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.


Sally T

8:02 AM, 5th April 2013, About 9 years ago

Paul Barrett,I think your talking about flats inpurpose built blocks that have their insurance in with their service charge. Our pay out was on a house and they did cover the rent, the tenant quit the tenanacy immediately because she was the one who set fire to the place.
Have you tried getting loss of rent on a contents policy ???

Julie Kirby

8:20 AM, 5th April 2013, About 9 years ago

I have flats leased both to Torfaen and Newport councils and have made one fire damage claim on each council's block policy. For both claims I was reimbursed for loss of rent, I simply had to include a copy of the lease. One policy was with Zurich, can't remember the other.
To make any progress with the initial claim get the loss adjuster out as soon as possible. I do remember badgering the main insurance office until they gave me the mobile number of the elusive loss adjuster allocated to my claim. I rang his mobile and gave him a surpirse when I introduced myself. After a sympathetic chat with him directly about his workload and my damage I got the first appointment made there and then!

Jerry Jones

9:31 AM, 5th April 2013, About 9 years ago

What I believeis key to this is the terms of your landlord insurance. Have a good read of what is and isn't covered. A proper landlords' policy (I have an NLA block one from Alan Boswell) should cover the cost of providing your tenant with alternative accommodation. I think you are required to do so under the terms of a tenancy if the property becomes uninhabitable.

Joe Bloggs

10:01 AM, 5th April 2013, About 9 years ago

i accept paul barnetts challenge.
my rentguard buildings policy covers:
'loss of rent receivable or payable...whilst the insured property shown on the certificate is rendered uninhabitable or whilst access to the insured property is denied as a result of damage insured by this section'.
the next section also goes on to state they will cover service charge payments.
whats my prize?
it is always vital to read the policy as this is the contract. insurance is a very dodgy industry.

Ian Narbeth

10:41 AM, 5th April 2013, About 9 years ago

@Paul Barrett
Paul, ordinary buildings insurance does not cover loss of rent. However, loss of rent policies do (the clue is in the name!). You seem very forthright for someone who appears not to know the ins and outs of the property world. Your comments are not helpful. I have practised in the property area for 28 years. Let me enlighten you.

It is not illegal to have two insurance policies in place. What you may be thinking about is double insurance where the SAME RISKS are covered by two policies and insurers either apply "average" or try to avoid paying out on the basis that the other insurer will pay. It is perfectly possible, legal and common to have one policy to cover the buildings, another to cover contents and a third to cover loss of rent. The first two are often combined on household policies. The third is more specialist but is definitely available, either as a standalone policy or as part of a buildings insurance policy.

Landlords should check that the policy covers the case where there is no tenant (either because damage occurs during a void or because the tenancy ends before reinstatment is complete) but this is not usually a problem.

Joe Bloggs

12:41 PM, 5th April 2013, About 9 years ago

my ordinary buildings insurance policy covers loss of rent - see above.


22:20 PM, 5th April 2013, About 9 years ago

Hi - I certainly received rent loss and was asked for my AST to show what was the rent. I quote from my insurance policy under areas covered "Loss of rent receivable or payable including up to two years ground rent or reasonable additional expenses of comparable alternative accommodation if the risk address shown in the schedule is uninhabitable etc"
In my final statement is calculated the rent loss from the date of the fire until the date the property was inhabitable again.

Lisé Willcox

0:14 AM, 6th April 2013, About 9 years ago

Hi Helen sympathies for whats happened.... Perhaps this might help

You can have different insurance policies (as above) but you cannot insure the same thing twice, so a specialist LL insurance is preferable. You cannot insure what you don't own or have a financial interest in... Insurers talk to each other and if your under insured you will be left wanting, they may ask for wear and tear contributions too.

Uninsured losses (I love these!) carpets? Telephone calls, loss of rent, hassle, petrol, your tenants uninsured losses too? Well if the fire was the neighbours fault look at a claim from their insurer direct.... Look to claim interim compensation too.

I can't give you an example other than this.... I recently claimed off a motor insurer for damage to a four foot thick hedge which was 400 foot long and of which 20 foot had been mowed down by their insured driver ! They offered me the cost of little replacement shrubs... £240, I claimed £900 for phone calls, inconvenience, postage, paper, ten years of pruning the little shrubs in place... And 'loss of enjoyment' (well it looked awful) I got £750. They key thing was to keep on at them ... This does not help you but it's a good example of don't ask don't get. If you have had to borrow money to pay your mortgage and you pay interest on that, or indeed you lost interest on the savings account you would have put your rent in, well that's an uninsured loss.... If there is an insurer who is accepting final liability for their Insureds fire damaging your property (next door to your BTL) then claim for it!

Joe Bloggs

0:27 AM, 6th April 2013, About 9 years ago

@ Lise Willcox says:
'Well if the fire was the neighbours fault look at a claim from their insurer direct…. Look to claim interim compensation too.'

unlikely you can do this without your insurers consent as this would prejudice insurers rights of subrogation, as a claim can only be brought once. it is a condition precedent of insurance policies that the insured gives consent for any actions for recovery from the third party to be taken by insurers in the name of the insured so they can recover their costs. insurers do however have to include your uninsured losses such as the xs in any such recovery action.

Lisé Willcox

0:38 AM, 6th April 2013, About 9 years ago

I agree partly, but if you are in contact with your Insuer, you would agree your direct steps with the third Party insurers with them, if liability is not an issue with the Third Party Insurers on an uninsured loss and your Insurer is agreed, and you may suffer further financial loss by not receiving an interim part compensation payment, eg having to take out a loan to cover loss of rent to pay a mortgage, then you could but ask, and you would be obliged to... Because in law you must mitigate your loss, the third party insurer may point out that the uninsured loss would not have been incurred if they had been approached... Personally I'd ring up the insurance ombudsman and have a natter to their staff. I could well be wrong, but the 'mitigation' bit could swing it, that's why I always ask .. But like Joe said I could be wrong xxx

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