A recent claim highlights landlord obligations to mitigate further loss.
The consequences of not securing a property could mean a costly lesson for landlords.
A house in inner suburban Sydney was broken in to, after the tenants vacated, and the agent discovered damage to windows, doors and the interior of the property. Despite the incident, the premises were not secured and the insurer was not informed.
Several weeks later, there was another break-in and more damage was discovered. Again, the property was not properly secured.
When the home was broken in to for a third time, squatters lit a fire.
A storm also passed through and, because the windows were not secured, water entered the premises causing new damage to the walls and flooring.
The damage bill escalated from $6,000 to more than $30,000 – and there is a good chance that some of the claim will be rejected by insurers because the owner failed to take reasonable steps to prevent further loss.
If the landlord had taken precautions, it may have protected the property from the storm damage and possibly additional break-ins. Instead, the owner may have to cover much of the repair bill themselves.
It is the policy holders or property managers responsibility to take immediate action to secure property after a loss. Locks, doors or windows may need to be repaired or replaced. Temporary measures, like boarding up doors and windows, are acceptable while repairs are arranged.
It is also important to let the insurance company know as soon as the loss happens and to ask for their help if you are unsure what action to take.
By neglecting obligations, there is a risk of a claim not being fully covered.