Landlords need to watch out for tenants’ criminal convictions

 

Now criminal convictions of tenants can have serious consequences for a landlord’s insurance cover.

7.3 million people with criminal convictions are present in the UK and many likely to be the tenant population. Undeclared unspent convictions have the potential to be material facts in the assessment of risk resulting in invalidated insurance cover, if the crime has any relevance to the policy risk.

This is because insurance contracts are based on the principle of ‘uberrima fides’ (utmost good faith) on both parties involved in the contract. So the duty of full disclosure lies with the landlord who is the policy holder.

There is lot of uncertainty and confusion among landlords. So, what can we do as landlords? Do we ask the question in the tenancy application form, include a disclosure clause in the tenancy agreement, or just simply ignore it?

Some smart home insurers have an outright policy of not insuring people with unspent criminal convictions; irrespective of the relevance.

I feel this has stirred up quite a hornet’s nest. One has to decide between actively seeking the information from the tenant and thereby getting the insurers remove to the cover or just ignoring the issue.

More clarification is needed from the insurers to prevent landlords being effectively uninsured.

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