Can any Landlords help with the aftermath of Fire

Can any Landlords help with the aftermath of Fire

16:18 PM, 3rd April 2013, About 9 years ago 43

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magpie road fireImagine my horror whilst watching the local news on Sunday evening, seeing a row of 4 terraced houses in Norwich on fire and the end one being one of my rental properties!

I would be keen to see if other landlords have experienced a fire and what happened in the following weeks.

Luckily my tenant was away and no-one was injured. The fire started in the next door neighbours house and spread to our roof. For now the property is uninhabitable and our tenant is staying with some friends.

I am waiting for a loss adjustor to visit the house. For now however I am feeling concerned that the house is exposed to the elements and wish to prevent further damage being done. As you look up from the upstairs bedroom, the sky is visible and the weather isn’t great right now.

Although we are covered for fire damage, I am not sure what we can claim for, such as cleaning, redecorating and don’t wish to be out of pocket.

I have not had to deal with fire damage before, has anyone else dealt with fire and can give me any advice on what to expect?

As it stands at the moment, the insurance company are aware and have appointed a loss adjustor who has recommended a structural survey of the property.

Whilst the actual fire was contained within the roof, there is water damage in the 2 upstairs bedrooms. Half the roof is missing over the front and back of the house and the loss adjustor thinks we will need a new roof, ceilings taken down and asbestos tested, new carpets (which I discovered are NOT covered by buildings insurance!).

Our tenant is deciding what to do, whether to find temporary accommodation or start a fresh, I know we can claim for loss of rent, but not sure for how long, is it until we get a new tenant or when the work is completed?

We have also been told that we need to take action to protect the property as the front door was smashed to allow the fire fighters entrance, which for now this is boarded up and padlocked. I have ordered a new door, but don’t know when the insurance company will reimburse us for that.

Also, we need to have a tarpaulin put over the house, but due to structural concerns we need to have scaffolding erected first, again, it is another cost incurred upfront by us.

Due to the fire being spread across 4 terraces, it is not straight forward to just have our roof fixed without the others being done too.

Are we going to end up out of pocket because of the fire? As yet our insurance company have not been that helpful.



Comments

BobG

20:16 PM, 4th April 2013, About 9 years ago

Yes I had a £50 000 insurance claim about 2 years ago for fire damage caused by an electrical fault in the loft. It does depend to some extent on the insurance company and also the loss adjusters who always seem to be very busy. My surveyor and loss adjuster were excellent.
It does take some time, about a year from start to finish. The key to getting things moving is the initial survey by the loss adjusters or their appointed surveyors. They will sometimes put a metal lid on the roof which is an expensive structural cover to enable works to be carried out while protecting the structure and fabric of the building. My experience was that they were very helpful and replaced everything that was damaged and a bit more as well. I had a complete new roof including timbers pantiles and plastic facias and soffits, and also refurbishment of any other areas damaged. They have contractors who can respond quickly and you shouldn't have to pay. They said the carpets were not covered but I read the small print and got them replaced.
The rental loss was covered although I did have to stand the loss initially. I don't see why they cannot make an interim payment to cover mortgage costs if this is required.
They obtained three quotes from contractors who came in at various prices up to £70 000 so I did a cash settlement deal and managed to get a bit more for the money. It was a win:win situation as I got a fully refurbished property and they saved on the building cost. I was able to organise the work and found it an interesting project. The important thing was that no one was hurt. It did prompt me to go round my other properties and have full electrical checks and upgrade all the fuseboards and install wired in interconnecting fire and smoke alarms where not already in place. An RCD board wont prevent a fire but does give an indication of circuit faults. I had no problem getting reinsured although surprisingly the insurance company who had originally insured the property did not want to continue cover. They still covered me for other properties and didn't increase the premiums because of the claim.

Recardo Knights

20:35 PM, 4th April 2013, About 9 years ago

I thought all insurance co's covered for loss of rent and alternative accomadation for tenants, to the value of 20-30% of the property reinstatement value. If not don,t use them.

Make shure this is covered by all BTL policies as well as Malicious damage be tenants or people legaly on the property (their guests).

All properties should have RCD boards with mcbs. This does not tell there is a faulty circuit as a blown lihgt bulp will trip it out. A freezer or fridge coming on may trip it out. So will any faulty appliance. I found that when a faulty toaster was used the fuse kept tripping. It also tripped when a lady doing ironing dripped water on an extension lead.

The main purpose of these boards and mcb's is it can save a person from deadly electric shock as the fuse will trip out befor the person dies.

21:05 PM, 4th April 2013, About 9 years ago

just a little trick; when the loss adjuster turns up, BE SUBSERVIENT
always, always know absolutely nothing. they know everything. let them 'help' you

the moment you are in charge is the moment you're on your own.

and Paul, nice to know your learning the art of cat skinning.

