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James Mather
James Mather,
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 22629
Experience:  Senior Partner at Berkson Wallace
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My estranged father died 250 miles away from me in a property

Customer Question

My estranged father died 250 miles away from me in a property he had rented for about 18 years. He died on 21/8/13 but i only found out by ringing his local hospital on 6/9/13 by then the local authority had taken over as my father had told everyone for years that he had no family even thought he had 7 children, he only occaisionally kept in touch with me and my brother. My brother and I went down to meet the local authority on 9/9/13 to get the details and prove who we were and to see what needed to be done. They had already been to my fathers house to collect papers etc to see if there was any family but could find no details. We decided to let them continue to arrange his funeral in conjunction with us as they were half way down the road of this process, they said they would do this and after the funeral they would hand over his file and all his paperwork. We said we would like to go to the property to look for personal effects, mainly photo's, they agreed and met us there and left us with the keys and told us to drop them back at their office. The house was in an appauling dirty state and quite obviously there'd been no ongoing maintainance. We asked the local authority for the details of the landlord, and asked if they had been notified of my fathers death. they said they hadn't & they couldn't give us the landlords detail at this stage.
Over the next few days we continued to ask for the landlords detail and eventually they gave us the name but would not give us a number stating data protection. they said they would contact the landlord and get them to ring us. I went away on business and on my return I spoke with the the local authority on 23/9/13 and said the landlord had not contacted us, the lady said they had spoken with the landlord that morning and gave them our numbers and asked them to ring us, I asked the lady could she tell me what date the landlord was told of my fathers death and she said this morning, The lady said to the landlord that they could not find any paperwork regarding the tenancy and no evidence regarding payment of rent in my fathers papers and bank statements, the landlord said they were a friend of my fathers and my father would go round and pay his rent in cash. The lady from the local authority also said the landlord had arranged to me her at the property on 2/10/13, I asked why and she said she was unsure, I said I did not want anything removing from the property without notifying me or my brother first, she said ok.
The funeral has been arranged for 7/10/13 and up to this date the landlord has not contacted us and the local authority will still not give us there number.
I, we can not understand why they will not contact us , is it something to do with there arrangement or the conditions he was living in.
I am a landlord myself and i would have no problem contacting a family member ref a tenants death, i would want to help in any way possible.
My brother and I have a meeting with the local authority on the morning of my dads funeral.
Please can you tell us our rights.
I look forward to your reply.
Many thanks David Mark Ovington
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  James Mather replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for your question here on Just answer. It is my pleasure to try and assist you with this today. Please bear with me if I need to ask for any further information from you in order for me to be able to advise you fully. My name is Law Denning and I am a practising solicitor. I have been an expert on this website in UK law since 2008. During that time, as you appreciate, I have answered thousands of questions from satisfied users on a variety of subjects.
Because we are all in practice with clients and court and other users, I might not always respond in minutes, particularly evenings and weekends. Please bear with me in that case. I will be online and off-line all day most weekdays and weekends.

Do you have a specific question?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I look forward to your reply to my main question.

Expert:  James Mather replied 4 years ago.

I'm sorry but you will give me a lot of information but the only
question is "please can you tell is our rights".

I am unable to answer such an open question. I don't know what
you want to happen

If however you want to let me have a specific question or
specific questions, I will be happy to deal with it.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

my question is should the local authority give us the landlords number and should the landlord have kept the property in a good state of repair

Expert:  James Mather replied 4 years ago.

The local authority are bound to quote the data protection act
and they cannot give you the landlord's number without the landlord's consent.
I think they are being completely unreasonable and being jobsworths but
strictly speaking, they are correct.

Yes, the landlord should have kept the building in good repair
that would have been an issue for your father when he was alive and not for his
executors now because although it may have been inconvenient, he has not
suffered any loss or injury.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

So the landlord can not be taken to task ref the condition of the property & should my father have a tenancy agreement and should there be some sort of evidence of rental payment, ie rent book.

Also is the landlord allowed to clear the property and dispose of his posessions without notifying us.


Thanks Mark

Expert:  James Mather replied 4 years ago.

The landlord is only under a duty to make
reasonable attempts to find you and it appears that the landlord (or all that
the local authority) did that. They cannot be responsible if you and your
father were not in touch.

The landlord is under a duty to mitigate his loss
and that will involve emptying the property so that he can relet it.

There is no legal obligation for a tenant to have
a rent book or tenancy agreement unless they ask for it.

I still don't know what you're trying to achieve

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I was trying to achieve.

1) Can the local authority withhold the landlords number from me

2) Did my father have to have a tenancy agreement

3) Should my father of had a rent book

4) Should the landlord have kept the property in a decent state of repair

5) Can the landlord clear out the property and my fathers belongings without notifying me first and giving me the opportunity to collect some of his belongings.

Many thanks Mark

Expert:  James Mather replied 4 years ago.

Thank you. I have already answered
these questions in the thread above.

Can I help further?