Malicious Damage by Tenants 1st Jan 2016

Rented property is enjoying a boom time, with over 700,000 people now choosing to rent in Scotland. The majority of tenancies run smoothly with tenants wanting to live in and look after their rented property as if they owned it. Once in a while however, landlords have the misfortune of having a tenant who isn’t quite so respectful of the property.

Although insurers generally receive more accidental damage claims, they have seen a marked rise in Theft & Malicious Damage by Tenant claims in recent years. This may be down to landlords realising their policy covers this sort of thing, along with the huge increase in the rental population. Figures released by the National Landlords Association reveal an estimated 29% of UK landlords (400,000), have had their property damaged by tenants in the last 12 months.

Malicious damage is often more extensive than accidental damage and more likely to be spread over a number of rooms. Furthermore, in addition to paying out large sums to put the damage right, landlords are likely to experience loss of rental income during this time.

Jamie McKenzie of Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers says ‘When investing in a buy to let property, the last thing a landlord anticipates is their tenant causing intentional damage the property, or to be the victim of possession theft when the lease ends. We are beginning to see an increase of property claims in relation to this and it is important that the landlord is sufficiently covered to avoid paying an expensive repair or replacement bill. Some insurers will simply not provide cover for Theft & Malicious Damage by Tenant, or in some cases a hefty additional premium will be charged. Bruce Stevenson provide this cover as standard at no extra cost, giving the landlord peace of mind. ‘

It is therefore essential that landlords have the right insurance policies in place in order to protect their investment. In addition, landlords should look at ways of minimising the risk of damage happening in the first place. Measures include:

- Tenants should be fully reference checked.
- A full deposit should be taken and lodged with the tenancy deposit scheme.
- Tenancy agreements must be in place outlining, amongst other things, the expectations and requirements of the landlord.
- A detailed inventory should be provided, supported by photographic evidence detailing the condition of the property (internally and externally) at the start of every tenancy.
- Regular inspections should be carried out.

A reputable letting agent such as The Key Place will deal with the above on behalf of fully managed landlords.

The Key Place offers a comprehensive insurance package, provided by Bruce Stevenson, to all of our fully managed landlords. We will also manage the insurance claim and associated repairs as part of the package. If landlords do not take our insurance then they will have to manage the claim themselves, or The Key Place can manage the claim for a fee. Contact us for further information. .