Singleton Bill to Address Removal of Property by a Landlord in the Event of a Tenant’s Death Advanced by Assembly Panel

(TRENTON) – An Assembly panel on Monday released legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Troy Singleton (D-Burlington) that would address what happens to a tenant’s property when a tenant dies and there is no one to make decisions on behalf of the tenant’s estate.

“This is an unfortunate situation, but one that landlords sometimes must deal with,” said Singleton. “There is currently no law in New Jersey that addresses the issue of property left by a deceased tenant who has no executor, administrator, or representative. This can create problems for landlords who may not know how to proceed. This bill would make it clear what a landlord can and cannot do under the law, when a tenant dies and there is no one to claim the tenant’s property.”

The bill (A-2188) would establish that there is good cause for the removal of a tenant when the tenant has died and no executor, administrator, or representative has come forward to make decisions on behalf of the estate. The bill would also establish grounds for a landlord to remove property from a unit after the death of a tenant under certain circumstances.

Under the bill, property would be considered abandoned after the death of a tenant if no executor, administrator, or representative contacts the landlord within 21 days of the tenant’s death. The removal of property would be authorized if the landlord has not been contacted by an executor, administrator, or representative of the estate within 21 days of the death of the tenant.

If an executor, administrator, or representative of the estate contacts the landlord and the situation is not resolved, the landlord would need to obtain a warrant of removal from a court and notify the executor, administrator, or representative, by certified mail, that the property will be removed pursuant to the warrant of removal.

Lastly, the bill would require that written notice be sent via certified mail to any cosigner for the apartment, or any previously known occupant listed by the deceased tenant, in addition to any executor, administrator or representative of the state.

The bill was released by the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee.