What if I didn't know the tenant had made business changes?
Unfortunately, not knowing about the changes will not change the outcome of your claim. The law governing declarations for insurance providers includes the phrase, "to know reasonably." In the case of Lee's Sandwich Shop, it is the property owner's responsibility not to maintain what happens to his property.
It is worth noting that in some cases, it is not appropriate for the property owner to know what the tenants are doing. However, if Lee was producing illegal material, he would not provide this information to his landlord, and it would not be reasonable to believe that the property owner knew.
What are my duties under the law?
Although laws may vary from state to state, there are a number of general responsibilities that commercial property owners should be aware of.
- Take precautions to make sure your property is safe from unforeseen events.
- Maintain unoccupied and occupied units on your property
- Protect third parties from harm or injury as much as possible.
- Comply with all safety ordinances and regulations.
- Work to reduce the chances of any tenant experiencing business disruptions.
How can I protect myself and my tenants from rejected claims?
As a commercial property owner, there are a number of steps you can take to avoid damages for not disclosing facts about your tenants.
- Meet your tenants - a quick cut allows you to examine possible discrepancies between what you see and what is in the insurance paperwork.
- Write it down - create a detailed account outline of what activities take place on campus and get signatures from your tenants to verify that this is accurate and up-to-date information.
- Educate your tenants - Take the time to learn what terms your insurer uses to calculate your property and tenant costs.
- Find the difference between the policy and what you see - make sure what you see on campus is in line with the policy. If you are not sure about anything you find out, contact your insurance professional.
- Photos are worth a thousand words - take some pictures when you go that you are your tenant's business. Backup imagery can strengthen your claims in the event of a conflict. A series of pictures will give you a way to compare changes over time.
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The content and suggestions in this blog post are for informational use only. They do not replace consultation with insurance professionals and this is generalization. Be sure to talk to an authorized insurance specialist before changing any of your insurance policies.
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