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Scenario

Two parties A, B sign a rental contract in Germany. Only party A lives there, party B merely cosigns the contract, but neither makes any payments nor lives in the propery. Party B adopted party A as their child, this process is completed and is irrelevant I expect.

Party A desires to leave the property, party B is no longer capable of making decisions on their own due to dementia and so party C, procurer for B, agrees to cosign a notice with party A, because neither are interested in continuing to rent the property. Party C has all necessary paperwork to make legal decisions on behalf of B.

The landlord, a large corporate body, henceforth known as D, agrees to the notice and sends a notification explicitely stating their agreement towards contract termination after the notice period.

Party B dies during notice period. The dementia took its toll.

A informs D of these circumstances. A is no longer interested in looking for a new tenant during notice period to get out of the contract faster upon agreement with D, because A is busy with funeral preparations and decides to just pay the one remaining month of rent, despite no longer living in the property.

D ghosts.

There is no further communication from D after being notified of B's death. The landlord, i.e. the corporate body and its representatives have gone completely silent.

Question

What exactly happens, when a tenant contract is cosigned by two parties, yet one of the parties dies during notice period? Can this in any way be cause to nullify the notice that was handed in?

I expect C will inherit from B, but this process is likely ongoing - even so, the notice has already been accepted and rightfully so when done, so is there a reason why the landlord is suddenly silent? Are they expecting continuing rental payments even though no one houses the property anymore and the notice period is over?

TL;DR Version

Two tenants cosign a rental contract. One of the tenants becomes disabled and notice is handed in by one tenant and a procurer of the other tentant. The landlord agrees. The tenant that became disabled before dies during notice period. Landlord ceases to respond upon learning this. The other tenant and the procurer are uncertain whether or not these special circumstances could for some reason nullify the handed in notice.

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    I see absolutly no reason why the notice should become invalid. Why do you think D should answer something on the information of death? – K-HB Jul 20 at 20:36
  • Because prior A was interested in finding a replacement tenant on their own. This was suspended, because A prioritized getting family affairs in order rather than looking for a tenant. As of now D has not responded to making an appointment for key transfer, there are still things to fix in the appartment where D is contractually obligated for repairs and they have not been interviewing any pontential tenants while the month draws to its end. Since I do not understand this behavior, I wonder if D assumes that the contract remains intact, though I do not see a potential reason as to why. – Koenigsberg Jul 20 at 23:01
  • If you would be in this situation in real life, then it would be a good idea to contact a real lawyer who is an expert on inheritance and/or tenancy law, not anonymous strangers on the Internet. – Philipp Jul 21 at 12:36
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    This can be said about any question on the site. I am not asking for legal advice, I am describing a very specific situation and wondering about potential special regulations. – Koenigsberg Jul 21 at 14:02
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    I will say one more thing. The question in my post is very clear: What exactly happens, when a tenant contract is cosigned by two parties, yet one of the parties dies during notice period? Can this in any way be cause to nullify the notice that was handed in? You can look at the question completely independent of the scenario between A and D. Most people answered something, just not the question. Please try to emphasize - it really is frustrating dealing with people who argue with you about things irrelevant to your question. No one intended to forego any contractual obligations here. – Koenigsberg Jul 21 at 14:16
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In Germany, the assets and liabilities of the deceased (including, I think, contractual rights and obligations) pass immediately to the heirs - there is no probate or deceased estate as there is in common law jurisdictions.

In your circumstances, the rights and obligations of B pass immediately to C. Therefore, A & C are required to do whatever it is that A & B were previously required to do. This would appear to be either paying the rent until the end of the notice period or finding another tenant and paying the difference.

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  • The process of accepting inheritance does not occur instantly though and will likely not be completed until the notice period is over. C does not have to accept inheritance from B at all, if they choose not to. My interests with regard to this question are concerning any possible special regulations in situation where multiple tenants are involved in a contract in combination with death of a tennant during notice. – Koenigsberg Jul 21 at 8:37
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    @Koenigsberg I understand that the process takes time but, if the heir accepts the bequest, then legally it happens an the instant of death. – Dale M Jul 21 at 12:54
  • Thank you, this is actually useful information. Have a +1 on the answer. – Koenigsberg Jul 21 at 14:18
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Rental contracts with more than one tenant are usually written in a way that the tenants are "Gesamtschuldner" (joint debtors). That means the landlord can request any contractual obligations from any one of the tenants at their discretion. So if one contract partner is deceased, then the landlord can demand that the remaining tenant fulfills any of the obligations from the rental contract.

So before A intends to ignore any of their contractual obligation on the basis that B is deceased, they should better consult a lawyer who specializes in tenancy law. A local "Mieterverein" (renters association) might be able to help to find such a lawyer and might even cover the costs if one is a member.

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  • You missed the question, as already shown by your comment below the opening post. A is not intending to forego any legal obligations. The notice period is already served in about ten days, A paid all rent, without any objection. The question is about whether or not special regulations are in place when a cosignee dies during notice period. From what I gather so far - there are no special rules of the sort. – Koenigsberg Jul 21 at 14:08

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