18:00 PM, 22nd September 2018, About 3 years ago 19
Firstly the facts: I have a one bed, 5th floor BTL flat which is fronted by huge sealed unit double glazed windows. It’s in a former office block which was into flats two years ago 100 yards from a major train station in Bucks.
It has an NHBC (or equivalent) ten year warranty.
It is leasehold and managed by a service company therefore the buildings insurance is managed by them (I have requested a copy of the coverage). I have a contents policy (no accidental damage included).
My tenant has just renewed for a second year. I have an agent managing the property and provides me with an independently produced six monthly inspection report. There has never been a reported incident of damage to the windows (last report was two months ago)
The story: The tenant contacted the managing agent 6 weeks ago to say that internal glass in a sealed unit window had shattered. The agent alerted me and I imagined £45. The agent has got three quotes and the price range so far is £4k – £5k.
The main cost is that the entire window needs to be replaced from the outside and will require scaffolding (top floor) and the traffic on the road outside will need to be diverted (station traffic). The window replacement without this is about £45.
One of the glaziers said that the sofa had been moved up against the window and the build up of heat had shattered the glass. Another suggested that the sofa itself may have shattered the glass. Originally the sofa had been in the centre of the room (although I would probably be a bit hopeful to expect tenants to keep the furniture in-situ).
I naively had never thought of the need for insurance cover on tenant damage to buildings – my contents are covered by my contents insurance, buildings issues would get picked up by the buildings insurance and tenants would pick up their own damage.
Sadly (for me!) I’ve hit a grey area. I can just let it be and hope future buyers will knock me down by £45 (no immediate plans to sell either).
The “NHBC” type guarantee has stated that it isn’t their problem, my contents insurance insurer has negated it (reasonably TBH as accidental damage to buildings ‘aint covered), I have asked the managing agent to check whether the tenant has an insurance policy that may cover accidental damage (I’m not holding my breath on that one). I await feedback from the insurer that covers the building, but not holding my breath.
I’m sure that many of you will state categorically that it’s the tenant’s issue, but their deposit falls far short of the cost so I have a potential legal cost that looks a bit high risk at proving based on the above.
Does anybody have a Plan B that I haven’t already considered?
Maybe I was naive by not taking out some form of buildings accidental damage cover insurance or something – I must have missed the memo on that one!
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