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Can you evict a tenant when the homeowner dies?

Rochester, NY |

The tenant does not pay rent and is a friend of the homeowner. there is no paperwork involved. The tenant just needed a temporary place to stay and never left. The homeowner's children are concerned about removing this person quickly when their father dies.

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Yes the person can be evicted if he is in violation of his lease or if there is no lease. If the person has a lease he can be evicted after the expiration of its term or upon non-payment of rent. The executor or the administrator of the estate can commence an action or whoever inherits the house can commence the action after taking title.

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The answer is yes- Eventually.

Hopefully the homeowner has executed a Will. If the homeowner has not, he should be encouraged to do so immediately.

Once the homeowner dies, an Estate will need to be set up and Letters of Administration issued by a Surrogate's Court (if there is no Will) or Letters Testamentary (if there is a Will) will need to be obtained. Once Letters have been issued, the Administrator or Executor as the case may be can engage an attorney to commence an eviction proceeding. If it is determined that there was no landlord-tenant relationship, then an Ejectment proceeding can be commenced in Supreme Court.

I suggest that the family sit down with their father and ensure that he has a Will and knows where it is located and if he does not have a Will, encourages him to have one prepared.

Answering this question does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. The answer given is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for contacting an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction and obtaining legal advice from such an attorney.


Dear can you evict a tenant when the homeowner dies?

Yes. Whoever acquires the legal interest as "owner" of the property, becomes the landlord. If the tenant's lease is current, the new landlord would not have a right to evict until the time the lease expires and the tenant did not move.

I am curious about such a concern. Do you believe that the owner granted a "life estate" to the tenant, and that upon the passing of the owner, no one would have power to remove this tenant during the tenant's lifetime?

If that is not what is bothering you, then advance planning is helpful. Someone will need to be responsible for the property in any case upon the owner passing away to maintain services, provide for repairs, collect the rent, etc.

Good luck.

The answer provided to you is in the nature of general information. The general proposition being that you should try to avoid a bad outcome if you can.


The person staying with the homeowner is not a tenant if s/he does not pay rent. S/he would be licensee. You would probably have to give 30 days notice. The children should check the will. If the homeowner gave a "life estate" meaning the person could stay for the reminder of the person's life, then you could not get the person out. Your only remedy would be to buy the "life estate."

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