Does landlord’s death end lease?

2018-10-17 06:03
Cleopatra Mukhari

Cleopatra Mukhari

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Question:

My father recently passed away.

He had rental properties in his name, and one of the tenants called me to hear if he has to move out now that my father has died.

What is the position?

Has the lease agreement come to an end?

Answer:

Lease agreements do not generally terminate on the death of the landlord.

The appointed executor of the deceased’s estate will take over the administration of the estate and transfer the residue of the estate after payment to the heirs.

The rights and obligations in terms of the lease agreement will pass to the heirs, provided that the heir accepts the inheritance.

The terms of the lease agreement will be paramount in determining the grounds for termination of the lease.

Should the agreement specifically provide that the lease terminates on the death of your father (the landlord), this position will apply when the landlord dies.

A tenant will, however, have to be allowed a reasonable period to vacate the premises.

Given that tenants could be affected by your father’s death, it may be prudent to approach your executor to review the lease agreements and determine the termination provisions thereof.

This will avoid continuing uncertainty in this regard and ensure proper communication with your tenants on their continuing rental position.
– Cleopatra Mukhari, associate, Phatshoane Henney Attorneys

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