ISSUE:

The tenant signs a one-year residential lease. Four months later the tenant dies. After diligent efforts the landlord has been unable to locate any relatives of the tenant. The landlord wants to rent the property to another tenant. How can the landlord terminate the lease after the tenant’s death?

ANSWER:

After the death of the tenant, the tenant’s estate acquired the interest in the one-year lease. In other words, the tenant’s estate acquired all rights and obligations under the lease, including the obligation to make monthly rent payments. If the monthly rent payments are not made, the tenant’s estate can be evicted after compliance with probate procedures. In general, the landlord as a creditor of the tenant’s estate is entitled to open a probate, and to have a Personal Representative of the tenant’s estate appointed, forty-five days after the death of the tenant. After a Personal Representative is appointed, the landlord can serve the Personal Representative with the five-day notice for non-payment of rent and thereafter complete the eviction.

Arizona REALTOR® Digest May 2006


About the Author

Michelle Lind

K. Michelle Lind, CEO of Arizona REALTORS®, is also an attorney, State Bar of Arizona board certified real estate specialist, and the author of Arizona Real Estate: A Professional’s Guide to Law and Practice.
Please note that this article is of a general nature and may not be updated or revised for accuracy as statutory or case law changes following the date of first publication. Further, this article reflects only the opinion of the author, is not intended as definitive legal advice and you should not act upon it without seeking independent legal counsel.