Legal Cover – What cover?

Legal Cover – What cover?

1:26 AM, 22nd July 2022, About 4 weeks ago 7

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Has anyone had experience dealing with Legal Cover? I was sold the add-on extra as ‘if you need to evict a tenant then we will sort everything for you’. In reality, the insurance has wriggled out of perusing my claim by evaluating that there isn’t a more than 51% chance of winning the eviction.

The tenant withheld 2 months of rent last year citing that they wanted a new roof as they could see daylight (the roof wasn’t leaking in anywhere, I said I would be programming in the roof work this year (2022). The relationship broke down and I decided I would issue a section 8 for the debt and section 21 in December 21.

The tenant paid the debt so I didn’t issue the section 8 but did issue section 21, at this stage the tenant came up with a few repairs – plinths on kitchen units falling down, kitchen drawer fronts falling off, bath panel broken and mould growth in lounge and bathroom. I went in January and fixed the drawer fronts (drawers massively overloaded), plinths were upside down therefore someone had removed them and put them back wrong, bath panel had obliviously been fallen into and broken. Mould – caused by condensation gave advice, supplied mould cleaner and anti-mould paint.

The tenant then involves the Environmental health dept, they agree with me that the mould is caused by condensation and gave advice on how to deal with it, they wanted extra loft insulation, a window restrictor to the bathroom window and a few bits of pointing outside around the front door. The tenant obsesses over the roof and the environment officer asks for proof of leaking.

I did the pointing within a few days of receiving the report, the tenant became very awkward and although didn’t say I couldn’t have access indoors they wouldn’t confirm any convenient day/time. I had to wait for the two months notice to expire and then give all details to the insurance company to start the eviction process.

I supplied details of everything, ast, certs, letters from enviro etc it took them over a month to assess my case, it was then passed to solicitors for assessment, again this took over a month. The result was they declined the case saying the tenant could possibly claim disrepair. Their advice was to carry out the roof works and reissue the section 21 after the six months were up.

Enviro officer agreed with me that there wasn’t disrepair in the property, and the tenant didn’t provide any evidence of leaks from the roof. The outcome is that I have had the property sandblasted and I have repointed the whole of the front and reroofed the property, I put up scaffold – the tenant complained, I had to work until 6pm to make sure each section of the roof was water tight before leaving- the tenant complained to the council, I had to install the insulation through the open roof as the tenant wouldn’t give me access, I had to install the window restrictor from the scaffold when the tenant left the window open, I had to call the police for assistance as the tenant was allowing her children and others to climb the scaffold the tenant then claims to the council that I am harassing her.

The enviro dept was very really supportive throughout and stated works were above what they required. Throughout the tenant has stated that ‘they are going nowhere until bailiffs turn up’. Six months have passed now, all works/repairs known about are completed and I have reserved the section 21 notice again.

I haven’t been able to gain access for an internal inspection and throughout the time I was working on the property the curtains were closed. I now have to wait for the 2-month notice to pass and supply all certs, ast etc again to the insurance company. The only saving grace so far is the tenant is still paying the rent as they have been advised that the council will not help them if they are in debt at the time of eviction.

Has anyone had a similar experience?

Has anyone had success with using a Legal policy to evict a tenant?

I’m unsure whether to use the insurance company when the notice has expired or should I pursue the eviction myself through the courts?

Many thanks

Helen



Comments

LordOf TheManor

21:47 PM, 22nd July 2022, About 4 weeks ago

Oh dear!

Helen, you don't say how long you've housed these tenants or tell us whether you had a multi-page inventory and schedule of condition by an AIIC professional clerk before the tenancy commenced. I would never let any property without one of these.

'You will appreciate the value of instructing an expert AIIC independent inventory clerk to avoid unnecessary costs and legal disputes and make every party aware of its responsibilities. You will also have confidence that government regulations are being adhered to and have a professional partner with specialist knowledge' (Quoted from the AIIC website 22/07/22).

Ok, so maybe you don't have one - but what do you have to demonstrate the property's condition at the tenancy commencement? If it can be proved it was all good and fit for purpose at the start that helps you lots.

'Unpack' the tenancy history: has the couple become a family since you let it? Or has the original family increased in size? Either or both will have an impact on the property's interior wear and tear factor as well as the tenants' likely reduced attention to the timely reporting of maintenance issues.

The length of the tenancy is relevant. Again, the question is, how long have you housed them? A property with a young family under its roof is a quick deteriorator of it - especially if the washing machine is on every day and all the clothes are dried indoors. (To say nothing of ride-on children's toys on carpets and low height 'dings' on walls, peeled paper and children's graffiti).

