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Ask James Mather Your Own Question
James Mather
James Mather,
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 22629
Experience:  Senior Partner at Berkson Wallace
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My brother died in his flat on 25th February 2013. He had paid

Customer Question

My brother died in his flat on 25th February 2013. He had paid rent up to 12th March. Coincidentally he had agreed with the landlord to extend his tenancy for a £25 rise in rent from 12th March which is when the current tenancy expired. I told the letting agents of the death on the 28th Feb. They asked me to clean the flat as soon as possible so it might be re-marketed which I did. I then heard nothing for 3 weeks. Following the inventory the letting agents now want to keep all of the deposit except £75. I can accept their rationale for this but they asre telling me the landlord also wants to keep the rent from the date of death to the 12th March. I have been told that "frustration" applies here and that a tribunal might decide in my favour and ask the landlord to pay this back. I am appalled that he is keeping this. What is the position please. I would add that am the guarantor.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  James Mather replied 4 years ago.

I am Law Denning and I am a practising solicitor in a High Street practice. 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

It is my pleasure to try and assist you with this today. Please bear with me
while I gather some further information from you in order for me to be able to
advise you fully.

Is the flat now empty? When did you empty it? Why the delay?


I can tell you that this is nothing to do with Frustration of Contract as the contract subject matter, the flat, hasn't been destroyed.


Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The flat was empty from the 8th March but was empty of occupants as soon as my brother's body was taken away. This was the earliest that I could get the flat cleaned as the letting agents had asked me to do. This cost me £250. The landlord has tried to justify holding £1050 of the deposit by claiming the carpets were new when my brother tenancy started in 2010 but cannot provide any receipts. He is also claiming a new underlay is needed costing £300. The amoun of rent he is withholding is about £350 and he wants to return £75 of the deposi. It is obvious he wants to re-do the entire flat. Had I known this outcome I wouldn't have had the flat cleaned at my expense but would have asked the letting agents to deduct it from the deposit. So, it looks to me as if they rushed me into cleaning the flat, so they weren't put in a position where they had a defecit and had to chase me for money. There are several issues here asd I'm sure you appeciate

Expert:  James Mather replied 4 years ago.

Thank you. As I
said earlier, frustration of contract does not apply.

Unless there is a
provision in the tenancy agreement for it to end on death, then if it is during
the current tenancy period, that your brother died there is a liability for
rent until the end of the rental period or, until the landlord gets a new
tenant if sooner.

If the original
tenancy had expired and your brother was holding over on a month by month basis
there is a liability for one months notice or, in longer, until the flat is
emptied of all possessions.

In that case,
notice should have been given at the end of February for the tenancy to end at
the end of March and it should have been emptied of possessions by the end of

If you are the
executor of your brother's estate, all I would do is agree to pay the rent
until the flat was completely empty of all possessions and if the landlord will
not return the rest of the deposit, I would file a dispute with the deposit
scheme that fails, I would simply issue small claims court proceedings which
you can do quite easily here

At the moment, I
think the landlord is trying to use you as a soft touch/cash cow.

Does that answer
the question.? Can I assist any further?

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