Mainor notes the bill’s intention is to ensure that information is provided to renters of units in multiple dwellings about the availability of renter’s insurance policies, which provide insurance coverage to tenants for the contents of their rental unit.
“Many tenants are unaware of the existence of renter’s insurance policies,” said Mainor. “If their rental unit is damaged by fire, or through another calamity, without insurance they assume a personal financial loss by having to purchase — out of pocket — new furniture, clothing and other personal belongings. Renter’s insurance protects the renter and the property owner.”
Under the bill, the Commissioner of Community Affairs, in consultation with the Commissioner of Banking and Insurance would be required to identify the insurance companies operating in the State that offer renter’s insurance for purchase, and to post the names of those insurance companies on the Department of Community Affairs website. The commissioner would also be required to make this list available to every owner of a multiple dwelling a notice explaining the availability of renter’s insurance for the purchase by tenants.
The bill directs the owner of a multiple dwelling to provide tenants in each unit of the multiple dwelling a copy of the notice together with a list of insurance companies in the State that offer for purchase renter’s insurance policies. Tenants occupying units in a multiple dwelling on the effective date of the bill would be provided with this information by regular mail. Tenants who first assume occupancy after that date and tenants, who renew an existing lease after that date, would also receive this information when they sign the release.
“Whether you rent or own, insuring your home and its valuables is an important protection measure,” added Mainor. “Providing this information encourages renter protection against damage and loss. And it should be required as is currently the “Truth in Renting” pamphlet given to all renters to explain renters’ rights and responsibilities.”
The bill also requires the Commissioner of Banking and Insurance to study the cost of renter’s insurance policies, and report his findings to the Legislature. The commissioner must advise the Legislature about the availability and affordability of renter’s insurance policies, and recommend to the Legislature any changes to state law that would make renter’s insurance policies more easily available, and affordable, to tenants.
The measure was introduced during the last voting session.