Q. A tenant in my building passed away, in their unit, from natural causes. Must I disclose this to potential tenants?
A. California Civil Code § 1710.2 requires a landlord to voluntarily disclose whether there has been a death at the rental property to any potential renters that occurred within three years from the date of the tenant’s death. This is irrespective if the death occurred naturally, by homicide or suicide. The only exception is if the former tenant died of AIDS or any HIV-related illness. A tenant who dies in a unit due to AIDS or any HIV-related illness need not be disclosed. It is unclear whether the manner of death must be disclosed. However, as a precaution, it is recommended that the property owner disclose the manner of death. This can limit a property owner’s liability in the event a tenant files a lawsuit for misrepresentation, fraud, and unfair business practices.
A property owner should make a disclosure of death in a rental unit in writing prior to the tenant moving in and mention it in the lease.
After three years, the property owner is not obligated to volunteer this information; however, if asked, the property owner should give true and accurate information to prospective new tenants.
© 2019 by Fried & Williams LLP. All Rights Reserved. The information contained in this article is general in nature. For advice on any particular matter, please consult with our attorneys because the facts of your situation may be unique and the law changes from time to time