6 monthly inspections when letting to family

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  • 6 monthly inspections when letting to family

    Hi All,

    My wife and I rent our house from my parents, with a view to buying it off them in a couple of years.

    We have contents insurance, and my parents have buildings. On the buildings insurance policy, it states that:

    "It is a warranty of this policy that the property must be inspected every 6 months, internally and
    externally, by you or your representative(s) and maintained according to the minimum standard
    requirements of this policy. Records of these inspections must be kept and made available to us upon
    request."

    Can anyone tell me what is mean by a "representative" in this case? Clearly I can't inspect the house myself as I am the tenant, but could we get a friend to do it and send the records to my parents? Or would an insurance company be likely to object, in the event of us making a claim, that the inspections hadn't been carried out properly?

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    Cheers,

    Luke

  • #2
    I suspect it is a formality, designed more to be enforced in the case of high-risk tenants and I think it's extremely unlikely that the insurance company would ever want to see such reports...but you never know!

    Your parents can inspect it themselves or appoint an agent to do it for them - it can be anyone. If there was an inventory when you moved in, they could just check the state of the building itself inc. fixtures and fittings, and ignore all the contents.
    'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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    • #3
      Not much point asking here - parents should ask insurers, we can't tell you what insurers will or will not accept.

      Parents may have other problems: does mortgage (if any) permit renting to family members - many don't? Does insurance (landlord's I hope) permit renting to relos? Is there a current gas safe certificate? Is rental income (all!) declared to HMRC along with valid expenses?

      Cheers:
      I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

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      • #4
        "theartfullodger" makes some good points. Letting to a family member or friend is very common due to the relationship between the landlord and tenant but it seems that in a lot of these scenarios, the landlord does overlook many situations and does in fact make life slightly harder for themselves.

        Having family/friends in the property means you still have to do all the same things any other landlords would do such as the gas inspection for example.

        From my insurance perspective, there shouldn't be a problem obtaining landlords insurance that are happy with the tenant being family/friends but you would need to declare this situation before taking out a policy. Normal household insurance policies will almost certainly not allow this situation due to the fact the property is not owner occupied.

        You're parents buildings insurance policy is directed at them so when it says "you or your representative(s) must inspect the property every 6 months" it means your parents or someone professional on their behalf. As this is a family situation then your parents are likely to be visiting the property regularly anyway so they just need to make a written record every 6 months that all is in order. Just another one of these things that seems strange in a family/friend situation but must still be done to satisfy insurance/legal/etc requirements.
        Steve Smith - Company Director at a leading Landlord Insurance broker with 17+ years experience in the industry
        LandlordZONE Verified Poster and Topic Expert for Landlords Insurance since 2009
        See my profile for contact details

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        • #5
          Thanks all, for your input. I'm not sure about the details of the BTL mortgage, but I know they have a landlord's insurance policy and that the insurers are aware of the fact that my parents are renting to relatives. We also get a gas cert each year, as this can be done by the company that services our boiler.

          The issue with inspections is that my parents don't live close, and are in their sixties. When we visit, we go to them, rather than vice versa. This is why I wonder if a "representative" could do the inspections instead, and save them the journey.

          Sounds like we'll need to contact the insurance company and find out who would be acceptable to them as a representative of my parents.

          Thanks again for taking the time to reply.

          Luke

          Comment


          • #6
            Yes, only the insurer will be able to define "representative" to you. Obviously if a letting agent was involved then they would carry out these inspections. I'm pretty sure anyone who is acting on behalf of the landlord and is independent from you the tenant would be acceptable to conduct the inspection - the main thing the insurers are looking for is documentary evidence that your parents have been performing the necessary checks.
            Steve Smith - Company Director at a leading Landlord Insurance broker with 17+ years experience in the industry
            LandlordZONE Verified Poster and Topic Expert for Landlords Insurance since 2009
            See my profile for contact details

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