You still have the fabric of the building to maintain, of course. I, personally, factor in the 'known knowns' and get these works booked in for the best time of year to do them as 'planned maintenance' and I let the tenants know that the work is due and to prepare for it (aka some disruption to their lives).

My 'unplanned maintenance' is response-based, according to the tenants' reporting of it and then followed up asap. What record do you have on your phone or by email that you readily responded to your 'unplanned maintenance' requests? If you dealt with the issues promptly as they arose and kept the tenants informed you're not in the wrong.

You likely need to present your information to the insurer in a clearer format to achieve a better response from them.

Document the tenancy history (bullet points should do it), then separate the maintenance issues into what was or would have been 'planned' (which you can now date as completed) and the 'unplanned' that you responded to (give dates of the reporting and of the completion).

In summary, I would say that if you can present your information factually to your insurers with the history of the tenancy and any general maintenance done since the start - plus a tenant request record and your response to it with supporting documentation - I think you would fare better.

It all hangs on the quality and quantity of your record keeping, Helen. If you went to court on your own, you'd need all of this and more. If you don't have it, forget about that being a route - it won't work.

Please post again with whatever happens next.

Lord

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CMS View Profile

14:40 PM, 23rd July 2022, About 4 weeks ago

Hi Helen, if there has been disrepair (supported by the Council) then you usually cannot serve a section 21 for 6 months after repairs. After this you can serve it but the tenants could still claim the defence that its revenge although its less likely to be successful.

If you need help with this I can help you just drop me a message. The insurance company should be willing to help you if you're covered but they may be concerned about having to help if the tenant does defend the claim because of the 'revenge eviction'. Message me if you want a chat.

Best,

Charles

Paul Shears

21:25 PM, 23rd July 2022, About 4 weeks ago

Re: "the insurance has wriggled out of perusing my claim by evaluating that there isn’t a more than 51% chance of winning".
All, please be aware that this is yet another corporate scam that countless companies use.
It is certainly NOT just things relating to landlords.
I had he same experience with a disability discrimination claim.
The outsourced legal, so called, insurance took a fee to assess the matter which was very black and white in my favour and had massive amount of indisputable supporting evidence and witnesses.
But the low grade bean counter just fed some data into an algorithm and the computer said "No".
No explanation for the assessment could be provided.
You can flog this to death and it will just suck the life out of you.
They will be trying to sell you even more insurance to cover the insurance deficiencies next which, in turn, will also not deliver the service that you have paid for.
You will certainly NOT get a detailed statement of exactly what you can expect to get in return for your money.

Smiffy View Profile

20:47 PM, 24th July 2022, About 3 weeks ago

The only experience I have of legal insurance is in relation to a car accident.

Without going into detail, it is a SCAM, a con that should be outlawed or at least regulated. I will NEVER pay or use one again. I dare say it is the same bunch of crooks offering landlords legal cover.

Malcolm Norquoy

7:09 AM, 25th July 2022, About 3 weeks ago

I am going through a similar process now. Belvoir Portsmouth did not perform as per contract, not visiting the property, not verifying repairs requested as to need and liability and refused to several times. They sold me landlord insurance from Let Alliance. I served a section 21 on the tenant due to having to sell the property. They then stopped paying rent, claimed thr house was in disrepair and now Belvoir and the insurer have teamed to stop the claim. Much of the alleged repairs are not my responsibility or needed to live. All stemmed from no house visit and not performing to contract. Quite normal for Belvoir Portsmouth. I'll go through the repairs needed and the Section 21 to continue. Maybe insurance will pay, maybe it won't. I have a safety net fir recovering all costs, loss of earnings and damages. See below.

I will be taking legal action against Belvoir should there be any loss of earnings or other losses as a result of them not doing as was contracted and now creating the current mess.

Don't be bullied by management and lettings agents. Or insurers. Get your facts and emails etc together. Take legal action. I have done so now against agents and freeholders and won all 10 cases. It does take time and money and some courage but once you've done it once, you'll wonder why you put with so much cr&p before!

Chris @ Possession Friend

10:11 AM, 25th July 2022, About 3 weeks ago

Helen,
You need bespoke detailed advice ( which we give, initially, free )

Paul Shears

10:15 AM, 25th July 2022, About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Malcolm Norquoy at 25/07/2022 - 07:09
Sincere respect Sir.
But after four decades of displaying the same tenacity, and winning, I just burnt out. I hope you fare better than I.

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