Tragic accident a timely reminder for landlords

February 4, 2013

Landlord Information

A BBC News report* has covered an appallingly unfortunate accident in a residential property providing accommodation and care for people with severe learning difficulties.

The details make extremely unpleasant reading and there seems little point in going into the detail here, however, it was a terrible yet avoidable accident. One can only hope that the person involved makes a full recovery.

Of course, the important point arising out of this story relates to the injuries suffered by the individual and the practical steps that landlords can take to more or less ensure that these types of accidents do not happen.  Obviously, for everybody, safety must be the primary concern – as must the lessons associated with improving it.

Yet there is a secondary point here that any landlord needs to be aware of and that relates to landlords’ insurance, safety and third party liability.

Setting out to find exclusively cheap insurance for landlords might be a serious mistake.  Inevitably, what is cheap for one landlord might not prove to be so for you in the longer term and price is not necessarily any guide whatsoever to the quality and depth of the cover provided by a policy.

Why might that be relevant?

In the case of the accident covered in the report, a court has held a number of parties accountable and some very substantial fines have been levied.  It is worth noting that, as the report makes clear, there is in fact no legal requirement for the safety device mentioned to be fitted at the present time.

Nevertheless, the landlords and care providers have been held legally liable for the accident and its associated human and financial consequences.

This should indicate that the sometimes-encountered belief, that you can only be held liable for third party injuries if you have failed to meet an existing legal safety requirement, is deeply mistaken.

That is why it is particularly important that you take the time and trouble to be sure that you have third party liability cover that is sufficient for your particular business situation.  It might prove to be far more important to you than saving a relatively small sum of money on what appears to be a lower-cost premium with another policy.

The legal requirements covering your responsibilities as a landlord are, of course, extremely important.  If you fail to comply with such requirements, you may be putting your insurance cover at risk.

Even so, this report indicates that you must think rather more broadly than simply in terms of what the law requires as a minimum – and that might be something that should play a significant part in influencing your selection of appropriate landlords’ insurance.





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