• Patrick Rankin

How To End A Tenancy After The Death Of A Sole Tenant.

Updated: Feb 28



Working in property management provides the opportunity to make friends with people from all walks of life. Early in my career, a sole tenant whom I got to know, passed away and it was very sad. It also had interesting affects on the tenancy which I will share in this post.


The Residential Tenancies Act is an essential tool every property manager and landlord needs to be familiar with. I often find myself referring to it, as I did in this situation because I could not end the tenancy in the traditional ways, nor could I refund the bond. After referring to the RTA, I found the following:


Section 50A of the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 covers the death of a sole tenant, and it provides 4 ways to end the tenancy.

1. A representative of the tenant can give 21 days notice to the landlord.

2. The landlord can give the tenants representative 21 days notice to end the tenancy.

3. The landlord applies to the tenancy tribunal for termination.

4. The tenancy will end on the date agreed to by the landlord and the tenants representative.


In addition to the information above, I also required a death certificate to have the bond refunded. In this case the landlord and I decided to refund the bond in full to the tenants family.

Unfortunately for me, there was more to the story... because the bond was refunded, there was nothing to motivate the tenants family to leave the house in a fair and reasonable state. Which would have been a great way to acknowledge the landlords kind gesture. The house was left in a complete mess!


Usually if I am left with a clean up to do, after tenants vacate. I ask the tenancy tribunal to award the landlord for the costs of the clean up. This is called a vacated cost application. But, my tenant had passed away, so that was going to be a little tricky in this case.


The landlord decided to renovate the house and start fresh, so they weren’t too worried about the mess that was left behind. I filled a large skip bin to the brim with what the tenants left behind, and then managed the renovations. Soon enough, I started showing new families through the home, and started a new tenancy with great tenants that I soon got to know.


This was about 8 years ago. The story and lessons have stuck with me, and I enjoyed sharing it with you in this post.

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