Rented property fire - £42,000 landlord's buildings claim
A tenant complained of condensation in Mr Laughton’s three-bedroomed rented house in Lancashire. On investigation, he discovered that she was using butane gas heaters rather than the central heating. These don’t simply cause condensation: they are also a fire hazard if left unattended. Therefore he banned their use.
Despite visits by the agent to check, the tenant continued to use gas heaters. One evening, with her small children asleep upstairs, the tenant left the house to go to a local shop. While she was out, washing fell on a gas heater and a fire started.
Fortunately the tenant returned in time to get the children out of the house and, with the fire station only next door, the blaze was soon under control. But the downstairs was left uninhabitable and the rest of the house was badly damaged by smoke.
The landlord was now faced with making a significant insurance claim. However he lived 50 miles away from the property: “The practicalities of getting over there so often, to attend meetings and sort the claim out, made it impossible. And I realised there is an art to dealing with insurance people. So I decided that the best thing to do was to bring in a professional.” He therefore turned to Morgan Clark to handle the insurance claim.
Morgan Clark took over the claim and saw it through to a successful conclusion with a settlement of £42,000. According to Mr Laughton, “I was happy with what they did, from the initial visit to the settlement – especially as the final payment was almost double my initial expectations.
“They did everything for me, saved me a lot of aggravation and allowed me to carry on with what I needed to do while the claim was being processed. Using Morgan Clark was one of the best decisions I could have made.”
And Mr Laughton has now included a ban on the use of gas heaters in his rental terms and conditions.