Ha! That is a witty handyman. I would not suggest paying rent to the handyman. You should get in touch with the landlord's next of kin to determine where rent payments are to be made. If you cannot locate anyone, pay them into the court registry until the family comes forward.
I agree with Mr. Hoek. Even if the handyman gives you a receipt for the payment, you easily could end up paying the rent twice if the successor in interest to the property does not receive the rent money from the handyman. The handyman has no legal right to the rent money unless he is the successor in interest to the property. Not likely.
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Unless the handyman now owns the building - and can prove it - you would be unwise to pay him anything. Try to contact the landlord's estate or next of kin to find out what you should be doing.
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Step #1: Check with the Clerk to see if an Estate has been opened for the decedent, and if so, contact the lawyer for the personal representative. I am kind of surprised that you haven't been contacted by any one from the landlord's family yet.
Step #2: If an estate has not yet been opened, go online to the Property Appraiser's website to see the mailing address for the landlord, then write a letter to the landlord c/o the mailing address shown in record, or better yet, send a check payable to the landlord to that address, by certified mail. I say a check and not a cashier's check or money order so that if no one steps up to the plate to put the check in the bank at least you won't be out the funds. Just make sure you keep enough $ in the account to keep the check good, and then repeat each and every month until some one with proper authority instructs you to do otherwise.
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