Revealed: the most common ways tenants cause accidental damage

Revealed: the most common ways tenants cause accidental damage

Landlords who can’t decide whether to stump up for accidental damage insurance might want to have a rethink after a new survey has revealed the most common ways tenants damage their properties – and how much it can cost to repair.

A study by Total Landlord Insurance (TLI) investigating property damage caused by tenants has revealed that the most common incidents are flooding due to leaving the bath taps on, dropping the shower head and cracking shower trays, spillages on walls and carpets – with red wine being the worst culprit – and damage caused by children.

Landlords who had accidental damage cover through TLI claimed an average of £759 to repair and resolve damage caused by tenants after they moved out, while the biggest claim ever made was for a huge £19,000.

Keep hold of invoices

This instance involved severe flood damage after taps were left running for a full day in an upstairs bathroom, leaving water to leak through into the walls, floors, ceiling, kitchen appliances and other fixtures, which all needed to be replaced. As the tenant could not live in the property during the renovations, loss of rent was also paid.

Eddie Hooker, CEO of Total Landlord Insurance, advised: “Buildings and contents insurance needs to be based on rebuild or replacement values. Landlords should base their contents insurance on the cost of replacing all household contents, including all furniture and appliances provided to tenants such as fridge/freezer, television and sofa.

“Landlords should be mindful they need to be as accurate as possible to ensure they have sufficient cover, and if you have a new kitchen fitted, for example, keep hold of the invoices so you can prove its value in the event something gets damaged.”

Who is responsible for accidental damage?

According to the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, damage caused to a property by either the tenant or visitors – such as friends or family – of the tenant must be reported to the landlord, and any repairs or replacements must be paid for by the tenant.

Housing charity Shelter advises that those in private rented accommodation should use their inventory to record details of any damage that is repaired with the landlord’s agreement to avoid issues at the end of the tenancy. If the tenant leaves the property without repairing any damage they have caused – not including wear and tear caused by day-to-day living – the landlord could deduct money from the security deposit to pay for it.

Exceptions include damage that is caused by neighbours or due to crime, both of which are liable to be paid for by the landlord. This could include, for example, a neighbouring property causing flood damage to your property, or windows broken by a burglar or vandalism.

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