Can I Access the property

The local council have notified my agent a month ago that the tenant is deceased and terminated the Benefit payment . We do not have record of next of kin (amazes me) the tenant had left the property in a filthy state with very little of any worth mostly old clothes. We do not know how he died or where he is. The Borough council will not disclose any information, in the circumstances that the management or I have not been contacted I feel to just clear out the property ,it’s nothing but rubbish furniture and loads of taty clothing and prepare for reletting. I am morally correct in doing this??

Morally yes Legally I do not think so . Someone else asked the same question a while ago but i cannot remember the answer. I had a tenant die , the son cleared out allthe good stuff and gave me back the keys


I believe you have to give the tenant (in this case it would be the person responsible for the tenants estate) 14 days notice. If no response you can legally clear it yourself and charges can be taken from the deposit.

There is a risk that the deceaseds estate would sue you for Interference with Goods, but under the circumstances I would probably do the same thing. However, I might ask the Borough Council to pass a message to the next of kin giving them a deadline to collect the stuff in line with whatever the tenancy agreement gives. I would also photograph/video the property and all the former tenants stuff to provide some cover incase they ask about the gold watch he left there.

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Thanks for your comment I think I’ll wait till end of the year and if no response from anyone to do with the tenant I’ll clear it out.

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Thanks David all useful comments.

The thing about the Torts Interference with Goods Act is that you have to make several genuine attempts to give the stuff back, so if you email and text the tenant, (the family may still be monitoring) and do anything else you can think of, you will probably be fine.

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Thanks David good points , the tenant changed the locks so the keys we had couldn’t access the property so with a locksmith have gained access. Ive put a note on the front door for anyone visiting with our contact details. It’s now a waiting game but I’ll give it till end of the month.

I don’t think that a waiting game would be sufficient. You should think about other ways to contact the family.

I’ve managed today to order a copy of the death certificate so hopefully whoever registered the death will be named. Also left messages on the tenants phone but no response yet. I’ll keep digging.

Thought for future contracts- I always ask for next of kin contract details or an alternative person contact details.


I came across a situation where the tenant sensed he will die soon,so left the property to his native place and died 10 days later.

Luckily i happen to go by the property frequently as i have to walk past it.

No signs of activity, neighbours had no clue, he had paid 6 month rent in advance, what saved me from the hassle of access is he had given me a emergency contact from abroad who had no interest in his possesions.

One day job, i cleared the house, sorted, all furniture,appliances was mine, he really lived humbly, but an avid reader, lots of interesting books. Life chapter closed, we come with nothing, go with nothing. His Work place had good reviews on him when i contacted, i also did a credit check report just to check he is not a fugitive.

that is a sad tale for the tenant. To know you do not have much time left

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