Houston Property Management Blog

Houston Property Management: What Happens When a Tenant Passes In Your Property

System - Friday, August 23, 2019

ELDA Management Services.  Today’s topic of discussion deals with what happens when a tenant passes on your property.  I know it sounds a bit morbid, but the reality is, that it does happen and you need to be prepared.

Property Management Houston: 

What Happens When a Tenant Passes In Your Property?

As a landlord, have you ever stopped to think about what happens when a tenant or a family member of the tenant passes in one of your properties? It is critical to stop and think in advance of what actions are necessary before it happens, because when it does, it is too late to start trying to figure out what you need and what actions to take. 

There are several items that need to be looked at, to make sure that you are prepared when someone passes at one of your properties. This unfortunately occurs in many ways, such as:

Aging, health conditions, accidents and yes, the unthinkable. 

So what do you need to prepare yourself?  Well let's touch base on a few things to get started:

  1. Updated Emergency Contact information on your lease agreement.  This is the person that has all the rights to access the property and take possession of their belongings.  Additionally, they are the ones that will be handling communications with appropriate members of the family.  Never leave this part blank in your lease agreements or your applications for lease

  1. Family members and contact information.  You will want someone from their family to know what has occurred in order to keep them updated.  You will need this in case the emergency contact does not know who the family may be.

  1. Contact information for the Coroners office.  They will be the ones to go to the property and investigate the circumstance for the cause of death.  They will also remove the body from the property, so know who to call, should you ever have to.

  1. In the instance the individual passed without anyone knowing, you will need to contact someone to handle the Bio-hazard cleanup.   Make sure you have contacted and negotiate the price for someone who does bio-hazard cleaning and removal. This is important because it is a tremendously expensive process and if you don’t already have someone who you can trust and afford, you will be shocked when you have to spend $10,000 to $15,000 to have the cleanup done.

  1. Prepare for the people to come and make your normal make ready

  1. Once the property has been cleaned out and ready, you need to make sure you know how to handle the security deposit for that tenant. Just because the tenant has died, the lease does not necessarily end nor, the security deposit is just automatically given to the homeowner or the landlord.  Please make sure you understand the laws that surround the circumstances on how deposits are handled in this situation.

Make sure you have all of this information somewhere handy in your policies and procedures manuals in case this was to ever happen to you. Be ready!!  This type of thing does not  always happen during business hours and unless you are prepared, this could be a very taxing situation.  Just like any other job for a property manager or landlord, anything you can do in advance, DO IT!

Again, this Elias with ELDA Management Services, if you have any questions on this subject, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at management@eldams.com.  I hope this was helpful to you