Do you cover malicious damage?

Posted: 4th Jun 2014

Yes we do, though this may make us relatively unusual, as this type of cover may be far from commonplace in landlords’ insurance.

In passing, here are a few tips as to how you might reduce the scope for disputes and misunderstandings relating to breakages of a type that might, sometimes, be incorrectly assumed to be due to malicious damage:

  • make sure you take a full inventory of the contents of your property and describe the condition of each item listed;
  • where realistically possible, support this with a photograph – this should be relatively simple these days with digital photography;
  • make sure that you or your property agent take an accompanied inventory with the tenants prior to them moving in. Ensure that the tenant signs off against the inventory and your description of the condition of the items. Once again where possible, try to get the inventory and the tenant’s signature witnessed by a third party;
  • accept the reality of life that inevitably there will be some minor damage, wear-and-tear, losses and breakages associated with a typical tenancy. When they arise, try to avoid treating every instance as cause for reimbursement and threats to apply for deductions from the deposit. These sorts of minor issues should be written off as a legitimate business cost and business risk;
  • where more significant damage or accidents arise, make sure that you take a photograph of the problem and make your request for reimbursement to the tenant in writing, providing both before and after photos and a copy of the original inventory;
  • stay polite at all times and avoid using inflammatory terms such as Careless, Malicious, Incompetent or Deliberate (etc.) in your communications.

Some of these basic common sense steps may help avoid conflict and recriminations.