How to remove an occupier from the deceased’s property?
It is the duty of the executor or administrator of an estate to ensure that the deceased’s assets are secure and protected. This includes any property that the deceased owned prior to their death.
Complications can arise where there is an occupier at the deceased’s property. It can be difficult to remove an occupier if they are not willing to voluntarily leave.
If there is a tenancy agreement in place, the tenancy becomes part of the deceased’s estate. The personal representative should continue to manage the tenancy during the administration of the estate and then they will arrange to either sell or transfer the property.
If the property is to be sold, the personal representative can issue a section 21 notice or section 8 notice to the occupier, requiring that they are to give vacant possession of the property within a specified time period. If this is ignored, Court proceedings would need to be issued.
If there is no tenancy agreement in place, the personal representative should formally give notice that the occupier must leave the property and sever any personal licence to occupy that the deceased may have granted. If they refuse, the personal representative would need to issue Court proceedings on the basis that the occupier is a trespasser.
Removing an occupier from an estate property requires strict compliance with the legal requirements. An incorrect notice or a failure to undertake the correct process could result in criminal prosecution or damages under the Protection from Eviction Act.
Delays can occur for many reasons, for example, if the basis on which the person is occupying is not clear. The matter can become complicated if a family member with a claim against the estate is in residence.
In some cases, there could be a dispute as to who is the correct personal representative. An occupier might damage the property, leading to delays before a sale.
Delays can result in the estate’s property value declining, which might lead to claims against the personal representative. It is therefore important to take timely advice so as to resolve the issues.
If you are the personal representative of an estate and want to explore your options, we would recommend that you seek legal advice on your position. If you would like our advice, please contact the Contentious Probate Department at Anthony Gold on 020 7940 4000.
Unlocking Estate & Jointly Owned Properties – Webinar
* Disclaimer: The information on the Anthony Gold website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. It is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.*