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Tracie
31-03-2010, 12:44 PM
Can someone please advise me on the following;

My tenant reported to the letting agent that a hole had appeared in the kitchen floor. The letting agent reported this to me and asked if I was aware of this? Replied no.

Myself and husband arranged with the tenant to visit the property the next day and inspected the "hole".

Whilst inspecting the hole, we noticed the walls surrounding the tenant's washing machine were showing signs of mould, and all the plaster had blown. The tenant claimed that she had already checked the washing machine for leaks and it wasn't leaking.

My husband wanted to check behind the washing machine and the tenant said, "shall I turn off the stop-cock" my husband said no, otherwise I won't know if it's leaking or not. Having pulled out the washing machine, the tenant had connected the washing machine up herself (she told us this when she first moved in) there was a fountain of water pouring out from the connection where it hadn't been correctly fitted by the tenant.

The damage caused is considerable; all one side of the kitchen, the wall will need replastering, the hole in the floor has been caused by continual water leaking, the dishwasher (that is fitted next to the washing machine) is now possibly damaged, especially the wooden housing, all the kitchen units could also need replacing due to swollen, warped wooden fittings, and possibly having to replace tiles around the kitchen units and also structural damage. The water has been leaking since end of July last year, so you can imagine the amount of water that has been leaking. The way the floor is laid, the water would have run to the back and sides, but due to the amount leaked, it's been absorbed into the surounding plaster and brick work.

When we discovered all the damage, I informed the tenant I would need to send a builder around for inspection.

I have contacted the letting agents and asked what action I need to take with regards to costs involved etc. The letting agents reply was, claim off my insurance as it was an accidental incident and the tenant might not have known. She also said I could possibly claim from their deposit when they leave, although this would take a while as they haven't given any indication of leaving. I am concerned this will affect my insurance record as I have never claimed before either on my house or my rented house, and feel the tenant is responsible for the damaged caused, not me.

Any advice would be appreciated.
Thanks

mind the gap
31-03-2010, 12:54 PM
I agree with your agent that in the first instance you should claim from your house insurance - it was accidental damage, after all. Our insurers paid up for a carpet ruined by my son's stupidity (he left a tap running whilst on the phone and then went out!) so unless the insuruers are snotty about paying out for your T's poor workmanship, you should be OK.

What you need to recover from your T (perhaps from the deposit) is the insurance excess plus the extra cost of your premiums if they rise due to having made a claim.

Tracie
31-03-2010, 19:50 PM
I understand the tenant probably didn't intend to let the washing machine leak, but the amount of damage caused, it is pretty obvious she would have been aware of this for quite a while without bothering to see why all the plaster had become mouldy and blown and also the big gapping hole in the floor. Also, her water bill must be huge!

I actually think the insurance company might refuse as she is obviously been negligent and failed to report it earlier before the damage esculated to such an extend.

Due to this incident and the previous tenant from hell, (who also cost me hundreds of pounds) I'm seriously re-thinking my options.

Any thoughts?

Snorkerz
31-03-2010, 19:56 PM
If she has been negligent but the damage is covered by your insurance, then the insurance company have the option of pursuing her for redress.

I would consider getting the tenant out, not only because they caused the damage but because they may stop paying rent if the insurance company does cause trouble. Is tenant in their fixed term?

I would suggest bigger deposits and more frequent inspections - but neither are always practical.

Tracie
31-03-2010, 20:06 PM
That's another problem. I orignally asked the letting agents for a 12 month Assured contract with a 6 month break clause (either side). I didn't receive a copy of the contract for several months despite requsting this.

I have just received a statement (March 2010) and noticed they have taken a fee off for renewal of contract. When I contacted the agents to ask what the fee was for, they told me the tenant had renewed the 6 month contract in January 2010 without my knowledge or consent. I asked how this was possible without my agreement, they admitted it's their mistake. I have asked them to at least waiver the fee and they said they would get back to me, that was two days ago and I've still not heard anything. Again, I have not received a copy of any agreement.

Many thanks for your help!

Snorkerz
31-03-2010, 20:27 PM
That's another problem. I orignally asked the letting agents for a 12 month Assured contract with a 6 month break clause (either side). I didn't receive a copy of the contract for several months despite requsting this.

I have just received a statement (March 2010) and noticed they have taken a fee off for renewal of contract. When I contacted the agents to ask what the fee was for, they told me the tenant had renewed the 6 month contract in January 2010 without my knowledge or consent. I asked how this was possible without my agreement, they admitted it's their mistake. I have asked them to at least waiver the fee and they said they would get back to me, that was two days ago and I've still not heard anything. Again, I have not received a copy of any agreement.

Many thanks for your help!A 6 month contract from January expires in July - you should be considering a s21 notice soon. The issue with the new contract will only delay this by a month (ie the earliest you could issue a s21 for now is June)

Tracie
01-04-2010, 00:06 AM
Thank you for that, will check the contract and see what is actually stated with regards to renewing the contract etc.

Many thanks,

Ericthelobster
01-04-2010, 07:16 AM
What you need to recover from your T (perhaps from the deposit) is the insurance excess plus the extra cost of your premiums if they rise due to having made a claim.I think it will be well nigh impossible to reclaim the extra cost of insurance premiums... if the premiums do get bumped, it's never black and white; ie renewal premiums rise every year anyway, and the company will never tell you how much of the increase is down to the claim you've made. Also, the rise is going to impact over several years (presumably until such time as the question "Have you made a claim on your insurance in the last X years?" can truthfully be answered "no", enabling a new policy to be taken out elsewhere). Therefore how can you claim against the tenant for increased premiums not due for 4 or 5 years?

Personally I consider this is what insurance is for - OK, charge her for the excess but you have to eat the ongoing extra costs as a (tax-deductible) business expense. Look at this way - if you didn't have insurance, you'd definitely be chasing the tenant for the costs. She wouldn't pay (will she?) and you will end up either paying it yourself or chasing her through the courts which is a truck-load of aggravation for you, and probably won't end with her paying anyway. So by claiming on your insurance, albeit not at zero cost to you, at least you avoid all that.


I actually think the insurance company might refuse as she is obviously been negligent and failed to report it earlier before the damage esculated to such an extend.That's easy - if they do deny the claim, then you go after the tenant.


Due to this incident and the previous tenant from hell, (who also cost me hundreds of pounds) I'm seriously re-thinking my options.Bear in mind that your current tenant has nothing to do with the Tenant From Hell (that guy does get around, doesn't he?) so don't take out on her your frustrations with the TFH.

mind the gap
01-04-2010, 08:43 AM
I think it will be well nigh impossible to reclaim the extra cost of insurance premiums... if the premiums do get bumped, it's never black and white; ie renewal premiums rise every year anyway, and the company will never tell you how much of the increase is down to the claim you've made. Also, the rise is going to impact over several years (presumably until such time as the question "Have you made a claim on your insurance in the last X years?" can truthfully be answered "no", enabling a new policy to be taken out elsewhere). Therefore how can you claim against the tenant for increased premiums not due for 4 or 5 years?

Personally I consider this is what insurance is for - OK, charge her for the excess but you have to eat the ongoing extra costs as a (tax-deductible) business expense. Look at this way - if you didn't have insurance, you'd definitely be chasing the tenant for the costs. She wouldn't pay (will she?) and you will end up either paying it yourself or chasing her through the courts which is a truck-load of aggravation for you, and probably won't end with her paying anyway. So by claiming on your insurance, albeit not at zero cost to you, at least you avoid all that.



You have convinced me.

Mars Mug
01-04-2010, 14:16 PM
Perhaps the most expensive insurance policy is the one you never claim against?