Renter’s insurance - is it legal to require

6 Replies

I incude in my lease agreements a provision disclosing I don’t carry renters insurance and advising tenant to obtain a policy. I’d like to start requiring renter’s insurance as part of the lease agreement. Can I legally do so (California)? If so, how do I get a tenant to maintain a policy year after year? If more than one occupant (e.g. BF/GF or roommates) do each one carry individual policies? Thank you for the input.
Originally posted by @Peter Z. :
I incude in my lease agreements a provision disclosing I don’t carry renters insurance and advising tenant to obtain a policy.

I’d like to start requiring renter’s insurance as part of the lease agreement. Can I legally do so (California)? If so, how do I get a tenant to maintain a policy year after year? If more than one occupant (e.g. BF/GF or roommates) do each one carry individual policies? Thank you for the input.

 I use a service to create my leases which includes legal advice for all 50 states and localities: "ezLandlordforms.com". I have rentals in NYC and they advised in NYC it is not legal to require tenants to have it. But they do have an attachment to the leases describing how important it is, the fact that landlord insurance does not cover their personal belongings etc. You have to check the laws of your local jurisdiction, since the law against renter insurance is a local requirement here, not a state requirement.

Since it only runs $150.00/year around here, I was going to buy it and add $10.00 to the rent. But my insurance agent said under insurance laws, and practices, you cannot buy insurance for someone else. They can buy it and you can reimburse them.

We have some prior discussions on this board on this subject. There is an "insured" and an "additional insured", and someone mentioned that you can only name one of each on the policy for insurance company he use. I mentioned a few times before on this board I require it, and people have signed leases agreeing to it. But I also mentioned that I had a case where I asked for and received a "certificate of insurance" from the tenant certifying he had it, then a few days after sending me the proof, he cancelled it. Then some months later he left his windows opened in a storm causing damages to my property and his belongings. He wanted to file a claim against my landlord insurance, and I replied "you file the claim against your tenant insurance first". That's when he told me he cancelled it. I told him he's in violation of the lease.

My insurance agent told me to include me as an additional insured in the tenant policy to get notified and prevent problems related to cancellations. Some companies limit additional insured to 2, and other have "additional notified" in their policies, so you have to check with local insurance agents how it's handled. I usually have one tenant policy per unit, usually the via the principal tenant on the lease. There are additional issues a and problems when you have separate leases per person which was discussed on other threads here.

It will depend on your local or state landlord tenant regulations. I do require all tenants to carry liability insurance coverage, minimum 1M,  and insist they show me proof annually of their policy renewal. I do not care if they carry contents insurance. 

Simply write it into the lease and to include you as "an additional insured party".  If they drop insurance or renew you will get a notice from the company.

I dont let anyone into my properties, just get it right there at lease signing, easiest is all-digital Lemonade - https://bit.ly/2h1cZUn

Originally posted by @Drew Slew :

I dont let anyone into my properties, just get it right there at lease signing, easiest is all-digital Lemonade - https://bit.ly/2h1cZUn

 But is it enforceable in NJ? I recently started requiring it my leases, but have not taken action against a tenant who has not gotten yet it.

@Peter Z. , requiring a tenant to maintain renter's insurance in a reasonable amount is generally legal in California.  If you want to ensure that the tenant maintains a policy year over year, you would do best to have a new lease agreement each year with the same insurance requirement.  Consider including a requirement like this: Tenant shall obtain a renters insurance policy that includes that the carrier must provide 30 days’ notice of cancellation, non-renewal, or material change in coverage, to the Owner.

Yes, require each tenant and occupant over 18 to carry an insurance policy.  Some insurers might be willing to put all tenants/occupants on the same policy.