What should I do if my tenant under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy passes away without a will?

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

  1. without a will
  2. with a will but without an executor

You cannot 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.

Reclaiming your property in these circumstances

You must carry out the following:

  1. post or deliver a letter to the tenant’s last known address saying you’re giving written notice – you do not need to get proof of this
  2. send a copy of the notice and a completed NL1 form to the Public Trustee
  3. 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]”.

You will need to order a paper version of the NL1 application form to register a notice. These are available from legal stationers.

You cannot 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’.

Send the Public Trustee a copy of the written notice, the completed application form to register the notice and your payment for the application to register to the following address:

  • The Public Trustee
  • PO Box 3010
  • London
  • WC2A 1AX

What happens next?

The Public Trustee will register or reject your application.

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

  1. your application is registered – you’ll be told the date it was put in the register. Once your application is registered you are free to let out the property again.
  2. your application is rejected, for example because your application is incomplete – you’ll be told why the Public Trustee cannot 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, for example to check that you can legally rent the property again or sell it.


For further information about Landlord and Tenant law or Wills and Probate, contact one of Alexander JLO’s expert lawyers today.

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