Idiot Tenant Sets Fire To Property- What To Do?

I came across an interesting thread on the Property Tribes forum earlier. A landlord had her property accidently set on fire by her tenant, to the point where it became uninhabitable. Here’s how the landlord explained it:

Yesterday one of my tenants ran out of electric on her meter and rather than topping up the card, has used tealights [approx 40 the fire brigade inform me] in her studio flat to light the way. She had them on carpets, furniture etc and has fallen asleep and has set fire to the flat – it is destroyed and uninhabitable. The rest of the building is smoke damaged and another tenant [flat above] has had to find alternative accomodation last night. Thankfully, everybody is ok.

The tenant has found somewhere to sleep last night – going forwards what are my obligations to the tenant who caused the fire?

Well, fuck me sideways, what a blubbering idiot the tenant must be. The landlord sounds relatively calm, which is quite surprising. Or maybe I’m just an irrational psycho? If I were the Landlord, I wouldn’t rest until I had my tenant’s corpse hanging next to my favourite Burtons suit.

Never to leave flames unattended is like the cornerstone of general life skills. It’s definitely somewhere in the “5 things you should never do” list, which is drilled into us from the day we’re born…

  • Don’t talk with your mouth full
  • Don’t have unprotected sex in Thailand
  • Don’t drink and drive
  • Don’t do drugs
  • DON’T LEAVE A NAKED FLAME UNATTANEDED, YOU IDIOT

I’m right, right?

I’m sure it was an accident, but i’m not sure how forgiving i’d be. I go wobbly when my tenants merely stain the carpets, so i’d probably go in complete meltdown in this situation. My sympathy goes out to the Landlord. I can’t imagine how stressful going through that must be. It almost makes me appreciate the spawn of satan, my ex-tenant, that I had to evict because she was a total scumbag.

I assume shit like this goes down all the time. The question which most interested me is, what rights do a landlord have in this situation? Well, this is what Tessa Shpperson (an English solicitor, and specialist in residential landlord and tenant law), had to say:

I would not refund her rent too quickly (or indeed at all). I assume that you have some sort of clause in the tenancy relating to responsible use. Some tenancies specifically prohibit things like candles. In any event even if candles are not specifically forbidden, the tenant cannot be other than liable to you for the damage done to the property. Hopefully most of your losses will be covered by the insurance, but she will be liable to you for anything not covered (e.g. any excess).

As she is the sole cause of the fire and the fact that she has lost her home, my view is that you are unlikely to owe her any duties as regards re-housing.

It must have been a terrible shock for you, and all due to her stupidity. I don’t think you should let her off too lightly. The insurers also may want to bring a claim against her, so speak to them about this and follow their advice.

So, it seems like the law does work in the Landlord’s favour in this case, which is good news. But i’m not entirely sure if any of that would be enough. I feel i’d need to lash the tenant at least 10 times with a snake skin whip before I start to feel any better. Even then, i’d still feel lousy. Maybe i’d need sexual favours or something… That’s only fair, right? I mean, she did just burn my livelihood down to the ground because SHE’S AN INCOMPETNANT IDIOT. Right.

14 Comments- Join The Conversation...

Guest Avatar
Another Landlord 27th October, 2009 @ 10:01

OMG! I'd absolutely flip out at the tenant I'd actually want to kill them (slowly)!

1
Guest Avatar
sycorax 27th October, 2009 @ 21:51

Ooh yes, hanging would be too good for the SPACTARD. I mean, the clause about fire safety is in assured shorthold tenancy agreements isn't it?
I have spent today at my tenant's flat getting the gas safety checks done. I haven't seen the flat for 5 months - went in after giving he rthe due notice etc, and - FUCK. Imagine a smallish one bed's lounge piled floor to ceiling with 'saved' placcie bags, newspaper, egg cartons...stinks! What are my rights - as far as I know the tenancy agreement did not have a clause stipulating that the tenant was not to be a mad cat lady hoarding bag lady NUT. Her rent is paid on time, she is nice, but clearly has A Problem. No guarantee the next tenant will be any better. Any suggestions from you experienced landlords out there? She has 2 months left to run on the contract but have I missed the time left to offer notice?

2
Guest Avatar
Twattybollocks 28th October, 2009 @ 08:41

Is it not the defininition of mixed feelings - watching your house burn with your scummy tenant inside? On one hand sadness whilst on the other joy unbounded!

