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Aug, 2014

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  1. #1

    Default Tenant damage covered?

    Hi,
    I am moving out of a property that I am renting through an agent, where I caused accidental damage to the ceramic hob, which is the landlord's. Under Landlord's obligations, my tenancy agreement states that "to maintain a comprehensive insurance policy with a reputable company to cover the Property, and the Landlord's fixtures, fittings, furniture and effects (including carpets and curtains), but not including the Tenant's belongings". A friend of mine in the lettings business advised me that the hob is covered under the landlord's insurance, and I could offer to pay the excess on their insurance. When I had a letter from my agent about the check-out procedure, I was, amongst other things, asked to replace the hob, which they knew had been damaged through a previous inspection. I wrote back and said it was covered by my landlord's insurance and I would be happy to pay the excess. I did not hear anything for a while until my landlord (not the agent) approached me and said he had had a letter from the agent, asking him to claim the hob under his insurance. He was obviously not pleased about this, and the next day I had a letter from the agent, again asking me to replace the hob, as his insurance does not cover tenant damage. I called the citizens advice bureau who have suggested that I ask to see the landlord's insurance policy. I have not heard since. Any ideas and views on my chances of getting some of this covered by my landlord's insurance. I admit this was my damage, although it would not have occurred if it was not for a design weakness in the kitchen: right above the hob is a hood extractor fan, which is covered with a door, inside of which is a narrow shelf for spices. You open that door, and a spice jar falls on the hob, and you have the damage. I don't know if this is relevant. I took up this tenancy before the deposit guarantee scheme was set up. Replacement of the hob would cost me £480, and my deposit was £600. I imagine my landlord is planning not to reimburse any of it. I do understand if the hob indeed is my liability, but if my tenancy agreement places the obligation to insure the fittings on the landlord, and damage by the tenant is included, I don't see why he should not claim on his insurance. Needless to say, I have got no insurance. When I browsed the internet for landlord's insurances, most of them state they cover tenant damage. Can I trust my agent's information (they have lied to me in the past, over accessing the property without my consent). My relationship with the landlord, who moved for retirement, into the property next to me a year after I moved in, has been polite, but he gave me notice while I was on holiday, after 4 1/2 yrs tenancy at the worst time possible, straight after qualifying in a new career, and after having just signed on, and whilst applying for jobs, so it has been a bit tense since. Any views and ideas? Maybe a compromise, some form of arbitration, or if all else fails, how can I be sure that while the agents are still holding my deposit that I would get any of it back after I effect the repair of the hob?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Yorkshire
    Posts
    24,592

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by early@wakingdance.co.uk View Post
    Hi,
    I am moving out of a property that I am renting through an agent, where I caused accidental damage to the ceramic hob, which is the landlord's. Under Landlord's obligations, my tenancy agreement states that "to maintain a comprehensive insurance policy with a reputable company to cover the Property, and the Landlord's fixtures, fittings, furniture and effects (including carpets and curtains), but not including the Tenant's belongings". A friend of mine in the lettings business advised me that the hob is covered under the landlord's insurance, and I could offer to pay the excess on their insurance. When I had a letter from my agent about the check-out procedure, I was, amongst other things, asked to replace the hob, which they knew had been damaged through a previous inspection. I wrote back and said it was covered by my landlord's insurance and I would be happy to pay the excess. I did not hear anything for a while until my landlord (not the agent) approached me and said he had had a letter from the agent, asking him to claim the hob under his insurance. He was obviously not pleased about this, and the next day I had a letter from the agent, again asking me to replace the hob, as his insurance does not cover tenant damage. I called the citizens advice bureau who have suggested that I ask to see the landlord's insurance policy. I have not heard since. Any ideas and views on my chances of getting some of this covered by my landlord's insurance. I admit this was my damage, although it would not have occurred if it was not for a design weakness in the kitchen: right above the hob is a hood extractor fan, which is covered with a door, inside of which is a narrow shelf for spices. You open that door, and a spice jar falls on the hob, and you have the damage. I don't know if this is relevant. I took up this tenancy before the deposit guarantee scheme was set up. Replacement of the hob would cost me £480, and my deposit was £600. I imagine my landlord is planning not to reimburse any of it. I do understand if the hob indeed is my liability, but if my tenancy agreement places the obligation to insure the fittings on the landlord, and damage by the tenant is included, I don't see why he should not claim on his insurance. Needless to say, I have got no insurance. When I browsed the internet for landlord's insurances, most of them state they cover tenant damage. Can I trust my agent's information (they have lied to me in the past, over accessing the property without my consent). My relationship with the landlord, who moved for retirement, into the property next to me a year after I moved in, has been polite, but he gave me notice while I was on holiday, after 4 1/2 yrs tenancy at the worst time possible, straight after qualifying in a new career, and after having just signed on, and whilst applying for jobs, so it has been a bit tense since. Any views and ideas? Maybe a compromise, some form of arbitration, or if all else fails, how can I be sure that while the agents are still holding my deposit that I would get any of it back after I effect the repair of the hob?
    You have accidentally/negligently damaged your landlord's property; you have no doubt signed a contract agreeing to pay for repairs or replacement of any items you break. I don't understand why you think your LL should claim - most LL insurance does not cover damage by tenants (for obvious reasons - think about it!) and Ts are always advised to take out their own insurance to cover accidental (but not malicious) damage to LL's property as well as contents ins. for their own stuff. The fact that a spice jar fell on the hob is, I think, irrelevant.

    I'm sorry, but you'll have to bite the bullet on this one. The good news is, that you don't have to replace it with a brand new hob unless the one you broke was brand new at the start of the tenancy. You may find one second hand although it would need testing for safety. £480 sounds like a lot - shop around.

    Was your deposit protected in a scheme (if tenancy began after April 07)? If so, you should get the rest of it back via the scheme, unless LL claims additional deductions e.g. cleaning.

    If deposit wasn't protected but should have been, you can sue him for 3x the deposit for failure to comply.

  3. #3

    Default Well, ok then

    What you say makes sense. Yes, I'll have to bite the bullet in more than one way. The hob WAS new when I moved in. The replacement (new) hob I was quoted is £375 +VAT +£15 for fitting, so £488.75 in all. Plus the tenancy started in 2004, so no deposit protection scheme. Would you recommend I ask the agent to deduct this from my deposit and get the landlord to make arrangements for the fitting of a new hob, or should I call the kitchens supplier who gave me the quote and ask him to carry out the work and send the bill to me (in which case the agent is still holding the deposit and could still make further deductions from it).
    Carola

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    South coast of England.
    Posts
    40

    Default

    Leave the property as you found it and there should be no reason for the witholding of any of your deposit. I assume the hob you've found is exactly (or as near as dammit) to the one already fitted ? Shop around, you may find it cheaper - the differences in price can be surprising as I've just found. The company who are supplying my new kitchen have a price promise, so when I saw my chosen hob in one of the national chains, the price was matched and a further 10% deducted - all for the matter of one phone call.

  5. #5

    Default Response

    A bit late for that (leaving it as I found it), as I am checking out this coming Monday. The only reason I thought the damage may be covered by my landlord's insurance was that the tenancy states that the landlord's insurance covers his fittings, and I need to take out insurance for my possessions only (not the same as: contents). The tenancy agreement also asks me to pay for any excess on the landlord's insurance if he has to claim as a result of my negligence (which I offered). I know it does not seem to make sense from a landlord's point of view, but it is what my tenancy agreement says, and it is the agreement I signed.
    Re shopping around: I have tried that when the damage first happened, but have not found EXACTLY the same hob, although there were some cheaper ones around. The only way of getting the same seemed to order it from NEFF, and as it will need to be fitted professionally by an electrician anyway, I may as well get a kitchen appliance business order the hob and fit it (they were only going to charge me £15 for fitting it, which hardly covers the cost of coming out here!). Might try for some more quotes tomorrow, though.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    80 London Road, Southend-on-Sea, Essex
    Posts
    525

    Default

    It IS possible that the landlord is covered for this incident but only if he has accidental damage cover included. Unfortunately the tenancy agreement makes you liable for the damage regardless of whether it is covered on the landlord's insurance or not so even if he does have cover, he could refuse to claim.

    As a tenant, come contents policies available will include a section called "tenant's liability" which may cover you for these occurrences but you say you unfortunately didn't have any insurance in place.

