Bad Experience - How to safely move forward?

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    Bad Experience - How to safely move forward?

    Q1 – Islington, London, England.
    Q2 – Sole tenant
    Q3 – 01/02/2016
    Q4 – 12mo
    Q5 – pcm 27th
    Q6 – Tenant absconded. Was found by police. Turned out details were an identity theft.
    Q7 – n/a
    Q8 – no

    I am a leaseholder of a two-bedroom flat which is currently unoccupied, but wish to let it.

    So far we've had two sets of tenants.
    The first were a family who moved in, stayed 3 years, paid reasonably on time, and left with ease.
    The second turned the flat into a marijuana farm, which caused an electrical fault and burned the flat out.

    The latter caused £40,000+ of damage. Purpose built flats are not built to be farms. Every piece of metal was corroded, the floors were destroyed - the power was completely destroyed. Basically everything.

    It was traumatic. I got buildings cover, for it because there was a fire and because there was no policy exclusion regarding the cause of fire, but it's been a 24 month ball-ache to get all the repairs and lost rental paid for.

    The loss adjuster said that letting agency verification is often minimal, as they don't pick up the tab when this happens, and they just want to make a quick buck. So this was our experience here.

    I lost about £15,000 in contents not covered by building insurance (lighting, white goods, boiler, fittings, beds, etc), because I was not covered for criminal damage caused by the tenant even though I tried to argue that as soon as the tenant had committed crime on-site they were no longer abiding by their tenancy agreement and therefore were no longer tenants. Buildings insurance comes as standard with the flat's service charges, however it doesn't cover criminal damage by a tenant - so I was weirdly 'lucky' that there was a fire.

    So - what now? I need the income. I've found it pretty hard to find contents insurance that covers £50,000 of criminal damage. Those that even mention dope farms tend to have a ceiling somewhere around £10,000 which is a pittance against the cost.

    What I need to know is (a) how to find an agency that will take the sting out of letting without absorbing most of the income. (b) how to make sure that there's some cover in place to prevent the huge costs of criminal damage.

    I've got a full time job as a company director. Is it worth having an agency manage the letting for me, or should I go for 'introduction only' - and just how can I trust that the introduction is worth the 5% or whatever it will cost me?

    I have also heard of similar problems with tenants just literally trashing an entire flat, floors, windows, electricity, gas, central heating, everything wiped out. 'Just for fun'.

    Any advice / encouragement (which is not an advert) would be really welcome.
    Thanks for reading!
    Last edited by Konchog; 19-02-2017, 16:04 PM. Reason: Adding in 'required info'

    You're stuffed & lost your income for now.
    'Fully managed' offers you no protection from MA.
    We expect 'required info' to be answered in full and in required order. Failure to do so may reflect your attitude to Letting.


      Hi mariner
      I've added the required info. Thanks for informing me.

      I know that, regarding the farmer, there's no way of recovering anything more than I have done.
      But is there any way of preventing the entire thing from happening again?


        If you don't want to take an active role in the management, you need to ensure your agent makes frequent inspections.
        But, to be honest, what are the chances of the same thing happening again?
        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).


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