A. If a tenant, who is the sole occupant of the dwelling unit, dies, and there is no person authorized by order of the circuit court to handle probate matters for the deceased tenant, the landlord may dispose of the personal property left in the dwelling unit or upon the premises. However, the landlord shall give at least 10 days’ written notice to (i) the person identified in the rental application, lease agreement, or other landlord document as the authorized person to contact in the event of the death or emergency of the tenant or (ii) the tenant in accordance with § 55-248.6 if no such person is identified in the rental application, lease agreement, or other landlord document as the authorized contact person. The notice given under clause (i) or (ii) shall include a statement that any items of personal property left in the premises would be treated as abandoned property and disposed of in accordance with the provisions of § 55-248.38:1, if not claimed within 10 days.
B. The landlord may request that such authorized contact person provide reasonable proof of identification. Thereafter, the authorized contact person identified in the rental application, lease agreement, or other landlord document may (i) have access to the dwelling unit or the premises and to the tenant records maintained by the landlord and (ii) rightfully claim the personal property of the deceased tenant and otherwise handle the affairs of the deceased tenant with the landlord.
C. The rental agreement is deemed to be terminated by the landlord as of the date of death of the tenant, who is the sole occupant of the dwelling unit, and the landlord shall not be required to seek an order of possession from a court of competent jurisdiction. The estate of the tenant shall remain liable for actual damages under § 55-248.35, and the landlord shall mitigate damages as provided thereunder.
2006, c. 820; 2010, c. 550; 2011, c. 766; 2014, c. 813.