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    • Tiglet
    • By Tiglet 7th Mar 18, 9:11 AM
    • 388Posts
    • 275Thanks
    Tiglet
    Kitchen fire
    • #1
    • 7th Mar 18, 9:11 AM
    Kitchen fire 7th Mar 18 at 9:11 AM
    My tenant had a bit of a fire in the kitchen yesterday. A small pan of oil caught fire and she threw water on it, with the expected consequences.

    Fortunately, nobody was hurt, but there's quite a bit of damage to be dealt with. The cooker hood is a mess and there's a lot of smoke damage to the wall units each side of the cooker. There might well turn out to be more damage once I get a chance to see the place (all I've seen so far is a photo the Electrician sent after he checked the place out so the electricity could be turned back on).

    The tenants haven't been living there very long, but I suspect they don't have massive reserves of cash to spend on something like this, so I'm looking for any advice on how to deal with this. In terms of the financial cost of it, I can cover that and claim it from the deposit. But I'm sure there will be other things I'll need to consider regarding making good the damage and making sure everything is working and safe afterwards.

    The power is back on but the cooker has been turned off because the Electrician said it could be "full of water" (I think he means it might be a bit wet inside). I don't know how long it will take to dry out if it is, or how to check this, or whether it simply isn't safe to do that.

    Basically, I'm just looking for any advice here as I've never had to deal with the aftermath of a fire before. Thanks.
Page 1
    • Katapolt
    • By Katapolt 7th Mar 18, 9:17 AM
    • 202 Posts
    • 270 Thanks
    Katapolt
    • #2
    • 7th Mar 18, 9:17 AM
    • #2
    • 7th Mar 18, 9:17 AM
    I would have thought this sort of thing is covered by your landlord insurance? and then i suppose it depends if you penalise the tennants by taking the excess out their deposit or something, that bit i am unsure of
    FTB 2017
    Currently dealing with a Quarter Life Crisis
    • Tiglet
    • By Tiglet 7th Mar 18, 9:30 AM
    • 388 Posts
    • 275 Thanks
    Tiglet
    • #3
    • 7th Mar 18, 9:30 AM
    • #3
    • 7th Mar 18, 9:30 AM
    I haven't got landlord insurance (perhaps I should - that's a consideration for the future). I can afford the cost of sorting it out, but I'm really looking for advice on dealing with the practicalities of it at the moment.
    • DaftyDuck
    • By DaftyDuck 7th Mar 18, 9:31 AM
    • 4,161 Posts
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    DaftyDuck
    • #4
    • 7th Mar 18, 9:31 AM
    • #4
    • 7th Mar 18, 9:31 AM
    My inexpert opinion...

    There will be three sources of damage.... The fire, the water from extinguishing.. the fire, and smoke damage.

    Smoke damage may have travelled far, depending on the size of the fire. It can be cleaned off walls and surfaces quite well, but soft furnishings are more difficult. Sofa, chairs, curtains, carpets.. all may just need a wash, if that, if it wasn't bad...

    The water damage... should really just be to the cooker. Most (!) cookers are built to survive an overboiled pan. If the electrician is known to you and qualified, and says it's OK, it probably is. Check it yourself, carefully!

    Fire damage to units and cooker. Well, the cooker might survive water, but an oil fire might kill it. The units may be bad enough damaged that they'll need replacing... who can tell without inspection. If the floor is lino, that may have been scalded by oil splashed.

    When you go to check, be slow and methodical. Take paper and clipboard, and a camera. Ideally, with the tenant, check everything carefully, and check against the check-in inventory. Agree the damage if you can.

    Before going, check your Landlord Insurance policy. Work out how best to report the issue.

    Fire extinguishers... Fire blankets... They are cheap, particularly the latter. However, they are only any good if the user knows what to do and, as a ll , you should instruct the. The primary instruction should always be to put their personal safety first.... so only engage a fire if they are confident. If they threw water on an oil fire, they need educating....

    Check the smoke alarm system while you are there. Indeed, take along some spare alarms to add, as your tenants may be accident-prone...
    • DaftyDuck
    • By DaftyDuck 7th Mar 18, 9:51 AM
    • 4,161 Posts
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    DaftyDuck
    • #5
    • 7th Mar 18, 9:51 AM
    • #5
    • 7th Mar 18, 9:51 AM
    I know it's a smartarze thing to say now, but you really, really REALLY should have landlord insurance. Really!
    • Tiglet
    • By Tiglet 7th Mar 18, 10:05 AM
    • 388 Posts
    • 275 Thanks
    Tiglet
    • #6
    • 7th Mar 18, 10:05 AM
    • #6
    • 7th Mar 18, 10:05 AM
    Some really good advice there - thanks!

