The guest of a tenant who fell down some stairs has resulted in a claim against a landlord that could easily reach over £1m and possibly run into several millions.
The landlord in question was, fortunately, covered by public liability insurance.
The claim is an ongoing case being handled by Total Landlord Insurance.
The guest who fell claims that the stairs were ‘not fit for purpose’. Because the victim is a young person, the compensation – if the landlord is found liable – is for a significant sum to cover ongoing care and loss of earnings.
Total Landlord Insurance says that the case is a stark reminder to landlords of the need for adequate insurance cover.
In the last two years, public liability claims received by the firm have reached an estimated £1.7m.
The firm says these claims are the result of slips, trips and falls by tenants that have happened at a property where the landlord is found responsible, and although often unavoidable, without insurance protection such incidents can prove extremely costly for landlords.
In the case mentioned, the landlord is not only covered for any damages which might be awarded to the claimant but also the legal costs of defending the claim and the claimants’ legal costs if the landlord is found at fault. Legal fees alone in this case are expected to cost hundreds of thousands.
Eddie Hooker, CEO of Total Landlord Insurance, said: “This is a particularly extreme case, but without insurance, this landlord would have been responsible for all costs associated with this incident. Not only could he have risked losing his buy-to-let investment, but his own home too in order to cover the costs in defending his case.
“Many landlords have very little idea of the level of their property insurance, but this should serve as an eye-opener for anyone who has inadvertently cut corners when is comes to both property maintenance and insurance.”