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Lettings add-ons: landlord insurance

Landlord and tenant insurances protect your clients and your business. Sheila Manchester talks to some of the experts in the field.

Sheila Manchester

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Letting agents cannot demand that options. Steve Jones, Managing Director, their landlords and tenants take out says that Rentguard can provide policies insurances, but the professional for non-standard properties such as timber agent will always advise on the framed, glass or 100 per cent flat roofs, need for cover and do their best to ensure bedsits and HMOs, while their tenants that every property on their books has the appropriate insurances in place.

Every landlord is responsible for his property and should arrange adequate and appropriate insurance policies. Tenants need to arrange cover for their own possessions and for liabilities regarding their landlord’s fittings and possessions
in the property.

While the insurers go to every length to provide cover for pretty much everything, it is vital that each landlord considers which products he may need – and makes sure that he keeps the cover up to date.

We spoke to some of the leading specialist lettings insurers to learn about the most important products.

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Steve Jones, Rentguard

Most offer a full range of standard policies and additional ‘extras.’ Some, including Rentguard, go further with extra options. Steve Jones, Managing Director, says that Rentguard can provide policies for non-standard properties such as timber framed, glass or 100 per cent flat roofs, bedsits and HMOs, white their tenants policies can cover those working from home, for their computers, printers general office equipment at the address.

LANDLORD INSURANCE
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Michael Portman, Letrisks

Michael Portman, Managing Director at LetRisks says he is often surprised to hear that friends that use letting agents say they have never been made aware of being able to protect their rental income – and some of them have experienced non-payment
of rent. “As a landlord I am surprised that agents don’t mention the risks of non payment of rent, or even find out about the landlords financial circumstances. Agents have a duty of care!”

David Scutt, Managing Director at MARAS, part of Towergate, says that while some landlords choose not to insure their investment properties, “we don’t believe this is common. It is after all a condition of most mortgages that adequate cover is in place. Those with leasehold properties will often rely on their leaseholder to arrange adequate cover. Around 20 per cent of our references include a request to provide rent guarantee.”

Sandra Howey, at Leaseguard, says that while they offer a comprehensive range of products for landlords they believe that cover taken by many landlords may not always include adequate liability cover or damage caused by tenants.

Steve Jones at Rentguard agrees, “Many ‘accidental’ landlords don’t realise that their property, with a standard home insurance, may not be covered once it is let out, which is worrying.”

The main insurance products for landlords are:

  • Landlords Buildings
  • Landlords contents
  • Legal and Public Liability
  • Portfolio insurance
  • Rent Guarantee
  • Landlords Emergency Assistance
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Anthony Gaskell, Agent Assure

Anthony Gaskell, Regional Account Director at Agent Assure part of Arthur J. Gallagher, says, “As standard we cover malicious damage by tenants and guests and we also provide cover for legal and public liability. Optional extras include accidental damage and home emergency.

“Letting agents also have the opportunity to select rent guarantee which covers all tenants within the property for rents up to £3,000. We provide up to £50,000 limit of indemnity and there is no excess.”

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Gary Abraham, Homelet

Gary Abraham, Sales and Marketing Director at HomeLet, says that their comprehensive buildings insurance protects landlords against the things
they’d expect – and a lot more – including 90 days full cover when a property is empty, loss of rent and re-letting costs if a tenant has to move out because of an insured event.

“We also offer contents insurance for furnished properties, with new for old replacement and up to £500 cover for garden furniture and ornaments. Another policy covers property let part or unfurnished.”

Even the best tenants can fall on hard times and the landlord may need cover
for this as much as the tenants, “Prestige, our rent guarantee, covers rental payments for up to 12 months with just one month excess, and pays 50 per cent of the rent for up to three months after the tenant – who must have had satisfactory references from HomeLet – moves out of the property.”

There are no restrictions on the type or number of tenants, and cover is for the whole property. Prestige also covers legal costs for any breach of tenancy, and the eviction of unauthorised occupiers.

“An eviction can be very costly and take months – while the landlord isn’t receiving any rent – we offer Legal Expenses protection that puts our property legal experts at a landlord’s disposal.”

Andy Halstead says Let Alliance offers landlords’ standalone buildings or contents cover as well as a combined product. “Our cover includes a nil excess option, contents cover up to £50,000 sum insured, £500,000 buildings sum insured and accidental damage as standard.

“Also included are legal liability, malicious and accidental damage by tenants, loss of rent, 90 days unoccupancy and more. We also provide options for home emergency assistance, legal expenses and rent insurance.”

March 21, 2014

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