Tuesday, 24 November 2015
Disclosing Convictions to Your Landlord
Convictions and your insurance
Insurance contracts are based on the legal doctrine of "the utmost good faith", which means that the applicant is required to disclose all material facts when taking out or renewing an insurance policy. Since many insurers will refuse to provide cover to people with unspent criminal convictions (on a blanket basis), it seems likely that the landlord would not be granted buildings insurance with convictions belonging to one of their tenants as an outstanding issue.
Generally, if you are asked about your unspent criminal convictions by someone that you are entering into a financial arrangement with then there is a good chance that you will have to disclose them. An insurer may require that a landlord asks you about your previous convictions before they will grant the landlord cover, so you shouldn't be surprised if this happens. If you ever feel that you are being treated unfairly because of your criminal convictions, you should seek legal advice about what action to take.
As it stands, landlords and ex-offenders are experiencing difficulties when it comes to insurance and disclosure issues. The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) only goes so far in clearing things up and is often criticised for being drastically outdated. It is very difficult to interpret exactly what is expected from both tenants and landlords when it comes to criminal record disclosure, as it has not always been an issue. One thing is clear though, if your landlord knows about your unspent criminal conviction, they will be required to disclose it to their insurer.
Don't ask, don't tell
Because knowing about a tenant's convictions could create difficulties for the landlord, it seems likely that they would be more inclined to operate a "don't ask / don't tell" policy (if they had the choice). By making it harder for a landlord to take in someone with convictions, it could be said that the current stand-point of many insurance providers is making it harder for ex-offenders to find housing when they come out of prison. It seems clear that more must be done to identify and rectify this problem.
If you or anyone in your household has a criminal conviction, you are likely to have trouble getting house insurance convictions cover. With HomeProtect you can get a competitive quote online for ex-offenders insurance, whether the convictions are your own or someone else's. We work closely with groups like UNLOCK, the National Association of Reformed Offenders, to make sure that criminal convictions insurance is always available to those that need it.