In 2020, a new law about residential leases took effect. Now, if a person enters into a residential lease and was the only occupant of the premises, and then dies before the lease is up, the lease may be terminated by the deceased person’s personal representative.
Why this is important
Properly using this law can ensure that the estate of the deceased person is not liable to pay the rent until the end of the lease term, and won’t be in default for not doing so. This is a real benefit to any survivors or heirs when there are still funds in the estate that can be useful elsewhere.
Who can act on this
The representative of the deceased person’s estate can act on this.
Requirements of the Representative
Written notice must be given to the landlord, terminating the lease. The property must be vacated and property of the tenant must be removed in accordance with the law. The representative can be required by the landlord to make a signed inventory of what was removed.
Lease copy provided to representative
The landlord is required to give a copy of the lease to the representative after receiving the written notice to terminate the lease, if the representative requests it.
About delinquent rent and damages
Any past due rent that was already owed will not be forgiven by this process. Any damages to the premises other than normal wear and tear will still be due. These will be liabilities of the estate and the landlord may seek legal action to have them paid. So, don’t forget to remove all property and to clean the premises afterwards!
If you are the personal representative of a person who had a residential lease and they were the sole occupant of the premises, you should act right away to prevent further rent from becoming due and being a liability of the estate.
See the actual law
Texas Property Code Section 92.0162. Click the link to get more details. If you have any questions, our probate attorneys can help you understand all of your options.
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