If a renter or rental provider dies

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There are special rules about what happens when either a renter or a rental provider dies. Rental providers used to be called landlords, and renters used to be called tenants.

The rules apply to what happens when the rental agreement (lease) ends, what happens to the bond, and what happens to a renter’s belongings.

The person who has died will usually have a legal representative such as an executor or administrator or a next of kin (a family member) that the other person will deal with.

On this page:

If a sole renter dies

If a renter is the only person named on the rental agreement, they are a sole renter. If they die, there are rules about when the rental agreement ends, what happens to the bond and who can collect their belongings.

Date the rental agreement ends

The agreement will end on the earliest of any of these dates:

  • A date the rental provider states in a notice to vacate that they give the renter’s representative. For a fixed-term rental agreement, this can be a date that comes before the rental agreement was supposed to end. The rental provider should use the Notice to vacate in the case of death of a sole renter (Word, 71KB).
  • A date the renter's representative states in a notice of intention to vacate that they give the rental provider. For a fixed-term rental agreement, this can be a date that comes before the rental agreement was supposed to end.
  • A date that the rental provider and the renter's representative agree on and record in writing.
  • A date decided by VCAT if the rental provider applies for an order to end the rental agreement because they can’t contact the renter's representative.

If the renter's representative arranges for the property to be vacated before any of the dates listed above, no rent will be owed once it has been vacated.

Claiming or transferring the bond when a sole renter has died

If the renter was the only person whose name was on the bond, and their representative wants to claim or transfer the bond, the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority (RTBA) will need all of these documents:

  • A bond claim form or renter transfer form that has been completed and signed by the rental provider as well as the renter's representative.
  • Proof of death, such as a full death certificate, an interim death certificate issued by the coroner, an invoice from the funeral director, or a probate or letters of administration.
  • A statutory declaration from the deceased renter's representative who signed the bond claim or renter transfer form on behalf of the deceased renter using the Statutory declaration by legal representative or next of kin (PDF, 17KB).

The person submitting the documentation must use a paper form instead of an electronic bond transaction if they need to attach paper documents.

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If the renter's representative cannot agree with the rental provider on the division of the bond, either can apply to VCAT to make a decision.

Collecting goods left behind

When a renter dies, their legal representative or next of kin is responsible for collecting any of their belongings, following the rules about goods left behind.

If a rental provider believes there is no next of kin, they should follow the procedures for uncollected goods. This may include contacting us to arrange an inspection of goods left behind. The rental provider can then take the report of this inspection to the State Trustees, who will distribute the renter’s possessions.

If a co-renter dies

If more than one renter has signed the rental agreement, they are co-renters, also known as joint renters or tenants. If a co-renter dies, this does not automatically end the rental agreement (lease). The remaining co-renters’ rights and responsibilities continue.

Claiming or transferring the bond when a co-renter has died

If a renter who is registered as a joint bond-holder dies, their share of the bond passes to the surviving co-renter(s).

To release or transfer the bond, the RTBA will need to see the following documents:

  • A bond claim form or rental transfer form, completed and signed by both the rental provider and the surviving co-renters.
  • Proof of death, such as a full death certificate, an interim death certificate issued by the coroner, an invoice from the funeral director, or a probate or letters of administration.

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If a rental provider (landlord) dies

If a rental provider dies, the rental agreement doesn’t automatically end. The rental provider's representative takes on the rental provider’s rights and responsibilities. This means that they have to follow the law and do what is stated in the rental agreement.

The process for claiming or transferring the bond is different depending on whether there was only one rental provider or more than one.

Claiming or transferring the bond if a sole rental provider has died

To release or transfer the bond, the RTBA will need all of these documents:

  • A bond claim form or transfer form completed and signed by the renters and the rental provider’s representative, or an agent/rental provider transfer form signed by the rental provider's representative.
  • Proof of death, such as a full death certificate, an interim death certificate issued by the coroner, an invoice from the funeral director, or a probate or letters of administration.
  • A statutory declaration from the rental provider's representative. The person who signed the bond claim or agent/rental provider transfer form on behalf of the deceased rental provider must sign the Statutory declaration by legal representative or next of kin (PDF, 17KB).

Claiming or transferring the bond if a joint rental provider dies

Where there are two or more rental providers, if one dies, the responsibility for the bond passes solely to the surviving rental provider(s).

To release or transfer the bond, the RTBA will need to see:

  • A bond claim form or transfer form completed and signed by the renters and the rental provider's representative, or an agent/rental provider transfer form signed by the rental provider's representative.
  • Proof of death, such as a full death certificate, an interim death certificate issued by the coroner, an invoice from the funeral director, or a probate or letters of administration.

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Disputes about the bond

If the rental provider's representative can’t agree with the renters on the division of the bond, either can apply to VCAT for a decision.

Forms you might need

If you’re the legal representative or next of kin to a deceased renter or deceased rental provider and you need to claim or transfer the bond, use this form:

If you’re a rental provider who needs to give notice to a deceased renter's representative, use this form:

Renting law reforms

Victoria made significant changes to renting laws in 2021.

One of the major changes to laws about what happens if a renter or rental provider dies is:

  • the date the rental agreement will be terminated after a sole renter dies is now the earliest of:
  • the date specified on a notice to vacate from the rental provider
  • the date specified on a notice of intention to vacate from the deceased’s legal representative or next of kin
  • a date set by VCAT.

Some language also changed:

  • Landlords are now called rental providers
  • Tenants are now called renters
  • Leases are now called rental agreements.

You can read about these and other changes in a summary of the reforms or in detailed fact sheets and guides.

Sections of the Act

If you want to know what the law says about what happens when a renter or rental provider dies, you can read these sections of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997:

  • Section 91N – Termination after death of sole renter.