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TOPIC: Death of a tenant

Death of a tenant 20 Sep 2011 19:44 #452

  • ams
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I have started an update to the storagelienlaws.com website for facilities that have to deal with the death of a tenant. I am adding probate code text and court links.

In California, upon hearing of the death of the tenant, the unit is locked out, unit over-locked until we receive a completed and notarized: Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property Under California Probate Code ยงยง 13100 -13106. No access is given to the unit until we receive that and at least 40 days have passed since the tenant's passing.

Some tenants might have a will, but since 1994 we haven't had one yet, so it is probate procedure for us
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Re: Death of a tenant 21 Sep 2011 01:09 #455

I think that providing the Probate Code section is a good idea, however, the section of the Probate Code for California only deals with small estate administration. The problem that I see is that many managers will simply direct tenants to complete the form provided and ask them to wait the requisite number of days. The reality is that some estates cannot use the small estate administration procedures and the self storage manager is not in the position to make that determination. Moreover, providing the form to the tenant and directing them to use it constitutes the practice of law, which could be troublesome as well.

There are many estate issues that arise on a daily basis in self storage:

The tenant that passed away with a family trust or other type of trust.

The tenant that does in fact have a will and an estate large enough or one that involved real property and therefore must be probated.

The tenant that is an indigent and whose estate will be administered by the coroners office known as the "public administrator."

And finally, the tenant who meets all the requirements for small estate administration.

I would suggest that the form provided not be given to any tenant but should be viewed only to gain an understanding of what this form will look when presented by a party CLAIMING that they have an interest and will be taking responsibility for the decendent's property.

I would also suggest that when parties present themselves that managers direct them to seek their own legal counsel who will determine which actions are appropriate given their specific circumstances. There is nothing to be gained by storage managers advising parties on which forms to use or code sections to follow.

Re: Death of a tenant 21 Sep 2011 01:25 #457

  • dirkwood
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Sometimes I am just happy to work for an employer whom is a lawyer
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Re: Death of a tenant 21 Sep 2011 16:42 #459

  • ams
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Thanks for the input. I will work on an disclaimer to put on the pages.


On the Affidavit that was in the handout, it requires that the person swear under the penalty of perjury that the property does not exceed $100,000 and that there are no proceedings that have been conducted or being conducted for the estate. If a person commits fraud and turns that form into a storage facility, isn't the facility protected? I know anyone can sue anyone for anything.


What is sad is the majority of facilities just open the unit for the first person claiming an interest. We are dealing with that here, we had a family upset at us because we did not let them go in and empty out a unit after the tenant passed away, but another facility that the tenant was storing at in town did.
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Last Edit: 19 Mar 2014 18:46 by ams.

Re: Death of a tenant 21 Sep 2011 17:17 #460

  • dirkwood
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ams wrote:

What is sad is the majority of facilities just open the unit for the first person claiming an interest. We are dealing with that here, we had a family upset at us because we did not let them go in and empty out a unit after the tenant passed away, but another facility that the tenant was storing at in town did.
=============================================================
We experienced the same problem after a tenant died.
Family tried to make us open up a unit for them pay the bill and take the goods.
We asked them to show a dead certificate and papers that they were the executor.
We never saw them back.
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Last Edit: 21 Sep 2011 17:48 by ams. Reason: fixed quote

Re: Death of a tenant 21 Sep 2011 17:55 #461

I cannot begin to tell you how many times over the years that so called family members have shown up wanting access to a deceased tenants unit. Here are the tell-tale signs that something is wrong:

1. The son or daughter shows up only 2 days after the tenant has died wanting immediate access. A storage unit should be the last thing on their mind.

2. The son or daughter shows up on a Saturday, with a rental truck, no advance notice demanding access.

3. The son or daughter explains that mom or dad wanting them to have everything, surely you can understand that.

4. The son or daughter insists that the items in the space are worthless and should be immediately turned over too them.

5. The son or daughter threatens to call the police if you don't let them in.

Anyway, my point is that one should always proceed with caution. Take your time and NEVER BE INTIMIDATED by parties demanding access. Real family members, administrators, executors and responsible parties will understand and appreciate your caution.

Good luck....

Re: Death of a tenant 27 Oct 2011 19:19 #667

  • ams
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We have a tenant who passed away a while ago. His wife filled out the affidavit, but is keeping the unit. The son also has a unit here who told us about his dad passing and told us that his mother would be taking care of the dad's unit, so there are no red flag warnings about that.

My question is, they are keeping the unit, but the wife does not seem to want to fill out a new rental agreement with her name on it. Not sure why.
If something happens to her, we would end up having an affidavit on an affidavit unit. Is that ok? Should we just change the name on the account to her name using the affidavit as authorization?
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Re: Death of a tenant 27 Oct 2011 19:34 #669

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ams wrote:

My question is, they are keeping the unit, but the wife does not seem to want to fill out a new rental agreement with her name on it. Not sure why.
An rental agreement without a name is a NO NO here ..if she is not willing to sign she needs to move out.Without a name there is NO contract.
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Last Edit: 27 Oct 2011 19:37 by dirkwood.

Re: Death of a tenant 04 Nov 2011 17:34 #757

Yes you should definitely change the name on the account to her name. Because if anything happens to her you could run into some problems. Make sure she puts her name on the contract.
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Re: Death of a tenant 04 Nov 2011 17:43 #758

  • ams
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I have taken care of it. I think she was fighting it because she wanted to keep her husbands name going. They were together for a long time.
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