NOTE OF CAUTION TO LANDLORDS INSURING LET RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY
The court of Appeal has recently found that, when insuring let residential property, a landlord was not acting as a consumer.
Despite the fact that the policy was designed for let property, the insured claimed that it was a temporary let and that he had entered into the policy for the private purpose of protecting his home against risks such as fire, which was not a business purpose.
The court’s conclusion was based on the principles under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 (SI 1999/2083) which note that where a contract is entered into for mixed purposes, it can only be a consumer contract if the business purpose is “negligible or insignificant”. In this case, the insurance application itself made it clear that this was for a residential property; the purpose of the insurance was therefore related to the insured’s trade, business or profession of property letting.
Matthew Howat, Commercial Partner, comments: It would be a challenge for the insured in this case to demonstrate that the business purposes were “negligible or insignificant” if the policy was taken out for both private and business purposes (that is, for the business of owning buy-to-let property). Landlords should be clear on the main purpose for taking out insurance from the outset.
Howat Avraam Solicitors provide Commercial, Employment, Property and Contract Dispute advice to companies, business owners and individuals. As business owners ourselves, we have a pragmatic in-house approach to resolving issues before they arise by working alongside our clients, often on monthly retainers. We are commercial, practical and entrepreneurial in our approach to legal services.
To discuss any commercial or legal matter on a no obligation basis, please contact Matthew Howat, Company and Disputes Partner, on 020 3735 6700 or email Matthew at Matthew.Howat@hasolicitors.co.uk. Alternatively, visit our website at www.howatavraamsolicitors.co.uk.
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