    I don't think the smoke travelled very far. As soon as she threw the water over the pan, I think she just panicked, ran out of the room and shut the door behind her. They haven't been there very long, and they haven't moved their furniture in yet.

    The electrician checked the wiring last night at short notice. I don't think he checked the cooker but just removed the fuse as a precaution. I'll call him today and take his advice about what to do about it. I'm assuming that, as the pan was really small, there wasn't a lot of oil involved, so the cooker might have escaped damage from the oil.

    The floor has dark-coloured ceramic tiles, so I'm hoping they will have escaped relatively unscathed.

    I'm a bit wary of providing a fire extinguisher, as they can sometimes make matters worse if used incorrectly, or on the wrong type of fire, but a fire blanket could be a good idea for the kitchen, as could an extra smoke alarm.
    • MEM62
    • By MEM62 7th Mar 18, 11:31 AM
    • 1,575 Posts
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    MEM62
    • #7
    • 7th Mar 18, 11:31 AM
    • #7
    • 7th Mar 18, 11:31 AM
    No landlord insurance
    Get it sorted - fast.

    Do you have everything else in place? consent to let if mortgaged, gas safety inspection certificate, electrical inspection etc?

    Do it right, no point in taking risks.
    • AlwaysWorking
    • By AlwaysWorking 7th Mar 18, 11:37 AM
    • 569 Posts
    • 827 Thanks
    AlwaysWorking
    • #8
    • 7th Mar 18, 11:37 AM
    • #8
    • 7th Mar 18, 11:37 AM
    No landlord insurance...so if the fire had spread and the house burned down...?! I would get that sorted today.

    Do the tenants have a lease and, if so, what does it say?
    "I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they're right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together." Marilyn Monroe
    • silvercar
    • By silvercar 7th Mar 18, 11:41 AM
    • 37,242 Posts
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    silvercar
    • #9
    • 7th Mar 18, 11:41 AM
    • #9
    • 7th Mar 18, 11:41 AM
    You pay (or claim on your insurance) for damage to the property.

    Your tenants claim on their contents insurance for damage to their contents.

    You claim from your tenants for any damage caused to your property, so that would include the excess if you had insurance.
    • silvercar
    • By silvercar 7th Mar 18, 11:43 AM
    • 37,242 Posts
    • 156,897 Thanks
    silvercar
    No landlord insurance
    Get it sorted - fast.

    Do you have everything else in place? consent to let if mortgaged, gas safety inspection certificate, electrical inspection etc?

    Do it right, no point in taking risks.
    Originally posted by MEM62
    Landlord insurance isn't compulsory.

    If you have a mortgage and it's a house not a flat, your mortgage company would usually insist on you having buildings insurance. That won't cover you for damage caused by tenants unless you have landlord insurance.
    • Smodlet
    • By Smodlet 7th Mar 18, 12:17 PM
    • 3,037 Posts
    • 6,102 Thanks
    Smodlet
    From what I have read on this board, electrical inspections are not usually required except in HMOs but it might well be a good idea to have one now!

    No LL insurance. What if a ceiling collapsed and killed one of your tenants? Don't you think you ought to be covered for when their family sues you? Just an idea.
    What is this life if, sweet wordsmith, we have no time to take the pith?
    Every stew starts with the first onion.
    I took it upon myself to investigate a trifle; it had custard, jelly, soggy sponge things...
    • deannatrois
    • By deannatrois 7th Mar 18, 12:19 PM
    • 5,383 Posts
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    deannatrois
    I had a small fire in my kitchen and absolutely everything had to be wiped down to clean the black coating off. Everything.You couldn't see it was there but when I started cleaning, the cloth was black. It took quite some time to remove the coating. I would hope that is the least your tenant could do. Flash or a vinegar solution is good. A small deep fat fryer (which won't go to too high a temperature costs 20). I really did know someone who had oil in a saucepan, heated it up, fell asleep and her whole kitchen had to be replaced. And it could have been worse as she had two young children, lived in a flat.

    Provide her with a kitchen fire blanket https://www.amazon.co.uk/Blanket-Large-Quick-Unfolding-Loops/dp/B00BM94Y1E/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1520425326&sr=8-1&keywords=kitchen+fire+blanket.

