WHAT DOES LANDLORD INSURANCE COVER


The importance for landlords to check the small print on their insurance policy was highlighted last week when a disgruntled tenant left a £12,000 trail of vandalism after a row with his landlord.

The tenant went crazy in an act of 'renter's revenge' after arguing with Landlord Karim Haji about the electricity meter.

The disgruntled tenant tore out wall fittings, kicked down doors and filled the house with garbage before bringing in several stray dogs to run rampage throughout the property, biting and destroying carpets curtains, wallpaper a sofa and chairs.

He also left a mountain of decomposing pots and pans in the kitchen and overturned the fridge.

Landlord, Mr. Haji only found out the extent of the damage when he collected the keys to the £100,000 three bedroom house in Blackpool, Lancashire, and went to prepare it to let.

It was only when then he discovered his landlord insurance would not cover the full cost for the extensive damage because a clause in his policy did not cover damage caused by animals.

'I was absolutely sickened when I opened the door, the smell was bad enough to knock me back before I even saw the state of it,' said Mr. Haji.

'I’ve estimated it will cost me around £12,000 to put right after what this person has done. The house used to be immaculate - I had the entire property redecorated before he moved in, I even re-papered the walls and had carpets re-fitted.

'I just want tax payers to see how their money is being spent, because he was a DSS tenant. Hard-earned money is being spent on these people, who don’t want to get a job or better their lives.

'I can’t even call people like him animals - they are the dregs of society who don’t give a damn. These people who sleep all day and drink all night - they have had absolutely no respect.'

'Landlords have all these strict rules and regulations to adhere to and have to spend money upgrading our properties, yet we get nothing in return.

'There is no safeguard for us when tenants behave like this; all we get is headaches and hassle.

'I’m so bitter about that - the government needs to do something. It’s a tough time, we just want to break even and with the banks not lending and insurance companies tightening their belt, it is us who pay the price at the end of the day.'

The tenant moved into one of Mr. Haji’s six properties last year, problems began within a month when the landlord discovered he was falsifying his electricity meter.

Mr. Haji said: 'The man was unemployed and at first he seemed like a nice gentleman. I saw him quite regularly before he rented from me because he was friends with my neighbour and would often visit. He seemed like a decent chap.

'The rent was paid directly through the council - it was £65 a week. But then my neighbour told me he was by-passing the electricity and I wasn’t happy about that, so I went round to check it out.

'I knocked on the door and when he invited me in the place was immaculate - he had taken care of it.

'I made up I was checking if he had any of my mail, so I went to check in the electricity cupboard because that’s where the letters were kept, on top of the box.

'What I heard was true - he had by-passed the wires. I told him this was not right and I wasn’t happy about it.

'His excuse was that he was trying to save money to buy a car but I told him to put it back or I would be calling the electricity board. We all have money to save but we all have to pay bills - it was unacceptable.'

Mr. Haji visited the following week to discover the tenant had not taken his advice - so he contacted the electricity board.

'I made arrangements for them to go round and deal with it. I called a week later and was told they had been round twice but there was no reply. They managed to get in a third try and switched it off.'

In the summer, Mr. Haji let himself into the locked property and was knocked back by an unbearable stench of urine and excrement.

He added: 'The smell knocked me out and it would still knock you out today - I can’t get rid of it. The smell of urine was everywhere and dog mess was strewn all over the carpets.

'Dog mess was everywhere - it looked like they could have been breeding them because there was a large make-shift cot in the middle of the room which could have fitted around seven dogs.

'The house had been destroyed top to bottom - the curtains and furniture had been chewed, the carpets had been ripped up, wall paper had been torn off and the doors were kicked in.'

'Racist graffiti directed at me were written with marker on the walls and doors. His girlfriend, who I refused tenancy, was obviously living there too. There was also sorts of female sanitary products littered everywhere. It was so disgusting I was almost physically sick.

'The insurance said any damage caused by dogs cannot be covered - but a dog cannot kick in a door. I’m absolutely devastated; this has obviously set me back financially.'

Lancashire Police said a 29-year-old man had been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and theft and had been bailed pending further inquiries.
A spokesman said: 'The house was left in considerable disarray and racist graffiti had been written on a wall and a door in black marker pen. Inquiries are continuing.'

Blackpool Council said the rental was a private agreement and had not involved the authority.



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