TB

3
Guest Avatar
sycorax 28th October, 2009 @ 11:36

Yep, oxymoron. Emphasis on the moron! That poor landlord. I am so freaked by this timely article I am gonna put a new clause in my 'additional contractual obligations' sheet - I slap it on tenants as they sign the ssured shorthold,coz I'm paranoid. It shall read:
'Leaving any candle or tea light unattended is strongly discouraged, and any candle or tea light left burning unattended and/or not in a lantern is prohibited. By signing this additional contract you are agreeing to pay for ANY damages and legal actions incurred by the results of such actions, icluding civil law suits.'
D'you think that covers it?!

4
Guest Avatar
Rick 5th November, 2009 @ 09:46

ha ha ha

5
Guest Avatar
Sam 5th November, 2009 @ 10:24

Just came across your post - and as the actual landlord involved felt I should update you -

1. Yes I'm calm - [it not being my fault helps!]
2. Shit happens [you're dealing with people!]
3. I don't feel the need to strangle the tenant - she has lost all her belongings, had no insurance, has lost her home, and I have heard lately lost her job! [Crikey!]
4. I feel so lucky to have insurance & a nice loss adjustor
5. I still have a bed and a house to sleep in :)

Better to count rainbows than rain clouds :)

Sam

6
Guest Avatar
sycorax 5th November, 2009 @ 19:07

What a nice man! What a fantastically mellow mantra, 'better to count rainbows than rain clouds'- am sure you;re right, and clearly a far more centered dude than I. Has she got family she can stay with? It's like the telly, this isxx

7
Guest Avatar
Hez 10th February, 2010 @ 18:35

you are an psycho. this whole blog site is disgusting. whoever you are, you are an egotistical prick and this site needs taking down. you regularly make references to killing your tenants.....if i were your tenant i would find that slightly worrying. what a creepy landlord.....sits and blogs all day about sick things that he would like to do to his tenants..... you accept their money and let them live in your properties......yet you bad mouth them, call them scum etc. your attitude is disgusting, and its also the attitude that i would expect from a landlord. every single one that i have had the 'pleasure' of meeting has been the same. were you born with a silver spoon in your mouth? are the properties yours or did your rich daddy buy them for you? the landlord sam who has commented here has a lovely attitude. normal, balanced and calm. whoever writes this blog/articles on this site is the epitome of shite, uncaring landlords. do you know what it means to be human? you must have HUMANITY, compassion for other living things. that is what separates animals from humans. you are not a human.

8
Guest Avatar
Twattybollocks 10th February, 2010 @ 19:53

Hey Hez,

read your other posts and I understand that you are a war widow. I am sorry for your loss.

Hez - you really have to get a grip. You seem to have missed the point that this is a fairly tongue in cheek website. OK we do take the piss out of each other - tenants as well as landlords but I think that we all know that the stuff about killing tenants is not real. I really don't think the owner of the site has such psychotic tendancies!

It's a place where you obviously get stuff off your chest - but if it offends you then you can take the initiative and not visit again!

You think all landlords are, from one of your other diatribes, cunts - however we on the otherside see likewise. It's called freedom of expression.

TB

9
Guest Avatar
Sam 10th February, 2010 @ 20:22

TB when I read the above I couldn't believe the same person just a few post earlier had written
"watching your house burn with your scummy tenant inside? On one hand sadness whilst on the other joy unbounded!"

:))))))

I AM only joking :)

10
Guest Avatar
Sam 10th February, 2010 @ 20:23

Tongue firmly in cheek and sneaking out towards my ear...

11
The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 10th February, 2010 @ 20:47

But....I only write like 2 blog posts a week...some times less than that :(

12
Guest Avatar
Debbie 25th October, 2011 @ 10:59

Just come across this email as was looking for guidence due to the fact that my tenant also set fire to my studio flat and it is totally uninhabitable. The fire started in the bathroom due to the tenant leaving a lighted paper in the bath!!!! Seems like she has moved on and left me with all the shit to sort!!! Still trying to sort out insurance etc.

13
Guest Avatar
Sam 11th November, 2014 @ 22:24

Help, my tennant has tried to plumb in a washing machine and has flooded the place as well as the people downstairs, went to find my insurance policy and I have not renewed it for this year so no insurance!!! He had been trying to turn off the water but ended up something burst and firebrigade sent for, dont know what to do??

14

Please leave a comment...

Nobody

Nobody

Landlord

Landlord

Tenant

Tenant

Agent

Agent

Legal

Legal

Buyer

Buyer

Developer

Developer

Enthusiast

Enthusiast


Popular Landlord Categories