Malicious Damage by Tenant

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    Malicious Damage by Tenant

    I'm a landlord by accident it seems, I moved to Canada in 2010, in 2012 my sister and husband then moved my mother out of her house and into a care home, in April 2013 they moved their daughter into her house. The care home needed to be paid so an arrangement was made with the county council that half her fees would be paid upfront from mum's pension and rent payable on her house with the other half to come from her estate. Care home gets in touch with me mid 2014 to say no client contribution fees have been paid for two years. I had to get power of attorney for my mother and have started eviction proceedings, my sister had no intention of asking her daughter to pay rent and because she had my mother's cash card has cleared out her life savings. I took out house insurance which included cover for malicious damage by tenants as, legally I don't think my niece has a leg to stand on so thought she might consider smashing the place up before she goes. If she does though would I be able to claim if no rent agreement is in place? The council were persuaded that one existed but this was just a lie. I presume that if I were to make a claim it may not happen if all my niece has to do if questioned was deny ever living there. Although her name is on the notice to quit and the soon to be issued possession order I wonder if this is enough.

    I doubt it my friend. Is there any chance of you coming back to Blighty to sort this mess out, and get in new tenants?

    Your sister seems to be calling all the shots at the moment, and as long as you are in Canada, I suspect this will continue.


      Start with some basics.

      Who owns the property in question?
      What kind of tenancy agreement exists between the sister/husband and the daughter?
      Are any of these parties the owner of the property?
      Is there a mortgage and, if so, who pays it?
      If your niece denies living at the property, who does claim to live there?
      There is likely to be an agreement in place, even if it is one that is an unspoken verbal agreement!

      Having a cash card is not sufficient grounds to take someone's savings.
      The bank will say so (cards should be kept securely etc) but it's likely to be theft regardless.

      Welcome home, enjoy your visit!
      When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
      Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).


        From an insurance angle, I would have to say you are in massive danger over whether the insurance is valid full stop. As you mention you have "malicious damage by tenant" cover I assume you have taken out a landlords building insurance policy of some description. What did you tell them about the tenancy of the property when they asked the question? If you were completely honest and said that your niece was the tenant but was living there without any lease agreement and not paying any rent and also disclosed (as a material fact even if the question is not asked) that you have started eviction proceedings due to the current situation described above then I would argue that your policy is fully valid including the malicious damage by tenant cover.

        The above is highly unlikely so, from a personal angle, I think you really need to be seeking some immediate legal help. I can only sympathize with your scenario and wish you luck with the outcome.

        P.S. Just to add, if your niece was to "officially" leave the property (if she is "officially" there anyway) then the property would be classed as unoccupied. You can then look for an unoccupied buildings insurance policy that provides cover for malicious damage by people unlawfully allowed in the property. Quite often these policies will require some kind of inspection and precautions made in terms of security, etc so you may well need an agent this side of the pond to help you out.


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