What to do if a family member or friend dies whilst they're a council tenant.

What to do if a tenant dies

Coping with a death is never easy, and trying to deal with someone's estate can be complicated and upsetting. 

You'll need to let us know as soon as possible if you're:

  • living with a tenant who's died
  • dealing with a tenant's property, belongings and money, known as their estate

You can ask us to either:

  • end the tenancy 
  • check if the people currently living at the property can stay

You want to end the tenancy

You're the executor or administrator

If you want to legally end the tenancy, you'll need to be either: 

  • the executor of the tenant's estate: this means you've been named in the will as the person who'll deal with the tenant's estate after they've died 
  • an administrator: this means that you've applied to the Probate Registry and got a Letter of Administration (sometimes called Grant of Probate)

You'll need to give four weeks' notice to end the tenancy. The notice always starts on a Monday. If you give notice on a Monday before 12noon, the notice period will start on that day. If it's after 12noon, the notice period will start the following Monday.

You're not the executor

If you're not the executor of the estate, it doesn't matter. We'll end the tenancy for you. You just need to fill in the form and let us do the rest.

We'll serve a Notice to Quit on the Public Trustee to end the tenancy. This will bring the tenancy to an end four weeks after it's served. 

What you'll need before you start the form

You'll need some information and documents to hand before you fill in the form.

Information you'll need

You'll need:

  • The Tell us once reference number
  • Details of anyone who's currently living at the property. You'll need their name, date of birth and relationship to the deceased tenant

It's also useful if you have the tenant's:

  • Rent reference number
  • Gas and electric supplier details

Documents you'll need

  • If you haven't told the Tell us Once service, you'll need the death certificate.
  • If you're the administrator or executor of the estate, and you want to end the tenancy, you'll need:
    • your identification, such as a passport, photo driver's licence or birth certificate 
    • a document that says you're the executor or the administrator, such as the will or the letter of administration

Let us know a tenant has died

What you need to do if you end the tenancy

Pay any rent charges and arrears

The executor, administrator or family members are not responsible for paying the rent of the deceased tenant. 

If the tenant was claiming Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit it will stop on the Sunday after the date of death. It won't cover the charges between this date and the tenancy ending.

We charge the full weekly rent until the tenancy is formally ended. This must be paid as well as any arrears from the deceased tenant's estate. 

Email rent.management@bristol.gov.uk if you need to find out how much this will be.

Clear the property

You'll need to clear the property of all furniture and personal belongings before you return the keys. You can use our bulky waste collection service for larger items.

Return all keys

You must return all keys for the property to our Citizen Service Point by 12noon on the Monday that the tenancy ends.

If you don't return the keys by this time, you'll have to pay the weekly rent until they're returned to us.

The keys you need to return include:

  • Communal keys, for example, metal and electric keys to the front door of your block of flats
  • Garage keys
  • Store cupboard keys
  • Mobility scooter store key

You can leave any gas or electricity keys or cards in the property. 

If the tenant had a designated parking permit you can leave this in the property too.