is ended. Personal Representatives can serve a ‘notice to quit’ on the landlord, or the landlord can serve ‘notice to surrender the tenancy with a witnessed deed’ on the Personal Representatives” and “if a tenant dies: without a will/with a will but without an executor…the tenancy is transferred temporarily to the Public Trustee …..post or deliver a letter to the tenant’s last known address (addressed to the Personal Representative of [full name of the tenant who died] of [last known address for the tenant who died]” saying you’re giving written notice – you do not need to get proof of this ….send a copy of the notice and a completed NL1 form to the Public Trustee…register the notice with the Public Trustee”. Is this correct in this case? Is it only done if the daughter or grandson isn’t taking on an Assured Tenancy? Or does it have to be done to end the Regulated Tenancy and dated for it to end the day before the new Assured Tenancy commences?
Setting up the new Assured Tenancy
9. Do all the rental regulations for new Assured Shorthold Tenancies apply to setting up a new Assured Tenancy in this circumstance? i.e., Providing the prospective tenant with a How to Rent Guide, doing Right to Rent checks on anyone who will live there, providing copies of EPC (up to date), Gas Safety Certificate (up to date) and EICR (it was 5 years old in June), and checking fire and carbon monoxide alarms (installed) before the new tenancy commences?
10. What happens to others living at the property? Currently, the grandson’s partner also lives there, and I’ve learnt that the granddaughter either has or intends to move back in. Do we have to accept that they can have new people living there as they choose but are not named on the tenancy? What should I do if in the future numbers exceed Statutory Overcrowding?
11. I would like a written tenancy agreement with clauses about damage, nuisance, pets, rubbish and smoking, as these have all been issues. Can I do that? – they smoke in the property, there have been attempts to grow cannabis in an outhouse (not plants when we discovered it, just evidence of equipment and cannabis plant feed – so no criminal prosecution), they have a dog, and there have been major infestations of rats (it’s near a river) attracted by the dog food and possibly cannabis plants (rats chewed through the cooker cable). They have dumped tons of rubbish, old motor scooters, white goods, oil and tyres from old cars in the basement and garden that isn’t part of their tenancy. They changed the lock when I locked the basement to prevent further access. Is any of these grounds not to grant a new tenancy?
12. Can we expect a tenancy deposit, so we have some way to seek recompense if the damage is done and the rubbish is dumped? What if they refuse to pay a deposit? We have felt powerless to enforce anything with the Regulated Tenancy and without a deposit.
13. Can the terms of the new Assured Tenancy say that internal repairs should be notified to the landlord and that the tenant should only do work with the written authorisation of the landlord? Under the Regulated Tenancy, internal works were the tenant's responsibility. We’ve had major problems with water damage in the shop below from their inappropriate plumbing attempts, as well as unauthorised work and damage to a listed building.
14. Should I notify the Rent Officer that the tenancy has ended and process for that?
The tenancy needs complete refurbishment and works to protect its listed status; it isn’t fit for habitation as it is, although it meets all statutory requirements.
15. I understand the tenant can be moved to another flat on a temporary or permanent basis on an Assured Tenancy if they agree. But if the tenant doesn’t agree, what would be the grounds for getting it agreed upon, and what procedure should we go through? Would we be expected to house everyone living there or just the tenant?