Double dipping landlords on the nose
It seems a number of landlords are guilty of double dipping when it comes to claiming for property damage.
This unethical practice was highlighted by the case of three Melbourne tenants whose landlord insisted on being paid twice for damage to the home.
The tenants had been ordered by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to pay hundreds of dollars out of their bond to cover the cost of repairs.
Imagine their surprise when they were contacted some time later by the landlord’s insurer who told the tenants they were obliged to pay up – again!
While courts like VCAT act to settle most property disputes, some landlords insist on taking funds directly from the tenants and making the same claim on their landlord insurance too.
EBM’s Executive General Manager, RentCover, Sharon Fox-Slater said the practice was unacceptable and shunned by EBM – one of Australia’s leading landlord insurers.
“We would not support landlords acting this way. If you do one you cannot do the other. It’s not only wrong but illegal to double dip and not how the system is supposed to work,” Sharon said.
“Unfortunately some tenants would pay up for a second time without query because they would be worried about affecting their rental history.”
Sharon said in some situations, double dipping happened inadvertently.
“Some landlords can be awarded costs through the court and fail to tell their insurer. The case may take some time to get to court and there could be an insurance claim already in progress."
“Landlords need to be aware that they have a duty of disclosure to tell their insurer if previous payments have been made."
“We would certainly not progress with a second payment if a tenant had already made a payment voluntarily or as a result of a court order.”
Sharon said that most landlords did the right thing and only claimed for damage and losses they would not be able to recover otherwise.
“Landlord insurance is a great product designed to protect property owners from a wide range of potential losses such as unpaid rent, property damage and home repairs.”