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Can they they legally rent the property out without ever legally taking ownership?

I can only answer this with my own local law, but it might be a start. If the LO dies intestate (no will) her estate will go by law to the spouse if no children, or half to spouse and the other half between children. That’s the usual simple situation anyway. To transfer the title of real property (ie land/ house), letters of administration will have to be obtained from the court (it’s the intestate equivalent of getting probate of a will), and this will state who is entitled to the house. This document is then produced to whatever government department is the Property Registrar, and the transfer of ownership is then registered on the title. If nothing has been done yet along these lines, there is quite a lot of work to be done, probably needing legal help, and certainly with fees involved. The property can’t be sold, or bequeathed by a will, without going through this process.

The next question is can the house be rented out? The practical answer is probably yes, with the husband signing the rental agreement, because if the tenant doesn’t know about the complications they aren’t going to question it. It would probably help if you could show that the rates notices were coming in husband’s name. However obviously this could go pear shaped if it gets questioned. If you take a chance and do it, it would be advisable to start immediately on sorting out the registration of the change of ownership on the title.

You need a local lawyer.
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Reply to MargaretMcKen
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So reading between the lines...

Your wife passed away. She did not make a will. She owned a house. You as her widower have now taken possession of the house. Can you legally rent it out without first going through the process of taking formal possession at its owner?

How are you going to insure it, how are you going to pay taxes on it, how are you going to go through all the processes expected of a responsible landlord?

Wouldn't it just be a lot easier to get the loose ends tied up? What have you got against doing that?
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Reply to Countrymouse
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Is the Deed in both their names. This is what I found

If you and your spouse both have your name on the title, you each own a half-interest in the property. Your freedom to give away or leave that half-interest depends on how you and your spouse share ownership. If you own the property in "joint tenancy with right of survivorship" or "tenancy by the entirety," the property automatically belongs to the surviving spouse when one spouse dies -- no matter what the deceased spouse's will says. But if you instead own the property in "tenancy in common" (less likely), then you can leave your half-interest to someone other than your spouse if you wish.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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