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Wow... my tenants were killed!! - Landlord Forum thread 250536

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Wow... my tenants were killed!! by Katiekate (New York) on March 13, 2012 @14:49

I was just informed that 2 of the 3 students in one of my units were killed in an auto crash this past weekend.

I am in shock.

The remaining tenant is in shock.

I realize that he is not going to be paying the entire rent by himself this coming month. I haven't it in me to ask the parents of these kids for the rent....just cannot do it.

I am baffled what I need to do about the last month and security money I hold for those 2 students. This close to the end of the school year, I am not sure my remaining students wants to stay another year, or is willing to consider 2 new roommates.

Anyone give me some guidance on what I should do?

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Re: Wow... my tenants were killed!! by A.T.SF (CA) on March 13, 2012 @15:29 [ Reply ]
Oh My Katiekate! I'm sorry for your tenants...that is so sad. My son is in college and that hits home.
First do nothing...let the remaining tenant grieve and be assisted by his parents. You are right he will not be capable of handling the whole rent himself or would his parents want to pay the entire amount.
Do not ask the grieving parents to pay rent. Use their portion of the security deposit if need be. You know that those parents will come to empty the house of the deceased possessions. If their is a remainder of SD write out the check to the parents. You may ask the remaining tenant after the funerals have taken place if he wants to replace his roommates or allow the lease to expire. The lease is basically now breached with the two decedents. Good luck to you and we will keep those families in our thoughts.
Re: Wow... my tenants were killed!! by Anna Mouse on March 13, 2012 @15:56 [ Reply ]
Sorry Katie.

To lessen your burden, as a small concession for the remaining tenant, I believe the one remaining student will receive A's for the entire semester. Won't make it better at all but in the long run will help that one student.
Re: Wow... my tenants were killed!! by Eric (MN) on March 13, 2012 @18:18 [ Reply ]
I would not ask the parents for additional rent, but legally you could. Offer to let the last one out of the lease, and re-fill, or give a month or two to find a new tenant(s).

I would keep the security deposit and rent. Send a card and flowers. If it's only a small amount, send it back.
Re: Wow... my tenants were killed!! by Anonymous on March 13, 2012 @23:01 [ Reply ]
Oh gosh, wow. This is not one we get everyday.

First as you obviously are I would give them time to process and figure things out. This is a really complicated situation requiring a LOT of sensitivity.

Since you have the last months rent and security and the year is nearly over it is probably easiest on everyone to leave the place vacant with just the one tenant until the end of the term - unless the families object over the cost.

However while you need to be respectful and reach an equitable solution, you should not have to take an additional hit financially.

It's kind of hard though because technically your "job" is to rerent the property to mitigate the costs. I think if you can find a way to be sensitive and yet explain this to the parties then let them decide what they want.

You DO NOT want to get into the position of being the greedy insensitive landlord.

Also you have the sad issue now that nobody is going to want to immediately move into a deal persons room (to be somewhat brusk).

I would say probably the remaining tenant will want to leave the memories. You may be vacant over the summer, then get a whole new set of tenants who did knot know the deceased - sort of a clean slate start.

Give the family space, both time and physically when they come to collect the students belongings. Or if the case is such you may want to offer to pack the belonging up for them.

You just really need to play this by ear and it probably wouldn't hurt to try to get some guidance from the school medical/psych/counseling staff to help you in dealing with the families.

Re: Wow... my tenants were killed!! by Nicole (PA) on March 14, 2012 @07:22 [ Reply ]
Once you decide what to do, I wouldn't return any security to the parents unless they're entitled under the lease. Unfortunately this day in age, you don't know if the parents are divorced/separated/ fighting/might just not be rationally thinking for a while. A monetary refund, if you issue it, would go to the deceased estates. I wouldn't charge rent through the end of the lease for the deceased. I'd just let it go. I would charge the remaining tenant 1/3 of the rent.

As a landlord our job is to make money from our rentals. However, I am also a human and a mother. I personally would allow the remaining student to move out if he wants to and break the lease w/no consequences. I wouldn't contact the deceased students parents. I'd wait 30ish days for them to contact me before I'd think to do anything. But again, the parents have no legal rights to the items in the apartment. You don't want to be "assisting" in the middle of 3 sets of grieving, perhaps nonthinking rationally parents deciding who owned the entertainment center and whose PlayStation. Hopefully, they have a key and can gain access without your assistance.

I'd wait to return the security deposit until everyone & everything is gone and then divy it up proprtionately the way it's set up under the lease and would only give it to the deceased parents w/some type legal disclaimer from who knows who. I probably wuold use my attorney for a final type release form.
To: Katie by Anna Mouse on March 14, 2012 @14:11 [ Reply ]
I already commented some in the leg of the thread.

I would call the school find the person in charge of this situation. There will likely be a funeral services on campus for the students. I would be making this call in the form of wanting advice. Asking them what they usually do, i.e. if it was in the dorm. Clearly you are a caring person who is concerned and in shock as what the right thing to do. Ask them for help in guiding you on what might be the right choice.
Re: Wow... my tenants were killed!! by OK-LL on March 14, 2012 @15:20 [ Reply ]
I bet I get villified for this response, but here it is. I would use the last month's rent and the SD to cover the April and May rent for the deceased tenants, collect the April rent from the living tenant and use the last month's rent to cover May (I assume school ends in May). I would return the living student's SD as usual, less repairs. This is fair to the LL and doesn't unduly burden the deceaseds' parents with dealing with this financial situation. I doubt they have any expectation of a refund. Try to remember that you are these kids' LL, not their family friend. I'm not advocating being callous, but don't interject yourself where it's not appropriate. The family will likely have plenty of close support which will be much more meaningful to them.
Re: Wow... my tenants were killed!! by Anonymous on March 14, 2012 @19:09 [ Reply ]
I would keep the security deposit and last months rent to cover costs of the remaining lease. I would let the tenant left remain there by themselves for the rest of the lease and just find out after a couple weeks pass if they want to stay there next year with new rommmates or if they will move out at end of lease. I would let remaining tenant just pay their portion of rent and use the SD and last mo rent of the deceased to to cover part of the rest of the cost. This also allows the parents time to decide what they want to do with their childrens belongings. I would send flowers to the parents of the deceased children.
Re: Wow... my tenants were killed!! by Katiekate (New York) on March 15, 2012 @06:10 [ Reply ]
Thank all of you for your responses.

To fill you in a is the parents who have signed the lease..and the parents who have paid all the money (rent, deposits, etc). SO, it is to them that I have the responsibility for handling this.

So.. I have been informed by a 'solicitor' (students are Chinese Nationals) that the parents are holding the services in Xiamen, China. I was further informed that both the last month rent and the deposits I hold are mine..the parents are not interested in dealing with anything further in New York and I will receive a release form from him.

So, I will hold the remaining student harmless..he can decide next month what he wants to do.

April is the latest I can get new students in for the coming year (august move in for registration). So, I will wait to post at the Universities till then. I really don't want to enter the new school year without students...I just deal so much better with this arrangement.

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