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Uninhabitable due to roof - alternative accommodation


TomMunich

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Evening all!

I own a one bedroom flat in the east of England. The flat roof has fallen in due to a build up of water and rendered the property uninhabitable.

It will take at least a month to put right.

Do i have to provide alternative accommodation? For the entire time? This may have to be a b&b or hotel which will be financially crippling.

Can i terminate the AST? Fixed term scheduled to end December 2012.

The tenants seem like lovely people and i dont want to be harsh, but i cannot afford to keep them in a hotel for more than a few days.

Building Insurance may reimburse these costs, but there may be a problem there (separate issue, not for now!)

Many, many thanks,

Tom

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Ok, i think i have the answer to my earlier question:

There is no requirement to provide alternative accommodation on the Landlord in this case. The landlord was not at fault.

The particular AST states only that no rent is due for the time. The tenant may well have a claim under the buildings insurance, but cannot get double recovery, ie. no rent plus costs paid. Same for landlord regarding the insurance - if tenant doesnt pay rent, then landlord may get that from insurance, otherwise not.

The Local Authority do have an obligation to provide such accommodation.

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Does your landlord insurance policy not have cover for tenants alternative accommodation for events such as this?

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Your tenant's will be granted homeless priority provided they are homeless or thretened with homelessness as a result of fire/flood or other disaster. In this case they would be approaching the council under 'other disaster'. The council are under a duty to provide temporary accommodation i.e b & b or non secure tenancy until such time as they have issued their s.184 decision. The cost of the interim accommodation may be more than their weekly rent so their financial position will be important here.

I am not with you in relation to the repair element as this is a flat with communal areas the requirement for notice re a repair is reduced, however you may be able to claim some protection under s.11(2)((B) Landlord and tenant act 1985.

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Mortitia: A flooded uninhabitable property can take much longer than a month to put right. A dryness certificate may be necessary before builders can start repairs. It's not simple - I know!

Buildings Insurance may include terms and allowances for alternative accommodation, either shared (with family or friends) or rented property (e.g. holiday let if for shorter term than 6 month AST).

This topic should have us landlords checking our policies and agreements for such a circumstance!

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This topic should have us landlords checking our policies and agreements for such a circumstance!

Not in my opinion.

Its not like you hear of this type of disaster every day........there are lots of unusual events that I never bother to insure. I guess it depends on your general attitude towards insurance.

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'Scuse me whilst I just polish my landlord's halo. :D

My Insurance policy covers me for tenant's alternative accommodation AND loss of rental income.

I know.....having it.....and successfully claiming for it is a separate issue. :D

PS A lot of insurance companies will load your premium excess if you have any built up felt roofing in your property.

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A contract may be discharged by frustration. A contract may be frustrated where there exists a change in circumstances, after the contract was made, which is not the fault of either of the parties, which renders the contract either impossible to perform or deprives the contract of its commercial purpose. Where a contract is found to be frustrated, each party is discharged from future obligations under the contract and neither party may sue for breach. The allocation of loss is decided by the Law Reform (Frustrated Contracts) Act 1943.

Dont know if this applies to tenancies. Maybe LAW can confirm

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Morning all,

Many thanks for all your answers, very helpful. i have no landlords cover... a lesson perhaps..

I am living 1000miles away but seem to be the project manager anyway! Had hoped another freeholder would take control, but flat roof above my flat, therefore is my problem. the guy upstairs (who is using the flat roof as a terrace, or was at least, is being helpful, but is also an absentee Landlord.

Am sorting quotes and trying to get a team together. Problem is we are share of Freehold, with no managing agency... my letting agents are not able to help, nor is it their job.

At least i am only losing the rent, and am not due for the additional living costs! that is a big relief. are we sure about this??

Work will take a while as probably needs new flat roof (ca. 22sqm) which will need new ceiling, plaster, flat re-decorating etc.

I have offered the tenant to quit the tenancy, but so far they seem to want to wait.

Buildings insurance may cover subsequent loss, even if not an insured peril. ie. roof collapsed due to accumulation of dampness, therefore roof not covered, but subsequent costs are. any experience here anyone?

your help is much appreciated!

Tom

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ok, perfect timing, just as i posted have heard back from lawyer (and on a saturday, that's service!) - tenancy is clear - return of rent to tenant paid for uninhabitable period. no rent to be paid while uninhabitable.

no explicit, implied or statutory term/duty to provide or reimburse for alternative accommodation. tenancy agreement says no rent to be paid - and nothing else - if any extra contractual duty then it would say in that clause. Landlord not in breach of repairing obligation nor at fault for roof collapse.

agreement remains in place. have offered tenant to quit, solicitor agrees is correct approach. looking at likely repair time, tenant should seriously consider ending the tenancy.

did not discuss buildings insurance point, so still very interested in your experience!

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Did not discuss buildings insurance point, so still very interested in your experience!

My jaundiced experience of dealing with insurance companies has been that they will persue every miniscule detail as to why my claim did not qualify for payment. :D

They will not pay for your roof repair.....something that you have already stated that you are aware of BUT watch out for the wriggle clause that because your flat roof was old and in possible dis-repair through lack of inspection and maintenance they feel they "cannot honour the claim" for damage. It depends who your insurance company is really. The insurance loss adjuster will carry out his/her inspection and report back to the company.

I said earlier that nearly ALL insurance companies will require extra premium money now if your property has any flat roof buildings and this is the reason why.

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  • 3 months later...

Just wanted to let you know how this matter finished:

Tenants found alternative accommodation.

Roof eventually got fixed.

Insurance company paid for re-decoration, cleaning up, and loss of rent. Roof itself (correctly) not covered as wear and tear.

Insurance company / loss adjuster gave a faultless and very fair service.

Happy, finally!

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