Uninhabitable Homes07 August 2012
At a time when discrimination in almost all other forms is outlawed and enforced with ferocious severity, discrimination against the most vulnerable is allowed to continue with alarming impunity.
Uninhabitable homes and how to deal with them
You will no doubt already be aware that if you are a landlord, you are obliged to provide a property that is in reasonably habitable condition. But if a property becomes wholly or partially uninhabitable during a tenant's occupation due to unforeseen circumstances, then there may be a number of factors that need to be considered.
Tenancy agreement clauses
In most tenancy agreements, there should preferably be a clause that states rent (either in part or in full) is not payable in the event that a property becomes wholly or partially uninhabitable (unless the circumstances have been caused by the tenant themselves). Ideally, a tenancy agreement will also contain a clause that will allow either party to terminate the agreement at short notice should it continue to be uninhabitable for an extended period of time.
Is the landord responsible?
It is not always clear as to whether a landlord will be responsible for re-housing their tenant or not and there is no strict legal precedent to clarify the position. One standpoint shows the landlord having responsibility for accommodating their tenant as long as the tenant is still paying rent (and is up to date with the payments).
Force majeure or acts of God
On the other hand, a landlord should not be held liable for "force majeure" (or "act of God"), so in an event like a flood there is no guaranteed outcome for either party. Generally, it might be best for the landlord to offer to arrange re-housing (while the rent is being paid satisfactorily) or offer to allow the tenants to surrender their tenancy. In any case, you will need to consider the options on the merits of your case; including considering your landlords insurance and the availability of other property.
In some cases, you might be able to claim on your landlord house insurance to help re-house your tenants or cover the lost rental revenue from a period where the property is not suitable for habitation. At the very least, you should be able to use your landlord home insurance to get a repairable problem fixed and should claim as soon as you become aware of the damage.
Landlord contents insurance and landlord house insurance might be harder to come by if you have had to claim in the past, but previous claims are not a problem when you come to homeprotect. With homeprotect landlords insurance is available to anyone who needs it, regardless of their personal circumstances or the circumstances of their property.
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