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NSW No Lease - Are We Liable to Pay Late Brother's Rent?

Discussion in 'Wills and Estate Planning Law Forum' started by JUde, 24 July 2016.

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  1. JUde

    JUde Active Member

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    Hello, all.

    My stepbrother recently passed away and left my sister and I as beneficiaries. (There are very few assets and I am still trying to recoup funds to pay for the funeral.) I live 500kms north of where my stepbrother lived and my sister is about 400kms south.

    He was renting a unit (for the past 3 and a half years) but did not have a lease. I have cleared the unit out of possessions to the best of my ability (spending a week at the unit to do this) and cleaned it as best as I could. However, items such as the Venetian blinds, the lino in the kitchen and the bedroom carpet haven't faired too well and would need replacing.

    I advised the landlord that the unit had been vacated but there were a few furniture items in the garage that would be removed during the following week. There are also some items in the garage that I was unable to move - namely an old freezer and a safe (an ancient Chubb) that literally weighs a tonne (a crane was used to put it there).

    The Landlord has responded with a demanding letter stating that he is charging us rent until such time as all items have been removed from the garage and that the carpet and lino are fixed and a complete clean done on the unit.

    Where do we stand on all this? Are we legally liable to ensure that the unit is ready to be rented again to someone else?

    As mentioned I don't believe there is any sort of written agreement or lease at all between the Landlord and my late stepbrother, and my sister and I have certainly not agreed to anything.

    Some help would be really helpful, please.
     
  2. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer

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    Is there a will?
     
  3. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    You have no agreement with the landlord and are not responsible for any rent.

    re: Safe and freezer. Contact a scrap metal dealer, they might take it away for nix or a a small fee.
     
  4. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer

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    Unless you are the executor or the Legal Personal Representative of the deceased,
    in which case part of your job is to settle any debts (including any unpaid rent)
    left behind by the deceased.

    Not until after Probate or the grant Letters of Administration. Until then, that stuff belongs to the Public Trustee.
     
  5. JUde

    JUde Active Member

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    Yes, there is a will and, unfortunately, a solicitor is the executor, which means that every time we talk to him, he is going to charge the estate (which is not flush with funds). It stated in the will that the executor which is a solicitor was supposed to pay for the funeral but refused saying he didn't have the money.

    I would love it if a scrap metal dealer would come, however, the cost of organising a crane would outweigh any money I think. I will make some phone calls though anyway. It's so hard when I am so far away.
     
  6. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    For past rent, I agree. I was referring to, but didn't say, that future rent is not payable once the current period is finished. Estate may be responsible for the cost of removing items left behind.
     
  7. JUde

    JUde Active Member

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    The executor doesn't want to really handle this at all. With no legal lease, can we advise him we are unable to pay?

    He is charging rent as he said he can't lease the unit out until it is correctly cleaned. Doesn't some wear and tear come into this at all and where does the money come to pay for bills from if the estate doesn't have any?
     
  8. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer

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    I'm not sure what you mean by that.
    In the normal course of things, a solicitor will act according to their instructions.
    Bear in mind that you are not the client.
    No. The debt exists, no matter the paperwork, and will need to be settled.
    And in any event, he's not required to provide the estate with free storage space.
    He's probably correct about not being able to let it.
    Yeah, it does. Cleaning is one thing. Paying for capital repair or improvement is another.
    Thing is, a routine domestic clean, even a good one, is not quite the same thing as a floor-to-ceiling end of occupancy cleaning.
    What you need to be wary of is that he's not trying to get capital works done under the guise of wear and tear.
    A bankrupt estate can be administered the same as the bankruptcy of a live person.
     
    @thelawbundle likes this.
  9. JUde

    JUde Active Member

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    Thanks everyone for all your replies. I'm certainly hoping for a positive outcome
     

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