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 11 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.

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Joe Bloggs

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15:27 PM, 16th April 2013, About 11 years ago

nick pope - as a chartered surveyor you should be more careful when giving advice. you state:
‘Fraid not – the insurance company will apply what is called averaging, and will only pay out 50% of the claim as you were 50% under-insured this case £25,000.'
when i was loss adjusting (and i doubt that it has changed), insurers could repudiate a claim in its entirety if there was under insurance on this scale as it is a condition precedent that the sum insured is adequate.
also you state:
'consider appointing your own loss adjuster...'
again this is incorrect. loss adjusters are instructed solely by insurers. you mean loss assessors.
posters holding themselves out to be experts should stick to their area of expertise!

Joe Bloggs

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15:31 PM, 16th April 2013, About 11 years ago

helen - re:
'we are not covered for emergency access to the property. So, where the front door was damaged to gain access by the emergency services we are not able to claim for this.'
the industry norm is that fire brigade damage is part and parcel of the insured peril of fire. if your insurers wont pay then please name and shame them and go through their complaints procedure.

Marie Smyth

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13:08 PM, 22nd April 2013, About 11 years ago

Hi Helen

I fortunately never experienced a fire in a property but did have a burst water main outside a house of four units I had just finished renovating, tenants insitu etc. One tenant just got out of his flat in time, as chunks of tarmac and hardcore soared through, at and over the house with all the water force I can only imagine was better than having five fire engines blast the house for several hours.......It was a double fronted house, two units on the right (ground & first) were a wipe out, the other two on the left had water damage, windows broken but were re-instated within a week, not so with the others. I re-housed my tenants immediately in a hotel (no other vacancies at that time) and the fight for compensation, re-instatement began. The tenant on the top floor decided to vacate but the tenant on the ground floor decided to hang out for his flat. I had appointed a loss assessor to assist with the claim because:
1. My claim was against the water board.
2. My claim also encompassed loss of income and personal loss of property for four tenants and temporary and long term hotel costs for two tenants. (Loss of personal property became a big issue, £120 shoes, leather coats, computers - you name it etc).
3. I claimed for all re-instatement works, roof, windows, internal, furnishings, flooring etc.
4. Loss of rent.
5. Hotel costs.
6. Tenants costs.
7. Even the loss assessors costs and loss of excess on my insurance.

The claim went through my insurers, from me to my loss assessors & insurers & the water board. I have a headache just thinking about it!!!!!

I know it's not the same as the situation you are in but I think without someone else following the scenario (Loss assessor) then I could easily have just given in, let things go a little and have been well out of pocket. I agreed £1,000 fee for their assistance, can't remember if I got this back from the WB too? Its a long time ago but the WB got very sticky at times, my own insurers rather inactive at times but between me and the assessor bugging the hell out of them I managed to get all four flats up and running, tenants in and compensated, hotel and loss of rent covered.

If you can get a good recommendation for a loss assessor in your area and do a deal (set price or % of claim) then I think it is well worth it. The deal I did was that they would monitor, chase and apply the claim against the water board. I know that I had a third party involvement, however perhaps you need someone to monitor your insurers and sort things out especially when things like the scaffolding is being erected on the wrong house? Lets not forget that aside of this your day is full with managing other properties, tenants, jobs etc and you will need to know someone following through with the claim when you do not have the time to deal with it, like you have nothing else to do!

Good Luck with everything, keep us posted.

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