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Agent has invalidated my buildings insurance through mismanagement


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My tenant of 5 years recently ended up in hospital for 3 months. My building's insurance stipulates that the property cannot be empty for more than 31 days in a row.  Tenants family informed the agent what had happened, and a family member visited the property occasionally, however no-one was staying there. The agent did not inform me so I could could not make  arrangements with my insurance company or inform them.  In my opinion they have invalidated my buildings insurance and this amounts to gross mismanagement. There was also a very, small fire caused by a faulty oven. If the property had burned down, my insurance company would have grounds not to pay out. I want to terminate my contract with the agent immediately for putting my property at risk. Agent is demanding a £600 exit fee. I asked my tenant to pay me direct whilst I dealt with the fallout.  Agent is now threatening both of us with breach of contract.  The agent is a subsidiary of a large estate agent so have a legal arsenal behind them. Where do I stand and what are my options?

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I'm sure there are a number of options.......here is one:

* Pay the Agents £600 exit fee. Get the new tenancy set up with new Agents and new docs etc......this may take a couple of weeks before everything is sorted. Then when everything is running along nicely and you are 100% sure you have a valid claim against the Agent, make a claim in the small claim court for reimbursement of your £600 due to their breach of contract.

Good luck.

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I have to agree with Richlist. The problem you have is that you are forecasting what may  have happened if your insurance had been invalidated by the 31 day rule by an insurance company. Whether the LA was in breach of contract by not informing you would become the subject of legal argument. Yes, I agree that it would have been better that they had done so but did they have a legal requirement to do so which would lead to a breach of contract by the LA ?

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1.Did you inform the agent at the outset you needed to be informed if the property was empty for longer than xx days and is there a written record of this instruction??.  

2.How soon was the agent informed the tenant was is hospital??

3. Did  the tenant continue to pay the rent on time while in hospital??

4. Have you suffered a loss due to the property being empty??

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