Properties become unoccupied for many reasons, and as a Landlord, when your property or land becomes vacant, the increased risk of an insurance claim due to water damage or theft is obvious.
However, a lesser-known threat is your legal obligation and duty of care owed to trespassers.
The very fact that the property is empty increases the risk of a property owners liability claim and is something any Landlord should consider seriously when looking at their unoccupied property insurance.
What is Property Owners Liability?
Property Owners Liability covers your legal liability in terms of both costs and damages for claims made against you by a third party who has suffered an injury or damage to property at your home, land or premises.
For example, a loose tile falls from your roof and hits a passing cyclist or car. The postman slips on a broken paving slab and breaks his leg. As a property owner, you have a duty of care to those that visit or pass-by your property.
Occupiers Liability Act
The Occupiers Liability Act of 1957 dictates that the occupier of a property or structure is liable for the health, safety and welfare of those visiting.
If a visitor is injured or incurs damage to their property due to your negligence or lack of care, then as the “occupier” you could be liable for a compensation claim.
A lack of knowledge is also not an acceptable excuse, the law expects that as a property owner (occupier) you visit your property regularly to ensure that it is safe and others are not at risk of injury.
Unoccupied Property Owners Insurance will include your liability under the Occupiers Act within the Property Owners Liability section of your policy.
Trespassers – Revision to the Occupiers Act 1984
You may also be surprised to learn that the duty of care extends to trespassers or those visiting your premises without your permission.
The Occupiers Act was revised in 1984 to make specific reference to trespassers, with a duty of care established.
While this is not as onerous as your duty to visitors, the act dictates that you should consider the risk and exposure to trespassers and have a responsibility to offer them protection.
For example, you cannot lay traps or place hidden glass which could deliberately injure an intruder.
The issue is particularly prevalent for landowners where the property is exposed and trespassers, such as children, runners or dog walkers, could fall down a hidden ditch or injure themselves in a number of
If you see a risk, you need to take steps to remove it where possible and apply clear signage across all entry points.
Inevitably some trespassers will willingly accept the risk when they trespass on certain types of land, and you will not be liable under the act if it is deemed that you have met your duties as the landowner.
How do I arrange cover for Unoccupied Property Insurance or Liability Insurance?
Insync Insurance has access to specialist unoccupied property insurance policies and cover for blocks of Land.
Typically this can be arranged instantly, and you can compare landlord insurance via our website or by contacting one of our property insurance team on 0330 124 0730.
Book a FREE Landlord Insurance Review
Insync also offers a FREE Landlord Insurance review for single buy-to-let property owners to large property portfolios or blocks of flats. You can book a slot online at a time that suits YOUR diary.