HMO tenant barricaded room and started £80,000 fireMake Text Bigger
A month ago, one of my tenants in an HMO barricaded himself into his room and started a fire. He was rescued by the fire brigade, and although initially pleading mental health issues, has now been charged with arson and is on remand.
I am looking at a repair bill of circa £80,000 I think. I insured through Reich on the advice of this website, but the insurers, LV, are on the cusp of refusing liability, based on small print. I had declared the building to be an HMO, but they needed it to say “bedsit” as well, apparently. They have not said NO yet, but my loss assessor feels it is coming.
I have lost seven other tenancies as a result, and three others are living in tents in the garden. The council has imposed a prohibition order until the fire alarm is repaired/replaced, and this has been delayed at the behest of the insurers to find the cheapest option for reinstatement (before actually accepting liability ).
So my questions are:
1. Have I any other recourse other than just shelling out if LV decide to refuse liability?
2. Should one fight such a decision with lawyers or ombudsman or both should it come?
3. Any comments on the use of loss assessors? I took one on to supposedly help me in this difficult time, but he seems to be a prophet of doom more than anything else.
4. Should tenants who cannot sleep in their rooms , but still use them for storage of belongings still pay rent, maybe at a lower rate?
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