If your tenant has died and has left no will, the deceased will be subject to the intestacy rules. You may then wonder where you should serve notices that affect the land.
Security of Tenure
The first factor to be aware of is that on the death of a secure or assured tenant, that tenant will no longer be living at the property and the statutory security of tenure that they enjoyed will no longer apply.
Where the tenant has left no will and dies intestate
Where the tenant dies intestate, the tenancy vests in the Public Trustee. In these circumstances, notices should be served at the last known address of the deceased, addressed to their Personal Representatives and a copy must also be served on the Public Trustee.
Gateway Housing Association Ltd v (1) The Personal Representatives of Mr Ali (Deceased) (2) Mrs Begum
In this case, the Gateway Housing Association Ltd was the landlord of a property and Mr Ali was the tenant. When Mr Ali died intestate in August 2018, Mrs Begum remained in occupation.
However, the statutory security of tenure was lost when Mr Ali died and therefore Mrs Begum had no statutory right to the tenancy. She also had no contractual right.
Gateway served a notice to quit at the property on Mr Ali’s Personal Representatives on 17 October 2018. A copy of this notice was also served on the Public Trustee on 30 October 2018. The expiry date of the notices were four weeks from the date of service.
Gateway issued possession proceedings when Mrs Begum did not leave the property. During these proceedings, Mrs Begum argued that as the notices sent to the Personal Representatives and Public Trustee were served on different dates, the four-week expiry date differed meaning the notices were invalid. This argument was accepted by the county court.
However, an appeal was allowed. It was held that the key notice was the one served on the Personal Representatives and the version served on the Public Trustee need only be a copy. Provided the copy served on the Public Trustee is served before the expiry of the notice served on the Personal Representatives, the notice remains valid.
Has your tenant died intestate?