What happens if there is a break in at a rented property?
We were recently asked on a valuation “what happens if there is a break in at my property when rented?” It’s a very good question and one which we thought would be good to answer in more detail in our blog.
So, is the landlord expected to replace any stolen belongings? In most cases no- it would be up to the tenant to claim through their contents insurance. Many tenants don’t understand the need for contents insurance but as soon as you explain that not only that their deposit is much more protected but remind them that break in’s do happen they soon understand.
That said, the tenant may have a claim if the landlord has not taken due care with maintaining security such as door locks and maintaining common areas.
In most cases the property will have an element of damage if it gets broken into- this is usually broken windows and locks. The landlord or managing agent will need to inform the police and their house insurers and will be responsible for repairing any damaged windows, doors and locks straight away to make the property secure again. If there is any other damage which isn’t urgent then it would be prudent to communicate likely timescales to your tenants so you are on the same hymn sheet.
There are other considerations regarding liability here. Insurance- the landlord’s policy may cover break in’s, however if it is found to be the landlords or tenants fault then this may not be the case. The Landlord- if the landlord hasn’t fulfilled their obligations e.g. fixed a door or lock then they may have to cover the damages. The Tenant- if they have left a spare key somewhere unsecure or left a door open then they will probably have to cover the damages. Also, if they don’t notify the landlord straight away then this may affect the landlord’s insurance meaning the tenant has to pay.
A few extra considerations for landlords are that break in’s do have quite a significant psychological impact on tenants. If you put yourself in their shoes then you can only imagine the level of insecurity and sometimes violation they may be feeling. If you experience a break in then it would be an opportune time to evaluate the level of security you have provided. Consider whether it would be important to install extra security locks, an alarm, motion sensor lights or maybe even security cameras. If you have a good tenant who is considering leaving following a break in these maybe relatively cheap things to install to keep them happy.
If you’re a landlord with a property to let, please contact our letting team on 0121 445 7410 or email firstname.lastname@example.org who will be delighted to help.