Council’s rent demand to son after dad’s death

Harry Keetley's former home
Harry Keetley's former home
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THE grieving teenage son of a cancer victim has been landed with a four-week rent bill - because his family did not give the council give enough notice his dad was going to die.

Retired steel erector Harry Keetley died of cancer at home, aged 73, after being cared for by former partner Denise Murray.

Harry Keetley

Harry Keetley

However, following his death, Rotherham Council demanded a payment of £276 for rent from his next of kin - Denise and Harry’s 14-year-old son Daniel - because the family had failed to give a month’s notice on Harry’s tenancy.

Denise said the family emptied Harry’s OAP bungalow in Maltby, Rotherham, within days of his death and handed the keys to a council official.

So they were stunned to be told they had to pay the next four weeks’ rent.

Mrs Murray said: “I can’t believe they’re doing it.

“You can’t give the date and time of somebody dying. I can understand it when people give up their tenancy, but the man died.

“He had saved up a bit of money to give Daniel something when he died, to give him a bit of a start in life and the council want to take £276.52 off his inheritance.

“I think it should be up to each family. Some may want to leave it longer to clear the house and pay the rent.

“After they told us we owed rent for four weeks, I said ‘okay, I’ll have the keys back then’, but they said they couldn’t do that.

“The council can get the flat ready for a new tenant and within a week could be getting rent from somebody else as well.

“It may be the council’s policy but morally it stinks.”

A council spokeswoman said she appreciated Mrs Murray’s concerns, but said a four-week rent charge was made when any tenancy was terminated.

She said that because Mrs Murray was not the executor of Mr Keetley’s estate the rent was charged to Daniel as Mr Keetley’s only beneficiary.

The spokeswoman said: “In this particular case, a termination notice was received which states Mrs Murray is not the executor of the estate and so is not responsible for the rent due.

“In such circumstances the standard policy is the rent charge should be paid from the estate, if there is one, or the beneficiary of that estate.

“If there is not an estate then the rent is then covered by the authority by the way of deceased tenant allowances.”