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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 41220
Experience:  Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.
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I live in Contra Costa County. For nearly five years, I have

Customer Question

I live in Contra Costa County. For nearly five years, I have rented an in-law unit in the house of my land-lady, the owner of the house. I have always payed my rent on time and I have been a good tenant and a good neighbor. My landlady died last Monday.
Today a woman (called herself "Carmen Clay") called and said she was the trustee for the estate and I was to now pay my rent to the estate. I asked Ms. Clay about renegotiating my rent, since my 94-year-old land-lady had taken away such things as my off-street parking space -- and I had written her letters and talked to her care-giver, but had not been able to talk to her.
Ms. Clay refused to even hear of renegotiating anything. She talked in an intimidating, unfriendly way to me. She said I was being hostile when I asked for written proof of her being the trustee before I handed over my rent to her.
It was hard to believe she is a professional of any sort, since she did not show any courtesy.
What are my rights and responsibilities? I am 66 years old, have a good credit rating, no criminal record -- but I am alone and grew afraid as Ms. Clay persisted in trying to bully me.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your question. I will do my best to assist you with your concerns. If you would like me to clarify my answer, I will be happy to do so.

I am very sorry to hear that you are in this situation. If I may ask, do you have a written lease in place? If yes, when does it expire?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I have a written lease -- a month-to-month lease. In the lease, the land lady agrees to give me 60 days notice if she wants me to leave.
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for your follow-up, Susan.

In this situation, if your landlady did pass away, you are entitled to the same benefits and obligations from the past landlord as the new trustee of the estate. The reason is because the executor essentially 'steps into the shoes' of the deceased, and must honor and maintain the same contract obligations as in the past. Having said that, a request to you to pay elsewhere IS valid and IS permitted because once the land-lady passed away, her checks can no longer be cashed, as they have to be made to her estate. At the same time you are most definitely permitted to obtain proof that the person who contacted you is someone who is permitted to make such decisions on behalf of the estate. Therefore requesting a copy of the trust listing her as the trustee, or a copy of the short-certs from the probate office naming her as the executor of the estate are all valid and permitted requests that you can make to that individual. If you do not believe her, or you are unsure if the information is correct, you may want to consider paying into an escrow account until the trustee can prove to you that she is able to make such requests of you.

Good luck.

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