Accidental Damage – Who is now responsible?
Given the recent news on this in the media in the last 2 weeks – it would appear that we may be prevented from recovering compensation for unintentional damage from residential tenants and hopefully this may be clarified if an appeal is made against this decision.
Unlawful activity carried out by tenants will be the responsibility of the tenant to repair, however, holes in walls, stripping down a motor bike inside the house, or drawing over walls, is not ‘unlawful’ and it would appear that such damage would be the responsibility of the landlord to make good, given that this is damage that the landlord can insure against.
Even if a landlord did not have insurance, this would not mean that the landlord would be responsible. If the damage can be insured against, then the tenant is not responsible.
The decision increases the need for residential landlords to make sure they are insured not just for the property itself but also for tenant damage and we would particularly suggest you check that you are covered for window and glass breakages.
If you read the link we attach, you will see that if it is not considered ‘careless’ to leave cooking unattended on a cooktop, causing a house to burn down, and therefore not the tenant’s fault, you can be sure that any damage caused by tenants in the future will be difficult to prove. As you might expect, the result of this is likely to increase premiums.
We would recommend that all owners check their insurance policies and make sure you are covered for as much as you can.
Time will tell how the Tenancy Tribunal will rule in the future, but it appears, with the case of Holler & Rouse v Osaki & Anor in mind, it is going to be very challenging indeed. Click here to read the full Insurance Appeal Judgement