Tenant is an Offshore Worker

by Readers Question

13:53 PM, 6th June 2016
About 2 years ago

Tenant is an Offshore Worker

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Tenant is an Offshore Worker

I was wondering if anyone else was in a similar position to myself. My tenant is an offshore worker who is away for 4 weeks at a time. However recently due to changing work commitments the number of weeks is increasing.offshore worker

My insurance states the property shouldn’t be empty any more than 60 consecutive days however I have been contact by my tenant that he is stuck offshore and it will be 80-100 days before he is able to return.

As far as I am aware no one else has access to the property other than the tenant. I am very much aware I can’t access it, I have no intention to and I do not think my tenant would be keen for me to do so.

However, I am now wondering, going forward how best to handle this situation as he is a good long standing tenant and I don’t wish to end the tenancy.

Any thoughts or advice? Some others must be in a similar position?

Thanks

Martin



Comments

Neil Patterson

13:55 PM, 6th June 2016
About 2 years ago

Hi Martin,

I will get Jason our insurance expert to comment for you 🙂

Jason McClean

14:54 PM, 6th June 2016
About 2 years ago

Hi Martin

I think you should speak with your insurer and ask them to extend the period of vacancy from 60 to 100 days as your tenant is offshore working at various times.

It will in effect become a pseudo unoccupied property policy with landlord cover included.

It is likely to increase the cost of the policy as that is 3-months+ vacancy they are insuring. You may want to talk to your tenant about covering the cost of that increase via rent, which I think would be reasonable.

Give the 118 Insurance scheme a try once you have spoken with your insurer, they may be able to save you money on the policy change by supplying a new policy at a lower rate bespoke to what you need.

Best

Jason

Mandy Thomson

16:22 PM, 6th June 2016
About 2 years ago

One option might be a house guardian to house sit. Aside from that, many ASTs carry a standard clause allowing the landlord access to keep an eye on the property after it has been empty for some time (I believe it's 14 days).

One of my long term tenants is going travelling for 3 months. I don't normally hold a key but he's said he is happy for me to, and in fact would like me to watch the place while he's away.

Another option (for your tenant) could be a lodger (with the right lodger, he knows his place is being taken care of and he's making a bit of money). As the property would still be his main home, he would still retain his resident landlord status. However, both you and he would need to be especially careful about selecting the lodger for obvious reasons. If the property only has sleeping space for one person or a couple, your tenant could get someone who wasn't going to be there at the same time as him.

Jason McClean

16:41 PM, 6th June 2016
About 2 years ago

Hi Mandy

Bringing in a lodger is sub letting and the insurers will not permit without a new policy strictly to cover that. We can do those policies but they are 3x the cost typically of standard landlord insurance.

Simply monitoring and looking out for the property is not good enough, it is the residency of the property that is important, so unoccupied insurance I think is the best option that will not invalidate insurance.

Martin M

17:18 PM, 6th June 2016
About 2 years ago

Hi,
Thanks for the replies so far. It is worth adding that the tenant cannot easily get someone to check the property on his behalf which is part of the difficulty otherwise the timeframe wouldn't be an issue. From reading insurance policies they usually state all unoccupied properties should have services switched off and heating drained down whilst being checked every 7 days. This is fine if the property is vacant and unoccupied but let and unoccupied is slightly different. My first stop will be the insurance company and I will let update how I get on.
Thanks

Mandy Thomson

17:36 PM, 6th June 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Jason McClean" at "06/06/2016 - 16:41":

Hi Jason

A lodger may be regarded as a subtenant from an insurance perspective, but legally (most) lodgers in England and most other countries (but not Scotland and Northern Ireland) are regarded as licensees, not tenants because they simply have permission to use the property, but not any right of exclusive possession over it, unlike a tenant.

Jason McClean

18:04 PM, 6th June 2016
About 2 years ago

Hi Mandy

It's not the sort of argument you want with an insurance claims handler if the property burns down and a big claim is being refused. The fact is the AST is with the tenant and that is the meaningful contract for the insurer. Lodgers and sub lets are not accepted (no ASTs) and insurance will be refused in most cases.

Martin M

9:58 AM, 7th June 2016
About 2 years ago

Hi all,
I phoned my insurance company and they advised that the property must be inspected every 7 days after the 60 day period has expired. I did explain the predicament however they advised failure to do so mean the policy was null and void. There is no additional premium for this long unoccupied period provided someone carried out weekly checks. I am contacting the tenant to hopefully arrange for a friend / family friend to check the property. It's not really an ideal solution though.
Any other thoughts or suggestions are welcomed.
Thanks

Martin M

10:24 AM, 7th June 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Jason McClean" at "06/06/2016 - 14:54":

Hi Jason,
Is there a phone number I could call for the Property 118 insurance? I filled out the online quote form however it doesn't let me go into the specifics of the property being empty for 100 days.
Thanks
Martin

Neil Patterson

10:36 AM, 7th June 2016
About 2 years ago

Hi Martin,

If you filled in the quote form they will call you 🙂

If not give us a chase on 01603 489118.

Many thanks

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