What does the law say?
The Residential Tenancies Act 2010 section 108 specifies that:
- The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) may, on application by a landlord or the legal personal representative of the deceased tenant, make a termination order if it is satisfied that a termination notice was given in accordance with the Act and that vacant possession of the residential premises has not been given as required by the notice
- The legal personal representative of a deceased tenant who is given a termination notice by the landlord may give vacant possession of the residential premises at any time before the termination date specified in the termination notice
- The estate of the deceased tenant is not liable to pay any rent for any period after the legal personal representative gives vacant possession of the residential premises and before the termination date.
Disposing of the goods
If goods are left behind after a tenant dies, the landlord/agent must apply to NCAT for an order directing how they dispose of the goods.
Section 133 of the Act states:
The Tribunal may, on application by a landlord, make any one or more of the following orders:
- authorising the removal or other disposal of goods
- directing that notice of any action or proposed action in relation to goods be given to the former tenant, the legal personal representative of a former tenant, or any other person
- authorising the sale of goods
- an order as to the manner of sale of goods
- an order as to the payment of the proceeds of sale of goods
- any ancillary order that the Tribunal, in the circumstances, thinks appropriate.
An order does not apply to perishable goods.
Depending on the circumstances of the death of the tenant, property managers are advised that it may be necessary to employ a specialist clean up service.