Tenancy agreements: a guide for landlords (England and Wales)

7. If your tenant dies without an executor or a will

The tenancy is transferred temporarily to the Public Trustee if a tenant dies:

  • without a will
  • with a will but without an executor

You can’t take back a property automatically even if the tenancy was due to end.

You may be fined if you try to repossess a property without following the rules.

Reclaim your property

You must do the following:

  • post or deliver a letter to the tenant’s last known address saying you’re giving written notice - you don’t need to get proof of this
  • send a copy of the notice and a completed NL1 form to the Public Trustee
  • register the notice with the Public Trustee

Address the written notice to: “The Personal Representative of [full name of the tenant who died] of [last known address for the tenant who died]”.

Order a paper version of the NL1 application form to register a notice.

The form costs £6.05. You’ll get it by post.

You can’t use a photocopy of the form to make your application but you can make your own version of the form as long as it’s laid out in the same way and includes all the relevant information.

It costs £40 to register the notice. Pay by cheque or postal order in UK sterling only, made payable to ‘The Public Trustee’.

Post your documents

Send the Public Trustee all of the following:

  • a copy of the written notice
  • the completed application form to register the notice
  • your payment for the application to register

The Public Trustee
PO Box 3010
London
WC2A 1AX

Get a decision about your application

The Public Trustee will register or reject your application.

You’ll get a letter telling you one of the following:

  • your application is registered - you’ll be told the date it was put in the register
  • your application is rejected, eg because your application is incomplete - you’ll be told why the Public Trustee can’t register it

You should get a letter within 15 working days of the Public Trustee getting your application and payment.

You can search the Public Trustee’s register if your notice is registered, eg to check that you can legally rent the property again or sell it.