Tenant caused Fire – Can I sue for damages?

Tenant caused Fire – Can I sue for damages?

0:03 AM, 4th September 2023, About 9 months ago 10

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Hello, I have recently had a house fire caused by a tenant. The fire investigators deemed it was an accident so no malice was involved.
Can I sue the tenant for damages for any costs that I might be liable for that the insurance company may not pay? I don’t know what these may be but just asking.

Normally any damage caused by the tenant will come out of the tenants’ deposit however there is substantial damage caused to the property.

Whilst the insurance will cover costs of repairs etc there may be some things they do not cover (unknowns at the moment) – so the question is am I in my rights to chase the tenant for any out-of-pocket expenses not covered by the insurance?

Has anyone had experience with this?

Thanks,

Landlord X


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Comments

Fergus Wilson

10:02 AM, 4th September 2023, About 9 months ago

In theory Yes but if it was an accident the insurers should pay.

If you have an excess claim from deposit.

Pamthomp33

11:25 AM, 4th September 2023, About 9 months ago

I suspect the insurance company will want you to offset the tenant deposit amount against the claim but unsure whether they would use this as your excess on the policy.

JaSam

11:39 AM, 4th September 2023, About 9 months ago

Firstly it’s sounds like nobody was injured which is thankful. I find the term “sue” a bit strong. That suggests the tenant is refusing to pay a set amount. You can’t actually “sue” until all out of pocket costs are finalised. Best thing to do at this stage would be to verbally explain to the tenant your stance IF any out of pocket expenses occur and see what their reaction is like. Once you have out of pocket expenses then put this in writing to the tenant.

paul kaye

12:16 PM, 4th September 2023, About 9 months ago

I would first find out the total cost.
Then ask the tenant to pay.
If they find it hard,
offer them to pay back at an agreed monthly amount
until paid off.
Remember if you claim on your insurance you will face an excess and increase in your premiums.
ongoing !
Just asking the tenant to pay your excess does not work,because you will have a claim set against your property and all that it entails.
while you should advise the insurers regardless if you claim or not,but if you do not claim (just advise) you should not see a premium increase.

Mike Workman

12:32 PM, 4th September 2023, About 9 months ago

Are you insured for the full cost of rebuilding? I'm afraid if you have insured for the market value, you will probably be underinsured. In this case, the insurer will only pay out a portion of the claim. e.g. If you insured for £80 000, but the rebuild cost is actually £100 000, the insurer will only pay 80% of the claim - the other 20% will be deemed to be 'self-insured'. In this case, I'm afraid you will have to pay and will not be able to claim from the tenant as ilthe fire was accidental. You will only be able to claim the excess.
Hope this helps. The moral of the story is to make sure you are covered for the full rebuilding cost.

Pamthomp33

14:05 PM, 4th September 2023, About 9 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Mike Workman at 04/09/2023 - 12:32
Rebuild cost is less than market value as you still have the land that the property was built on.

paul kaye

14:18 PM, 4th September 2023, About 9 months ago

I keep reading these responses and they are getting out of hand.
It was an accident,even so, the person causing the accident is liable
just get a cost and sort out a payment plan,unless they can pay all now.
It is not fair on a Landlord to pay out for something they did not cause,but nothing stopping you from sorting a plan out.
from my experience,you should tell your insurers about this but make it clear you are not putting in a claim.
If your tenant will not play ball you will have to put a claim in ,but make sure your tenant knows it is not just the excess,but the ongoing higher premiums and damage to your insurance record.

Karl

15:04 PM, 4th September 2023, About 9 months ago

Its the Landlord job to insure the property against fire risk.

Just claim & pay your excess - It was your decision to insure with an excess.

If your future premium goes up - pay it - It was your decison not to protect your no claims discount.

It was an accident, and thats what we have insurance for. Its a risk of being a Landlord.

Mike Workman

15:52 PM, 4th September 2023, About 9 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Pamthomp33 at 04/09/2023 - 14:05
Not always. While this may be true for a detached house, in a row house the demolition and rebuild is very difficult and so costs go up significantly.

Judith Wordsworth

19:40 PM, 4th September 2023, About 9 months ago

Any out of pocket expenses are tax deductible (eg insurance claim excess) so why are you wanting to sue your tenant and create a likely awful landlord/tenant relationship.

Hopefully you are fully insured but, if not, why make your tenant pay for your negligence?

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