Is an Estate Liable for Apartment Rent?, Elder Law Attorney, Woodstock, GA

Whenever someone passes away, it is important for the estate to assess any liabilities and determine what needs to be paid. One issue that can come up is whether an estate is responsible for paying rent for an apartment that the deceased co-leased.

When you pass away, your estate is still obligated to pay any debts you have and to fulfill any contracts you have signed, if possible. You cannot expect to escape your credit card debts, for example, by dying.

However, some things are not as simple.

What if you have signed a rental agreement as a co-lessor with a roommate? Ordinarily, if you do not pay the rent while you are alive, then the landlord can sue either roommate individually for the total amount owed or both jointly. If you pass away, the roommate is still responsible for the total amount of the lease, but can that roommate sue your estate for the amount you still owe under the lease?

That is essentially the question someone asked the New York Times recently in “A Roommate Dies; Must His Estate Pay the Rent?

In this case, a woman was renting a garage apartment with her boyfriend who passed away. She continued to pay the full rent and wondered if she could receive her boyfriend’s share of the rent from his estate.

The simple answer is yes, she can.

The estate, if it has the money to do so, would normally be responsible to pay her back for the rent. However, her claim against the estate would come after any tax liabilities or secured creditors and she would only get paid, if there is enough money left in the estate to do so.

Her position could be strengthened if she and her boyfriend had signed a written agreement about the amount of rent each of them was responsible for and what to do in the event one of them passed away during the term of the lease.

Reference: New York Times (Nov. 5, 2016) “A Roommate Dies; Must His Estate Pay the Rent?


Hear From Our Clients

“On the threshold of retirement, we finally decided to quit thinking we could self-prepare the requisite documents. We had previously had only a very simple will. We needed the necessary legal (including updated will) & health care docs but didn’t want to deal with the time & complication of legalese. Cindy made the process relatively painless. She took the time to explain and answer questions without trying to upsell services. We were done in 2 meetings plus the reading of emailed drafts. In addition to preparing the documents, Nelson Eldercare will be there when our adult children need advice on executing the plans we’ve put in place.So glad it’s behind us and would recommend Cindy and her helpful staff.”

- Bonnie

Cindy and her company treat their clients like family. Nelson’s offers clear, direct, and honest guidance in planning for your families security and future. No one wants to actively sit down and make these decisions, but Nelson’s makes this process seamless. I was so impressed with their willingness to answer all questions big or small. So glad I made the decision have them help my mom and dad and now me. You can’t go wrong with Nelson’s Elder Care Law.

- Hope

The very best elder law attorney and staff anyone could ever ask for! I have referred a number of clients to Cindy and she never disappoints. She is kind, caring, and extremely thorough in making sure everything is completed as it should be. I highly recommend Cindy for anyone needing lawyer services; she truly goes above and beyond for every client she helps and has had a huge impact in so many peoples’ lives. Thank you, Cindy and staff, for everything that you do- I’m so glad to know you!

- Kerri

I heard Cindy’s presentation at a Senior Luncheon at my church, and was very impressed. She helped my daughter and me understand many aspects of elder law. Josh has also been very helpful in my planning to enter an independent living situation . I have told many friends about them.

- Charlotte

Cindy and the Nelson Elder Care Law team are trustworthy and helpful. They are the experts in elder care law. At Leaf Cremation, we entrust our families to the care of the Nelson team when their services are needed.

- Pierce