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Does the Death of a Tenant Terminate a Lease?

Posted by Debbie Baum in REBNY Legal Question

Question

Does the Death of a Tenant Terminate a Lease?

I am a licensed real estate salesperson and I am representing a landlord whose tenant recently passed away prior to the expiration of the lease. Does the death of a tenant automatically terminate the tenant’s lease in New York State?

Answer

No, in New York State, the death of a tenant prior to the expiration of a lease does not terminate the lease unless a provision in the lease states otherwise. Rather, upon the tenant’s death his or her interest in the lease passes as personal property to the tenant’s estate. The estate will then be bound by all obligations set forth in the lease, including the obligation to pay rent for the remainder of the lease term.

After inheriting the interest in the lease, the estate would likely have the right to sublet the property. Pursuant to New York Real Property Law § 226-b, in buildings with four or more apartments, tenants have “the right to sublet” with their landlord’s advance written consent. For more information concerning a tenant’s right to sublet, please see the previous Legal Line Question of the Week on Tenants’ Right to Sublet.

 

 Neil B. Garfinkel | Debbie Baum
Neil B. Garfinkel,
REBNY Broker Counsel
Partner-in-charge of real estate and banking practices at Abrams Garfinkel Margolis Bergson, LLP
10 Oct 2017 no comments

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