Can we include a compulsory insurance clause in a tenancy agreement?

Question from Mark updated on 17th October 2008:

Can we as part of our tenancy agreement require tenants to obtain and maintain renters insurance to cover careless damage to the property they are renting?

Our expert Jeff Montgomery responded:

A landlord cannot require a tenant to obtain or maintain any insurance. If your tenant carelessly or intentionally damages the property, they will be responsible for repairing the damage regardless of whether they have insurance or not. You may wish to tell your tenants about the benefits of having insurance, including insurance that will cover damage they may cause to the property. You can recommend that they discuss this further with their insurance company.

The Department of Building and Housing provides information and guidance on building law and compliance, services including weathertight homes, and advice for tenants and landlords.

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