The tenant died. What should the landlord do?
I found that my tenant has died in the rental house. What should I do?
You should find heirs of the tenant, demand payment of unpaid rent and eviction of the rental house. Hiring a lawyer would be a good way to deal with such occasion. Your lawyer will find heirs of the deceased tenant by registration and demand heirs to pay unpaid rent and evict the rental house by negotiation or lawsuit.
If you are renting houses, it sometimes happens that your tenant suddenly stops paying the rent, and when you go to the house to collect the rent, you find out your tenant’s death. If the tenant lived with other people like their family, there are few things to do for you. However, single-person household is increasing and more and more people are living alone these days in Japan. In such cases, it becomes a problem what to do with the rental house; who pays the unpaid rent and what to do with things in the house?
Rights and duties of the heir
When someone dies, the heir shall succeed all of rights and duties of the decedent (Civil Code Article 896). The lease agreement and duties based on the agreement will be succeeded to the tenant’s heir. Therefore, when the tenant dies and the rent is not paid, the hair should pay the rent. And when the lease is terminated, the heir should surrender the house by moving everything out. So, the landlord should find the heirs of the deceased tenant.
How to find heirs of the deceased
Someone like the police or municipal office worker may contact the tenant’s family. It is common that a relevant person of the tenant for emergency contact is written in the lease documents, so the landlord may find the heir by such information.
What your lawyer can do for you?
The landlord may ask a lawyer for searching registration of the tenant. If the tenant properly registered their location, the lawyer can find heirs of the tenant by registration in the municipal office (Family Register Act Article 10-2 (3)). Your lawyer may also negotiate with heirs on payment of unpaid rent and eviction. If heirs do not surrender the rental house, your lawyer may do lawsuit against them and realize eviction by gaining judgement of the court.
Article 896: From the time of commencement of inheritance, an heir shall succeed blanket rights and duties attached to the property of the decedent; provided that this shall not apply to rights or duties of the decedent that are purely personal.
*Family Register Act Article 10-2
(3) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (1), an attorney (including a legal professional corporation; the same shall apply in the following paragraph), judicial scrivener (including a judicial scrivener corporation; the same shall apply in the following paragraph), land and house investigator (including a land and house investigation corporation; the same shall apply in the following paragraph), certified public tax accountant (including a certified public tax accounting corporation; the same shall apply in the following paragraph), social and labor insurance public consultant (including a social and labor insurance public consultancy corporation; the same shall apply in the following paragraph), patent attorney (including a patent professional corporation; the same shall apply in the following paragraph), marine procedure commission agent, or administrative scrivener (including an administrative scrivener corporation) may request the issuance of a transcript of a family register, etc. if he/she needs it in order to execute business concerning a case or clerical work that he/she has undertaken. In this case, the person who makes the request shall clarify his/her qualifications, the type of the business, the name of the client in the case or the clerical work, and the matters specified in the items of paragraph (1) regarding said client.
(4) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (1) and the preceding paragraph, an attorney, judicial scrivener, land and house investigator, certified public tax accountant, social insurance and labor public consultant, or patent attorney may request the issuance of a transcript of a family register, etc. if he/she needs it in order to execute the following business with regard to a case that he/she has undertaken. In this case, the person who makes the request shall clarify his/her qualifications, the type of case, the procedures which he/she is carrying out or wishes to carry out as an agent in the course of his/her business, and the purpose for which the matters entered in the family register will be used:
(i) in the case of an attorney, representation services for court proceedings or for out-of-court proceedings involving civil or administrative dispute resolution (in the case of a legal professional corporation, excluding representation services prescribed in the items of Article 30-6, paragraph (1) of the Attorney Act (Act No. 205 of 1949))