A stomach-churning article in the Daily Mail this week reports how a tenant left a rental flat in a disgusting state after the landlord failed to check on the property for ten years.
Landlord Graham Holland and his wife Nicole, from Maidstone in Kent, said it took them four days to clear the “thousands” of beer cans, food wrappers and cigarette packets in the property in Sittingbourne (also in Kent). They also had to pay around £10,000 to repair the damage done to the one bedroom flat.
Speaking to the Mail about the tenant and why he hadn’t entered the flat for the last decade, Mr. Holland explained: “He soon became very hard to get hold of and when the letting agent wanted to view the flat he was not very willing … but we didn't bother chasing him because he always paid his rent on time”.
Commenting on the story, Steve Bradley, MD from property insurance specialists UKinsuranceNET said: “What happened to Mr. Holland and his wife is horrible - they have my sympathy. What landlords should be aware of, however, is that typically, as a term of their landlord insurance policy, a regular check does need to be made on the property.
“This is not only to check that the property is being well-maintained, but also to make sure no illegal activities are going on there (such as cannabis farms).
“Generally, insurers require that an occupied rental property is visited at least every 6 months, whilst an unoccupied property should be inspected every 14 or 30 days dependant on the insurer.
“Had Mr. Holland tried to claim on his landlord insurance for any of the damage caused by his tenant, it is likely that his claim would be rejected, as he failed to regularly check his property”.
Mr. Bradley urges all landlords to be aware of their responsibilities under their property insurance contract to make sure they don’t invalidate their cover.