Tenant Death/ Surender of Tenancy Agreement

Hi everyone,

I am looking for some advise regarding a tenant who has sadly recently died. She was a good tenant of approx. 18 months and always paid the rent on time. The tenancy agreement defaulted to a periodic tenancy at the end of the initial 12 month period and a deposit is currently being held with DPS.

The tenants close family are elderly and live overseas although I have had contact with a cousin in the UK. I have been sympathetic to their loss throughout, offering any time they need to arrange funeral arrangements and anything else of priority before taking care of the property, which the family have been thankful for. I am in the process of organising dates to remove the tenants possessions with the cousin.

Both the family and I are now keen to process the surrender of the lease although neither I or the tenants family know how to do this.

The family have provided me with an Aunt’s name and address who lives in the UK of who they have ‘assigned’ as the executor to the estate, although there is no legal paperwork, a Will or anything else to confirm who this person officially is. The family have not instructed a probate solicitor to take care of the tenants estate and may choose not to do so at all.

I have read on various sites that I require a copy of the ‘Letters of Administration’ confirming who the Executor to the estate is. As there have been no solicitors involved to-date (and maybe never will be), is the fact the family have simply provided as name and address of a ‘named Executor’ sufficient enough for me to start the tenancy surrender process?

If anyone is also able to advise what the process is from there, i.e.

  • what forms are required to surrender a tenancy agreement
  • who the forms need to be sent to/ registered with etc.

Any further or relating advise to the above would be much appreciated.

Is not the fact that she is no longer alive a surrender in a sense as she is not alive to continue living there and I assume no one else is on the rental agreement

Hi Colin,

Correct. The rental agreement was solely in her name and she lived alone with no spouse.
My understanding in this scenario is the tenancy agreement defaults to the representative of the tenants estate. Which is where my concerns lay, as above.

then that must mean you can give them notice to quit? (notwithstanding corona virus) an unusual situation…the executor could give you a letter stating they have no interest in the lease of your property?

Another landlord on this forum once wrote a few months ago: “I had to serve notice on the Official Solicitor and Public Trustee to end the tenancy with a Section 21 notice, as the tenancy doesn’t end with the death of the tenant.” I don’t think they had any relatives to turn to.

I looked up the web and found this government statement for you at https://www.gov.uk/tenancy-agreements-a-guide-for-landlords/if-your-tenant-dies-without-an-executor-or-a-will:

  • The tenancy is transferred temporarily to the Public Trustee
  • You may be fined if you try to repossess a property without following the rules.
  • So complete the forms on this website! Do so in cooperation with the temporary Executor.

Good luck. It is nice to see so many helpful landlords on this forum.


Thank you John. This is very helpful.