One of the UK’s largest insurance companies says there is no legal framework available to it that would enable the insurance giant to pay claims now that evictions have been suspended for three months by the government.

One of the UK’s largest insurance companies, Direct Line, has confirmed to LandlordZONE that it has closed its doors to new rent guarantee policy claims, but will honour those which are already under way.

The shock news confirms our story earlier this week that key insurance companies in the UK were withdrawing, or had already withdrawn, from the rent guarantee market.

Direct Line’s announcement will not be welcome news for its thousands of rent guarantee landlord clients, not least because until relatively recently it ran TV adverts promoting the product starring Hollywood actor Harvey Keitel (pictured).

“We are currently in unprecedented times as the impact of COVID-19 spreads through all aspects of the UK economy,” a statement from spokesperson Unni Henry from the parent company The Direct Line Group, says.

“The Government’s commitment is that no tenant will be evicted during a three month period and that landlords are able to apply for a three month payment holiday on their Buy to Let mortgages if necessary.

“During this three-month period we cannot pay any new rent guarantee claims as there is no legal mechanism to allow us to take a claim forward.

“Following the end of this period landlords and their tenants will then need to work together to establish affordable repayment.”

Henry says Direct Line is offering landlords practical support so they can help their tenants during the crisis including digital templates for payment plans.

Also, its legal advice helpline will continue to be available throughout this period. Landlords should refer to their policy documents for contact details.

“If the landlord’s rent guarantee claim has already been accepted and they are in receipt of rent guarantee payments, these will continue to be paid during the pandemic,” says Henry.

“For discussion on individual claims, landlords will need to contact the claims team via the number in their policy documents.”

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