A taxi driver who was forced to sleep in his office following a house fire is warning people to check their insurance small print.

Roderick Stewart’s house was massively smoke damaged by the chip pan fire on May 25 and has been not been habitable since.

But when Mr Stewart, 53, went to insurers Royal Sun Alliance (RSA), he was told his policy was invalid. The company said Mr Stewart had failed to disclose that his son, David John Stewart, who also lived at the house had a criminal record – something it requires all policy holders to do. The record includes a case of criminal damage several years earlier.

Mr Stewart, of Ruffield Side, on the Delph Hill estate in Wyke, has been with RSA for seven years and had no idea that his insurance policy required him to disclose such information.

He said RSA had so far refused to pay towards any repairs which could amount to £35,000.

The fire was caused by an unattended chip pan and Mr Stewart jumped out of a window to escape the blaze. For a week he stayed in a hotel but has since been sleeping in his taxi company offices.

“When I renewed my home insurance I just looked at the price and then renewed it. I wouldn’t even think about getting in touch about my son having a criminal record.”

A spokesman for RSA said they were looking at the claim and added: “When applying for home insurance or renewing an existing policy it is important that you let the insurance company know if you or your family have received any convictions other than driving offences.”