If my husband died owing rent, can his landlordkeep all of his property to sell for back rent?

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If my husband died owing rent, can his landlordkeep all of his property to sell for back rent?

We were still legally married. I only want pictures and papers and a few pieces of furniture but they are only going to give my the pictures and papers and are making it difficult for me to meet them and gain access.

Asked on October 26, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The landlord has NO right to ANY of your husband's property, unless and only to the extent your husband gave the landlord a security interest in the property (e.g. used the property as collateral). The property belongs to your husband's estate and will (presumably) go to you, unless there was a will to the contrary; if there was, it will go to whomever  is indicated in the will. If you were a signatory to the lease, the landlord could sue you for back rent; otherwise, the landlord can only use the security deposit (if any) for rent and also potentially sue your husband's estate, which means that the estate *might* be liable for the back rent--but the landlord will need to press and prove the claim.


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