Wednesday, April 22, 2015

If A Tenant Dies in A Fire, Our Landlord Collects Insurance, so Are we Worth more Dead than Alive to Arthur Cornfeld?


The following is basic information on what landlords do in the event of a fire in one of their properties: they pick up the phone and call their insurance companies. And they are ok.

Landlord Insurance

landlord insurance policy is designed to insure the interests of the landlord. The landlord owns the building and receives rent from a tenant if the property is occupied. In the event of a fire the landlord can suffer losses to include damage to the building, damage to other structures like a garage or shed, loss of rent if the tenant can’t live in the property due to a covered loss, or even a liability claim should someone get hurt on the property and the landlord is found to be negligent. Now lets break down the coverages a little more to make it a little more clear.

Building or Fire Insurance. A basic policy will insure the building for damages resulting from a fire. The fire can be the fault of the landlord, the insured, or something else entirely. Other hazards that may cause a loss are wind, hail, vandalism, malicious mischief, and leaky pipes. Other hazards are not automatically covered on a basic fire policy and may have to be purchased in addition to the fire coverage. If the loss is the result of the tenants negligence the landlord may be covered as long as the policy is written as a tenant occupied property and the cause of loss was a covered peril. Perils can be fire, wind, hail, VM&M, or leaky pipes.

Other Structures. This coverage is for any structure owned by the landlord that is not attached to the house. A detached garage, shed, or fence would be an example of an other structure. All the hazards or covered losses would be the same as the building coverage. Other structures is not always an automatic coverage and may have to be purchased separately on the policy.

Landlords Contents. This would cover contents of the landlord to include a stove, dishwasher, or other appliances or property owned by the landlord and left for the use of the tenant. This property is covered on the contents portion of the landlords policy up to the specified limit. Not always an automatic coverage and may have to be purchased separately on the policy.

Loss of Rent. This is often a misunderstood coverage. Loss of rents provides coverage for the landlord if the property is damaged due to a covered loss and the tenant can not live in the property until it is repaired. The loss of rents pays the landlord lost rents that they can not collected from the tenant because the house is unlivable. The coverage does not provide housing or living expenses for the tenant, only the rents the landlord can not collect from the tenant while the property is being repaired. Coverage for the tenant to provide housing is covered under a tenant or renters insurance policy which we will discuss later in this post.

Medical and Liability Coverage.These are actually two different coverages and are usually tied together. Medical coverage can be thought of as first aid coverage. Provides an injured person with basic medical coverage to the amount stated in the policy which usually starts at $500. It could be more, depends on the policy amount.

Liability insurance would be for more extensive medical treatment and/or pain and suffering. This is the amount a person, either the tenant or a guest, could sue the landlord for injuries caused by the property of the landlord. Common lawsuits brought against landlords are for poor maintenance of the sidewalk, driveway, porch, or the home. Cracks, missing rails, or other property hazards can result in a liability claim to the landlord. Even if the person was a guest of the tenant, the landlord can still be responsible for their injuries.

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Now, let's suppose there were to be a fire at 2020 Broadway or 143 West 69th Street -- on TOP of collecting insurance, getting paid all normal rents (even though you may be DEAD), they have the EXTRA bonus of having a clear path to any rent stabilized apartments that were destroyed in the fire at any price (as it seems/appears with many of the market rate apartments which had large increases that seem unjustifiable).

If they are lucky (and the Cornfelds seem like a lucky bunch) and the two buildings are destroyed, guess what? They probably would build one large building out of the two, possibly go straight to condo, make themselves property managers and, voila: make a lot more money.

So, our loss of life is possibly (and please, this is an opinion piece) -- possibly this scenario would be the Cornfeld's best dream as they have proven by attempting to install yet a FOURTH restaurant in these buildings. 

The most recent to a known arsonist: Tsu Yue Wang (who is talked about as a member of the Chinese mob who makes one phone call and suddenly a fire happens.) The latter statement is from things people in the neighborhood have told me...so not my opinion, but the word on the street, so to speak.

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