Any damage to your property is a big problem as a landlord and can lead to insurance claims. There are two main caused of damage, malicious or accidental. It is, therefore, important to know the differences between the two in order to get the right cover from your insurer. Not having adequate cover can leave you with a nasty bill.
What is malicious damage?
Malicious damage is damage caused by either your tenant or their guests intentionally to the rented property. This covers anyone who is lawfully allowed to be on your property.
Malicious damage could include smashed windows, doors or furniture, arson in the property, and graffiti on property walls or furniture.
For malicious damage to be covered by an insurer you must be able to prove that the damage was caused with intent and that it’s been reported to the police. This means you’ll need to provide a crime reference number and police station details.
What is accidental damage?
Accidents can happen. Accidental damage is unintentional and usually occurs suddenly, and can include physical damage and/or loss of function.
Accidental damage could include a ball being kicked through the window, a nail hammered through a water pipe, or falling through the ceiling when in the attic.
There are certain exclusions not usually covered by accidental damage, these include:
- Fair wear and tear
- Pet damage
- Defective design or workmanship
- Contents damage
- Damage caused by building works
Can you claim from a deposit for damages in the property?
It is not only insurance cover that you need to be aware of when malicious or accidental damage occurs in a property.
If your property is not returned in the same condition as that at the beginning of the tenancy, and there is evidence of malicious or accidental damage, then you may be entitled to make deductions from the tenant’s deposit. These deductions should always be fair and reasonable and you must allow for fair wear and tear in the property which does not qualify for a deduction of the deposit.
In mydeposits experience, cleaning, damage and redecoration are the most common causes of dispute between a tenant and landlord.
Who is liable for the damage?
Even though malicious and accidental damage to your building has been caused by tenants it will fall to you, the landlord, to pay for any repairs. It is, therefore, vital you have comprehensive insurance cover.
Associate director at Total Landlord Insurance, Steve Barnes, explains the importance of having malicious and accidental damage cover included within your policy.
“Whilst your deposit could cover some of the damage in the event of malicious damage by the tenant or their guests, the likelihood is that the damage will be several times the deposit you have taken.