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HomeProperty InsuranceA Guide To Landlord Insurance & Unspent Criminal Convictions

A Guide To Landlord Insurance & Unspent Criminal Convictions

There are an estimated 735,652 people with unspent convictions in England & Wales, according to figures from Unlock, the national charity for people with criminal convictions.

Most people are familiar with the fact that unspent convictions can be contentious when applying for jobs.

In fact, they’re displayed on every level of Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check and must be disclosed if an employer asks about them.

However, unspent convictions can also be problematic for landlords. Particularly if you or your tenant fail to disclose your convictions – whether knowingly or not.

What is an unspent conviction?

An unspent conviction means that a person is still in the rehabilitation period set out by law following a criminal conviction.

The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (ROA) dictates how long certain types of convictions remain on an individual’s criminal record before they’re considered spent.

The Act gives people with spent convictions and cautions the right to withhold disclosure when applying for many jobs or buying insurance products.

However, when a conviction is unspent, these details may need to be disclosed if asked.

So what does that mean for landlords seeking to purchase Landlord Insurance with an unspent conviction?

Buying Landlord Insurance with a criminal conviction

Insurance companies typically make various assumptions about landlords. One of which is unspent convictions.

Unless otherwise informed, their default assumption at the application stage will be that there are no unspent convictions. Therefore, it is your responsibility as a landlord to disclose any unspent convictions when purchasing your insurance cover.

Failure to do so could invalidate your policy.

As such, were you to make a claim and your unspent conviction was discovered you could be left without any cover and with no other option than to mitigate the costs yourself.

Even if you don’t make a claim and your insurer finds out, they could feasibly cancel your policy or else increase your premiums.

Therefore, it’s always better to discuss any unspent convictions upfront if asked by your insurer, either at the application stage or at renewal.

What about tenants with an unspent conviction?

It’s important to remember that if your tenant fails to disclose an unspent conviction, this could also invalidate your insurance.

As a result, you could find yourself involved in a costly and time-consuming process of trying to recover the costs from your tenant through the courts.

Understandably, this is the stuff of nightmares for most landlords.

However, it’s a scenario that can often be avoided by maintaining an open dialogue at all times.

Make sure you ask prospective tenants if they have any unspent convictions. If you’re letting through an agent, they will carry out this questioning for you as part of their tenant referencing checks.

However, if you don’t use an agent you’ll need to make this part of your screening process.

Under the ROA, tenants are obliged to disclose any unspent convictions at the point of application if asked.

You could also ask to see a basic DBS check if necessary.

Landlord Insurance and criminal convictions

If you’re a landlord with unspent convictions, you might understandably be reluctant to disclose any unspent convictions.

Not least because some insurers may refuse applications, charge more, impose special terms, or cancel an existing policy if new unspent convictions come to light.

However, failing to disclose unspent convictions could lead to financially ruinous consequences if your policy becomes invalidated and you need to make a claim.

Of course, there is a big difference between unspent and spent convictions.

If you have a conviction that is newly or historically spent, you have no obligation to disclose spent convictions when applying for Landlord Insurance, even if asked.

If you’re unsure whether a conviction or caution is spent or not, it’s a good idea to check on GOV.UK to be absolutely certain when purchasing insurance products.

Get Landlord Insurance at UKinsuranceNET

If you need Landlord Insurance, UKinsuranceNET offers a trusted brokerage service that can help you find the right policy for you.

Just remember to be open and honest about unspent convictions if asked at the application stage. It could save you a great deal of headaches and expenses later down the line.

Get an instant online quote or contact us on 01325 346 328, from 8:30-17.30 Monday to Friday or 9:00 to 13:00 on Saturdays, to speak to an adviser.

NB This blog is for informational and educational purposes only. It should not be taken as legal advice or used as a substitute for such. Please consult a solicitor if you require legal advice regarding anything raised in this post.