When a tenant under a commercial lease dies there are 3 key options that have usually been included in the contract. These include:
Terms of the lease
The terms under the commercial lease involves a reference related to the assignment. Some leases, especially long lease, make provisions for what happens upon the death of a tenant. This is the first port of call when considering what happens next.
The deceased will
It is usual for the will of the deceased to nominate a named person to deal with the estate. If there is no will this will revert to the deceased next of kin. It is the responsibility of this person to look take care of the legal affairs and will often obtain ‘probate’ (if there is a will) or ‘letters of administration’ (if there is no will). This enables the nominated person to act as the personal representative. See below for the powers of these representatives.
Alternatively, the will may have made provisions with the end of their commercial tenancy in mind.
Tenancy does not end when the tenant dies
It is important to understand that just because you tenant is deceased the tenancy does not end. The tenancy can only be ended by those who are:
- The executor – someone named in a will as the person who will deal with the deceased possessions (similar to representative described above)
- The administrator – someone who has applied to the Probate Registry and obtained Letters of Administration.
Next of kin who is not the executor or administrator cannot end the tenancy.