    Unless the landlord does have the cover and is willing to make a claim on his policy (both unlikely by the sounds of things), then it seems you may have to pay for this yourself.
    Steve Smith - Company Director at a leading Landlord Insurance broker with 10+ years experience in the industry
    LandlordZONE Verified Poster and Topic Expert for Landlords Insurance
    See my profile for contact details

  7. #7

    Default Thanks

    Hi, this is useful, thank you very much. Just wondering why my tenancy agreement says that the landlord is obliged to arrange comprehensive (and what does "comprehensive" mean?) insurance on his fixtures and fittings while my obligations under insurance are stated as " to insure my own possessions". And where is the law that says that the landlord is not obliged to claim under his insurance? What is the point in his insurance if he can chose to claim under it or not? Is this a case of the tenancy agreement not being very clear, leaving a lot to interpretation or precedents, and there some other kind of law that states who is liable for what damage, and how tenants' and landlords' insurance comes into it? If there is some kind of law about this, where can I read up about it? Have I got an exceptionally tenant friendly tenancy agreement which makes me insure my own possessions only and the landlord everything else (but then he does not have to claim on it). I am confused.
    I am - almost - ready to count my losses, but not without first having 100% certainty from reliable written sources about the division of liabilities.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    80 London Road, Southend-on-Sea, Essex
    Posts
    525

    Default

    I may be completely wrong on this as legal situations tend to be outside my knowledge boundaries as such but consider this imaginary insurance situation...

    Someone (call them the "landlord") has comprehensive car insurance and you (the "tenant") drive into their vehicle. It is completely your fault meaning you are responsible for the damage to that person's car. As that person has comprehensive cover they have the option of claiming on their own insurance to get their vehicle repaired but they will be more likely to make you pay as it was you who was responsible. They have no legal requirement to claim on their insurance as it is their property which is damaged making it their decision.

    This may make it a bit clearer but you could take this imaginary situation further...

    You don't have insurance in place to pay the other person or may refuse to agree it is your fault/responsibility. The other person will probably still want their vehicle repaired so will be forced to make a claim on their own policy and will either pursue recovery from you at a later date (whether that be the full amount or just their excess) or just leave it as they can't be bothered.

    Like I say, this is only theoretical from an insurance point of view and not advice in any way.
    Steve Smith - Company Director at a leading Landlord Insurance broker with 10+ years experience in the industry
    LandlordZONE Verified Poster and Topic Expert for Landlords Insurance
    See my profile for contact details

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    738

    Talking

    There is no confusion. I as a landlord insure my property in case of damage from eg. flood, fire etc. etc. not against damage by tenants. If the tenant breaks something, tenant pays - end of story. Stop whingeing and be more careful in future!

    By the way, £480 seems a lot of money for a ceramic hob.
    Mrs Jones
    I am not an expert - my posts are my opinion and should not be taken as fact!!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    80 London Road, Southend-on-Sea, Essex
    Posts
    525

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs Jones View Post
    I as a landlord insure my property in case of damage from eg. flood, fire etc. etc. not against damage by tenants. If the tenant breaks something, tenant pays - end of story.
    Whilst I agree with this statement completely, I would recommend you reconsider your attitude towards protecting yourself against damage by tenants.

    Accidental damage by tenants is a relatively cheap addition to a landlord insurance policy and with some insurers it is even included in the standard cover. Sure you would expect your tenants to pay but sometimes they don't!

    They may run off, refuse to pay, can't afford to repair the property, etc. If you have the extra cover, you don't have to worry too much apart from the excess, but if you don't then you may have to rely on legal action which can take time and cost money and can often end in disappointment.

    As with all optional insurances, it is your assessment of the risk involved, but unless you know the tenant very well (i.e. a family member or friend), then I would certainly take out this cover.

    Sorry to go off subject from the OP but an important point to make as so many landlords think "oh, I'll just get the tenant to pay" and don't realise that sometimes it is not that easy, even with a legally binding lease agreement in place!
    Steve Smith - Company Director at a leading Landlord Insurance broker with 10+ years experience in the industry
    LandlordZONE Verified Poster and Topic Expert for Landlords Insurance
    See my profile for contact details

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