My Tenant died and the widow (not on the agreement) is refusing to speak to us

My first post so hopefully somebody can help.

One of our tenants, sadly passed away last December and his wife is refusing to have anything to do with us, despite several requests.

Our Tenant took out the Tenancy Agreement in 2011, in his sole name as he was a single man at the time, but married around six years ago. We had no problem with his wife moving in and we have always had a good relationship with him. His wife, however, who has never been particularly pleasant, is now refusing to let us know who is dealing with his estate and refuses to speak with us.

We have made it very clear to her, in texts and letters, that we are only trying to help her, and that we simply need to sort out the tenancy agreement. We do not know if our tenant passed the tenancy on to her by succession, and we do not know even if our tenant left a will, and if he did, who is the executor.

Just before we knew of his terminal illness we were planning a small rent increase, but we held off for obvious reasons. The widow is continuing to pay the rent, so we are not out of pocket, but we feel it is our duty as the landlord to formalise the tenancy.

I believe we could give her notice and issue her with a completed NL1 with copies to the Public Trustee, but we would rather simply transfer the tenancy to her name and apply the small rent increase.

Our attempts to visit her have not been successful, as she is either out, or refuses to answer the door, and we do not wish to be seen as intimidating or threatening towards her in any way.

Has any other Landlord here been in a similar position, and able to give us some guidance?


As you probably know, the death of the tenant does not end the tenancy. It is now vested in his estate. You could assume that his wife is the executor of his estate as this would be a reasonable guess and write to her formally on that basis. Even if his estate is being managed by someone else who then gave up the tenancy, she would still have similar rights to the tenant under Family law. Also, by accepting rent from her you may have created an undocumented tenancy in her name anyway.

I would suggest that you take proper legal advice on this from a housing solicitor.

taking the rent off her is granting a tenancy

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Many thanks for the replies.

Yes we knew that death doesn’t end the tenancy, which is why we were trying to have a meaningful discussion with the widow so we could sort out the tenancy for her. We did presume she would be the executor but the problem we were having is that she refused to reply to anything we sent her. We tried letters, texts and phone calls without success.

The good news is that we were contacted, quite out of the blue, on Friday, as she has sought help with the matter. We are happy for her to continue as a tenant, so hopefully we can now move forward and tidy things up with the tenancy in her name.

Thanks again for your kind replies.

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sounds like a good result so far

If you are happy with her then I suggest you create a new tenancy in her name to bring the paperwork up to date.

Yes it is looking better than it was.earlier last week. I’ve written again offering to create a new tenancy in her sole name, so we’re now waiting for a response.

Hopefully the help she has sought will get involved, so we can finalise something very soon.

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