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Question

England | Insurance (England) | Pre-tenancy (England)

Insurance qualifying questions

12 Mar 2021 | 2 comments

I am exploring property insurance (both homeowners and landlords for lodgers & tenants respectively) and am addressing the qualifying questions (bankruptcy, CCJ, convictions or insurance rejected/ declined etc).  I know that the first two are covered in the Guild’s application for accommodation but can’t locate reference to the others.  Are they covered elsewhere? Any plans for them to be incorporated?  Any reason why landlords cannot add an attachment to the contract asking these questions?
As insurers appear to require all occupants to meet these criteria, what happens if tenants/ lodgers lie or cannot – Presumably insurance for the property will be void even if the landlord acted in good faith?   Of course the potential implications could be disastrous in the event a claim was necessary.

Answer

2 Comments

  1. guildy

    In respect of criminal convictions, we did used to ask that question and had a separate “criminal record declaration” for tenants to sign a long time ago.

    However, since GDPR came into being, criminal record data is effectively impossible to hold anymore unless you’re a specified institution with good reason to hold the data (such as police, schools etc.) A landlord is not a specified institution.

    As such, although we have no objection to asking the question, the problem is there’s no easy way to store the answer.

    All landlords have to be registered with the Information Commissioner but even when registered, there’s no way to store the special category of criminal offence data under the registration.

    Because of this, we withdrew the question so landlords don’t inadvertently breach data protection rules.

    In respect of the insurance question, we only like to ask questions that may affect the outcome (for example, you will note we don’t ask whether the applicant is male or female because the answer is irrelevant and wouldn’t affect the outcome).

    Similarly, we’ve never even considered asking whether insurance has been rejected or not. We’ve never heard of that being a requirement for anything to do with renting a property? Fair enough, if the tenant is applying for insurance, then it’s a fair question but, we’re not. We’re considering renting them a property and mostly all that’s relevant is affordability? We’ve also never heard of it being a requirement for a rent guarantee policy because it’s still the landlord obtaining the insurance – just based on the tenants affordability.

    If the tenant had been refused car insurance in the past for example, we don’t see how that’s relevant or necessary information to determine whether to grant them a tenancy or not.

    If you have seen a policy which requires the landlord to ask their tenant if they have been refused insurance in the past, we’d be interested to see it. On that basis it’s something we would consider putting in the form because it’s not greatly sensitive data to hold (it’s comparable to the adverse credit question).

  2. bdixon

    Many thanks for – as always – detailed & well informed response. I have been using comparison sites for the property (householder) insurance separate to the landlord insurances so perhaps this explains why you haven’t come across it. The standard question is “have you or anyone in your household…..”. As I have one property with lodgers and plan to retain it for the foreseeable, it got me thinking about what would happen were lodgers/ tenants to lie about such matters. I enquired of the broker however they were unable to offer any answers. I will pop you over a couple of screen shot pics anyway. Thanks again

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