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I find myself in an unusual position. My wife and I were renting a house from her father, and he recently passed away without a will. Her father has no wife, and 3 natural children (all over 18).

The estates are in the process of being settled but it's likely to take a long time. Until then, we intend to continue living in the house. Is it possible to get some kind of temporary tenancy agreement or something that basically says we can continue to live here until a formal arrangement is made with the estate? Something the 3 children would sign? Is this even necessary?

The house has a mortgage on one third of it under her fathers name. And all the children know we live here and expect us to stay. We all live and operate in the UK.

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Assuming it's an assured shorthold tenancy (which it will be unless the tenancy agreement says otherwise), the tenancy continues until the tenants give notice, or the landlord gives notice and the tenants leave voluntarily (and failing that, when a court forces them to leave).

If no-one gives notice, and the tenants are still present once any fixed term ends, the tenancy continues as a "rolling" tenancy until it's ended as described above.

A tenancy agreement stays in force even if the owner of a property changes (whether by purchase or inheritance).

So to summarise: by default, nothing changes, and the tenants have the same right to stay that they had before.

See, for example, this article, or this one.

  • Thanks for detailed and sourced answer. Follow-up question, what about paying the rent - would I keep paying into the deceased's account? I thought the account would freeze at some point (or is that only money coming out?). – Oliver Oct 30 '17 at 10:45
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    I don't know enough about how probate works to answer that directly! I'd expect that the rent must be paid to the landlord's estate until it's established who the new landlord is, or if other arrangements are made. The executors should be able to advise on this. – Steve Melnikoff Oct 30 '17 at 10:52

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