Man who died in Milwaukee apartment still responsible for rent

MILWAUKEE — A Wisconsin man who died in his apartment before Christmas is still responsible to pay January’s rent, according to the property manager.

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Deana Barber said her father Robert, a Vietnam veteran who died in December, is required to pay the January rent since he “vacated the property,” WTMJ reported.

Deana Barber said BG Lein Management told her that her father broke his lease when he died.

“I said, ‘You guys really do that to people?’” Barber said. “And she just kept repeating, ‘It’s Wisconsin state law, it’s Wisconsin state law.’”

When a Vietnam War vet's daughter got a hold of a letter from her dad's property manager, she couldn't believe what she was reading: Even though he died, he still had to pay rent.

Posted by TMJ4 News on Monday, February 8, 2021

The company said it is sorry for Barber’s loss.

“We are sorry that the family is having to deal with this loss. Our team tries to be as supportive as possible with our tenants and their families, especially throughout this very difficult year,” the company told WTMJ. “Too many have faced terrible medical issues, death, and financial hardship. We try to be respectful and flexible throughout challenging communication with family members. The team puts extra effort into the coordination of inspections of the unit. We do our best to attempt to relieve pressure as families try to go through personal items, for example. And in some cases, family members are not close by and our staff has more regular contact with an individual that is living alone.

“Our standard practice is to be reasonable and meet tenants in the middle whenever possible, while also following the law and being consistent so everyone feels we are fair. This includes reducing or waiving some of the outstanding charges in accounts (late fees, small rent balances, etc.), zeroing out charges related to general cleaning, carpet cleaning, typical costs for light repairs to drywall or replacement of blinds for example, or keeping an apartment off-market for multiple weeks.

“The language in our standard form letters may strike an unsympathetic tone, particularly in difficult situations, however, we use standard content across the board to ensure consistency and adherence to state law. The law requires us to list details and include supporting documentation and also respond in a certain time frame. Our staff tries to walk people through these details over the phone so they understand the letters we send out and their relation to the lease. We don’t surprise people. If a tenant owes money, that is clear. If there is light, moderate, or severe cleaning or repairs, this is clear.

“When tenancy ends in these difficult situations we work with families, friends, and power of attorneys throughout the challenges of cleaning out items and the transition to closing out lease terms. We do our best to ease the pain of that process and absorb some costs to help make that transition a little easier.”