Tenant Belongings: Situation #4 – Tenant Dies
Welcome to Landlord’s Self-Help Centre’s module on dealing with tenant belongings when the tenant has died. The information offered in this presentation is intended as general information, it is not legal advice. If you need more information, please contact a legal service provider.
Residential Tenancies Act, 2006
In Ontario, the Residential Tenancies Act is the provincial law that governs most residential rental agreements. It defines the rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants and outlines appropriate ways for dealing with tenant belongings when the tenant has died.
Situations Involving Belongings
There are many situations involving tenant belongings left behind in a rental unit. This module will focus on Situation #4 where the tenant has died.
Situation #4- Death of the Tenant
When a tenant dies, the tenancy terminates 30 days after the date of death.
Spouse remains in unit
If the deceased tenant is survived by a spouse or partner who also occupied the unit as their primary residence, they can remain in the unit as a tenant.
During 30 day period
If the tenant did not leave a spouse or partner behind, the landlord must:
- Leave the belongings in the tenant’s unit during the 30 day period,
- Preserve any property belonging to the tenant but they can immediately dispose of any unsafe and unhygienic items, and
- Provide reasonable access to the rental unit to allow the executor or administrator of the estate or family member to remove the tenant’s belongings.
After the 30 day period
Once 30 days have passed since the tenant’s death, the landlord has the right to sell, keep or dispose of any belongings still in the rental unit.
Tenant’s family claims belongings
If, within six (6) months, the tenant’s family claims the deceased tenant’s belongings, the landlord is required to return any items still in the landlord’s possession, or provide the tenant’s family with proceeds of the sale of any belongings after deducting arrears of rent and out-of-pocket expenses.
Thank you for watching this module about dealing with tenant belongings when the tenant has died. The information offered in this presentation is intended as general information, it is not legal advice. If you have a specific issue or situation, please contact a legal service provider.