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What constitutes DSS? Direct Line are trying to disqualify my claim over this.


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I used to live in Leicester - when I moved to Leeds I rented out my house through a letting agent. The tenants left the house in a really terrible state. Direct Line, my insurers, don't want to pay as the contract stipulated no DSS tenants.

 

However, the tenant WAS working. She was receiving somekind of top up and also help with her rent but does that constitute DSS? Is there anything more I need to find out?

 

Any help would really be appreciated...

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In regard to DSS, the Insurers really mean that the tenants are in receipt of housing benefit to pay part or all of the rent.

 

If they don't receive this benefit, Direct Line should back down. But you would have to get some written confirmation of this from the tenants.

We could do with some help from you.

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Uncle Bulgaria – thank you for taking time out from Wimbledon Common to clear up my mess.

The advice is really appreciated but it also gutting as it seems to invalidate my claim.

The insurance contract simply said DSS which is (or was) Dept. Social Security – if any money is coming through the council then that is something different, surely?

I’m really trying to split hairs here because I’ve had a rotten year and can’t face losing this one.

Direct Line’s terms and conditions state:

Your properties are not occupied as or let to:

half way houses

bedsits

housing associations

Local Authorities

students

asylum seekers

And my tenant signed on as a private tenant but began to receive help with rent from the council. The council did not rent the house. This is surely a good sign?

Are there definitions of what constitutes DSS that are concrete and can be quoted and support my position?

 

Well – thanks for everyone’s time in advance anyway.... not feeling too hopeful about this though!

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Your argument should be that the tennancy was a private arrangement and that you receive all rent directly. You should state that the tennant subsequently receiving help to pay their rent was not relevant and as it did not affect the existing tennancy agreement.

 

I think you should be ok as long as you have no let the property against the letter and spirit of the exclusions set out by Direct Line.

We could do with some help from you.

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First of all, thanks for the responses. To reply to the last point – yes, it was part of the basic package/service that the letting agents would inspect the property – and it is largely down to my naivety that I went on their feedback to me which wasn’t particularly detailed. Basically, they let me know that the tenant hadn’t looked after the house very well but that they could do bits and pieces on it and look for a new tenant. This to me suggested general wear and tear but not the actual damage that I discovered when I looked for myself.

I don’t know if it’s of interest to people but the progress of my claim has been pretty tortuous – after I made it Direct Line took ages to get anyone in to inspect the damage. When they did the assessors (UK Assistance) seemed sympathetic.

I then received a straight rejection from Direct Line along with the news that my insurance cover was now void as a result. I then received an admission that they hadn’t actually FINISHED their investigation, however to add insult to injury they stuck by their decision in so far as my insurance remained voided.

They also seemed to have based their decisions on inferences made from a chat I’d had with the assessors at the time. It all seemed pretty inaccurate and shoddy and stacked against me.

I sent in every bit of information I could and everything that they asked for. They then went silent. I chased them and following earlier advice from this forum I asked for a decision or at least a timescale for a decision.

I heard nothing.

All along the line I felt treated badly. For example – when they made their initial decision they said they were sending back my insurance payments thus far. They sent less than they said they would, it took much longer to arrive than they said it would, and when it did arrive it was in a tatty envelope with a hand written address and no return address. Inside the envelope there was no letter, simply a cheque, handwritten and made out from an RBS insurance services. The only way I could tell what it was for was by matching a reference number against all my documents about anything financial and finding my Direct Line account number.

I’ve always felt that this summed up how they felt about my claim....

...but I’m rambling/ranting...apologies and thank you for the advice!

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Sorry for the delay in replying - re: the amount of the claim - the insurance should cover a year's rent which is about £4,000 plus and also repairs. When the assessor looked round our house he actually told me that it would need around £15,000 spent as the kitcehn ceiling would have to come down as well as a ceiling in a bedroom as they were in such bad condition after a leak and also after someone had had a clumsy look around the loft.

 

However, he never sent me an official report and he did misquote me to Direct Line so I have no confidence that anyone is going to play straight in this.

 

Yes, I should be looking at what I can do about the letting agents. I was naive and trusting and if nothing else everything that's happened has been the price of an education.

 

Now the agents are directing the tenants energy supplier to me even though I had never heard of them...that will be another thread however....

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As it is over £5,000 by the sounds of it, then you will probably be able to get a 'no win no fee' solicitor to make a claim for you as they will be able to recover their costs against the letting agent.

 

Use this link below to find a solicitor near you and on the 'area of law' drop down bar, search under 'civil litigation' and this should give you a range of solicitors who deal with this in your area. Best going with a firm that is well known or reasonably large as they will have a number of things going for you i.e. experience, expertise and more funding options to protect you if you lose.

 

The Law Society - Find a solicitor

 

Make sure you stress to them that your claim is a fast track case. Also, even if they don't take your case on, you should get a 30-60 minute free meeting where they will be able to give you a lot more advice if you take all the relevant papaerwork along.

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