BobG

21:05 PM, 4th April 2013, About 9 years ago

I do not class myself as a time served electrician as I only have part P and 17th Edition but as a Chartered Building Surveyor I do try to keep up with things - To quote the electrical safety council. "An RCD is a safety device which automatically switches off the electricity if there is a fault. It is far more sensitive than normal fuses and circuit breakers" I think the reason it trips when a light bulb goes is because it detects electricity which flows down an unintended path such as an imbalance between live and neutral exceeding 30mA. Because of this it also protects against electrical shock although is not a primary safety source which is only achieved by using 110 volts.

21:07 PM, 4th April 2013, About 9 years ago

Hi Helen,

Sorry to hear your news, and went through a similar thing myself about seven years ago - unfortunately a tenant died, so everything was extremely focussed.
The first thing I would say is that your insurance company ( and assuming you've got the right kind of Landlord's Insurance cover, which I'm sure you have) having appointed a loss-adjuster, will deal with the adjuster. In my case the adjuster was brilliant, very patient and clear about what was covered and what was not. The loss-adjuster acts on behalf of the insurance company, and will decide what work needs done, and probably take the property off your hands by awarding the work to contractors to have the flat put back to it's original condition. Your rent should be paid in full by the insurance company, and the tenancy has been brought to an end by means of the property being uninhabitable. Depending on the terms of the lease, you may find that the tenant can ask you to pay for alternate accommodation elsewhere, but this should again be covered by your insurance. The tenant may also decide to call it a day and look for somewhere else, in which case you should refund their deposit and let them go..
You will hopefully find that any up-front costs you incur will be covered and reimbursed by the loss-adjuster, and I would let him tell you what is and is not covered rather than trying to second-guess him/her.
You should give your neighbours the loss-adjusters details when appointed, and he will ensure that any scaffold/tarpaulins needed are included in your claim.
You should be covered for loss of rent until the property is ready to be let again - you're not going to be able to get a new tenant until then anyway - and this should be paid to you by the loss-adjuster.

It's a terrible thing to deal with, but at least no-one was hurt, and you'll hopefully find dealing with the loss-adjuster easy too.
Hope this helps in some way,
David McLennan

22:59 PM, 4th April 2013, About 9 years ago

Where do some of the posters get this bizarre idea that the insurance pays the rent!!?
NO it doesn't!
What it does is pay for the cost of alternative accommodation for the tenant.
Your tenant should carry on paying the contractual rent.
I say again there is NO insurance company that will cover loss of rent in the event of loss of amenity for WHATEVER reason.
Indeed I lay down a challenge to any poster that can tell me an insurance company that will pay for loss of rent whilst a property is vacant or was tenanted until the loss of amenity occurred and is being repaired.
I have been looking for such an insurer and not one has been found.
ALL a buildings policy will pay for is alternative accommodation and repairing the property.
If the tenant chooses to quit the tenancy; you will NOT receive alternative cost of accommodation from the insurance company.
They will pay for the repairs and that is ALL.
I have contacted the ABI about this and they agree with me!
Of course I appreciate that I don't know what I don't know!;and I would welcome enlightenment from a more knowledgeable forum member about this situation.

23:18 PM, 4th April 2013, About 9 years ago

Whilst it is not great that any of you fellow landlords have experienced problems, it is really interesting to hear your stories.
My insurance policy states in the summary that it covers me for loss or rent up to 20% or the property value, however after reading these comments I will definitely be checking what exactly that entails.
Good news, the scaffolding has finally gone up on the correct house!

23:25 PM, 4th April 2013, About 9 years ago

Paul, I'm sorry, but there are proper policies for Landlords out there that cover for the loss of rent, usually up to 20% of the Building Sum insured - mine did..

3:15 AM, 5th April 2013, About 9 years ago

OK; so work on this conundrum.
There are millions of flats in this country.
The majority of them have block insurance policies; which as far as I am aware; NONE of them provide for rent loss insurance.
So imagine I have a fire in one of my flats; with an incumbent tenant.
The insurance company pays for alternative accommodation;but after about 2 months the tenant gets fed up and cancels the tenancy.
The insurance company pays for the repairs but as the tenant stopped paying rent and the LL has NO money to pay the mortgage the property gets repossessed.
It is illegal; or rather is against an insurance companies conditions to have 2 buildings policies on the same property.
So if there is a buildings policy out there which would cover rent loss I would not be allowed to have that policy.
This is a unique problem for ALL flat owning LL.
I would be perfectly happy to pay for a duplicate buildings policy if it covered rent loss and my block insurance company and the duplicate buildings policy allowed cover.....................................................................................BUT they DON'T!!

7:06 AM, 5th April 2013, About 9 years ago

Paul, I have made several claims over the years, one for a fire, a break in and another for militias damage. In all cases the insurance company covered me for lose of income. That is rent.
Remember that cat ? If you have to, don't be squeamish, just skin it

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