    Get insurance. Unfortunately, some people just have no sense. You need to protect yourself.
    Last edited by deannatrois; 07-03-2018 at 12:23 PM.
    • Smodlet
    • By Smodlet 7th Mar 18, 12:58 PM
    • 3,037 Posts
    • 6,102 Thanks
    Smodlet
    Water on an oil fire. There just are no words, are there? Far from being able to rent, these idiots should not be walking around loose, imo.

    I think I was about nine or ten when my mother told me what to do in the event of such a fire. It was then dinned into us several times in DS lessons from age 13.
    Last edited by Smodlet; 13-03-2018 at 4:30 AM.
    What is this life if, sweet wordsmith, we have no time to take the pith?
    Every stew starts with the first onion.
    I took it upon myself to investigate a trifle; it had custard, jelly, soggy sponge things...
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 7th Mar 18, 1:08 PM
    • 7,691 Posts
    • 7,839 Thanks
    davidmcn
    No LL insurance. What if a ceiling collapsed and killed one of your tenants? Don't you think you ought to be covered for when their family sues you?
    Originally posted by Smodlet
    Is that not likely to be covered under the buildings policy?
    • Mahsroh
    • By Mahsroh 7th Mar 18, 1:10 PM
    • 339 Posts
    • 330 Thanks
    Mahsroh
    Apologies for hijacking this thread, but just talk of insurances got me thinking. I currently have two types on insurance in relation to my rental property:

    1. Building and Contents Insurance - With mortgage provider. Insurers are aware that it's a rental property. "accidental" damage by tenant is covered although malicious damage is not.
    2. Legal Protection Cover (as part of rent guarantee policy) - gives me legal protection in the event of a dispute or a claim from the tenants relating to health and safety issues.

    I think most eventualities are covered within those two, but can anyone think of any instances (aside from the malicious damage) where they may be a "gap" in the policies? I'm now even questioning whether i'd be covered in this scenario where a tenant used water to put out an oil fire! "accidental" and "stupidity" are not two of the same!

    Building and Contents is due to for renewal in May so had considered moving onto an overarching LL insurance policy rather than the normal "buildings insurance"... but wasn't sure it was worth it as I've got legal cover elsewhere? What do you good people thiink?
    • Smodlet
    • By Smodlet 7th Mar 18, 1:45 PM
    • 3,037 Posts
    • 6,102 Thanks
    Smodlet
    Is that not likely to be covered under the buildings policy?
    Originally posted by davidmcn
    Under normal circumstances, I suppose (hope) it would be but am not sure if LLs are considered a separate case or not. I would not want to risk it but don't pretend to be an expert.

    Maybe someone who works in insurance will be along in a bit but just thinking about it logically, the odds of someone visiting my house for a couple of hours and the ceiling falling on them (to use an extreme example) should be very slight compared to its happening to someone who lives there, I would have thought. Given the intelligence of these particular tenants, I would want cast iron insurance for everything under the sun!
    What is this life if, sweet wordsmith, we have no time to take the pith?
    Every stew starts with the first onion.
    I took it upon myself to investigate a trifle; it had custard, jelly, soggy sponge things...
    • MEM62
    • By MEM62 7th Mar 18, 4:12 PM
    • 1,575 Posts
    • 1,196 Thanks
    MEM62
    Landlord insurance isn't compulsory.

    If you have a mortgage and it's a house not a flat, your mortgage company would usually insist on you having buildings insurance. That won't cover you for damage caused by tenants unless you have landlord insurance.
    Originally posted by silvercar
    Compulsory, no. Prudent, absolutely! It's just not worth taking the risk of not having it and if the OP has skimped on that then they may have also neglected some of the other things that they should be organising when letting a property. It is therefore worth encouraging the OP to consider these points as addressing them now is much better than having potential problems and expenses further down the line.
    • Tiglet
    • By Tiglet 8th Mar 18, 12:38 AM
    • 388 Posts
    • 275 Thanks
    Tiglet
    Do the tenants have a lease and, if so, what does it say?
    Originally posted by AlwaysWorking
    No. They have a tenancy agreement.
    • deannatrois
    • By deannatrois 8th Mar 18, 7:22 AM
    • 5,383 Posts
    • 7,559 Thanks
    deannatrois
    I am afraid some people on here use the word lease instead of tenancy agreement. But not sure how relevant the question is anyway lol. It is generally taken as a given that a tenant should repair tenant caused damage. But the OP is aware the tenant probably doesn't have the resources.

    The need for LL insurance has already been mentioned so often the OP is probably saying the words in their sleep lol.
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