Winter brings with it potential hazards that could harm your rental property and cost you money if left untreated. High winds, excessive rain, snow and ice can lead to anything from frozen pipes to blocked guttering.

That’s why it makes sense to get ahead and protect your rental property before the worst of the UK weather kicks in.

We’ve prepared a winter maintenance checklist for landlords and lettings agents, to help you protect your rental properties over the winter period.

 

Exterior Property Maintenance

As a landlord, you are largely responsible for the exterior maintenance of the rental properties in your portfolio.

This can include;

  • Roof and guttering repairs
  • Garden and fences
  • Window cleaning and repairs

The following tips will help you protect the exterior of your property over the winter;

 

Roofs and Guttering

Missing roof tiles can cause expensive structural problems in the long-term. If your property is missing a few tiles, a particularly bad winter storm could result in leaking and interior damp.

Likewise, a blocked gutter can lead to water damage. An annual gutter clean is a sensible maintenance task to perform at the beginning of winter, after the autumn leaves have fallen and before the worst of the weather hits.

 

Repair Cracks and Crevices

Any gaps or cracks in the exterior of your property could result in long term problems if left untreated. If moisture from the outside finds its way into the property, you could be facing serious damp and mould issues. This is easily avoided through regular inspections and property maintenance.

Key areas to focus on include;

  • Air leaks around windows and doors
  • Garage or shed doors
  • Ill fitted exterior doors

 

Winter Garden Maintenance

Usually, general garden maintenance is the responsibility of the tenant. However, if your property is experiencing a void period or you are preparing for a new tenancy, you may need to perform some garden maintenance.

Broken fences are the responsibility of the landlord, so it’s a good idea to check for any loose posts before the wind sets in. In addition, any trees with dangerous overhanging branches may need tending to.

To protect yourself from any disputes regarding garden maintenance at the end of a tenancy, always ensure the tenancy agreement clearly sets out which tasks are the responsibility of the tenant.

 

Winter Pipe Maintenance

When water freezes in very cold weather it expands and can result in burst pipes. To prevent this;

  • Ensure pipes are well insulated
  • And there are no cracks
  • Fix any dripping taps
  • Get the boiler serviced regularly
  • Run the heating at a low temperature during void periods
  • At the start of a new tenancy, make sure your tenants are aware of the location of the stopcock and understand what to do in case of an emergency

 

Fireplaces and Chimneys

If any of your rental properties contain working fireplaces, a professional clean by a chimney sweep will help to prevent debris build up which could pose a fire hazard.

 

Door Locks

Sometimes, extreme cold weather can freeze locks. Rather than getting a late night call from a tenant locked out of their home, a pre-emptive spray with lubricant will prevent sticking.

 

Prevent Pests

Cold weather can draw in pests such as mice and voles. To prevent any unwelcome visitors, ensure all small holes and cracks around the exterior of the property are properly sealed.

 

Interior Winter Maintenance

The following winter home maintenance tips refer to the interior of your rental property;

 

Winter Boiler Maintenance

Perhaps the most important consideration for your tenants, is ensuring the property’s heating system is in good working condition before the cold winter weather hits.

If the weather drops severely, your boiler is at risk of freezing. To avoid this;

  • Remind your tenants to run the heating regularly.
  • If your property is going through a void period, it’s worth setting the heating to come on at certain times throughout the day or to run it constantly at a low temperature to help prevent damp and keep the boiler in good condition.
  • We also recommend bleeding the radiators regularly to prevent pockets of air entering and affecting the heat they give off.
  • Get the boiler serviced once a year by a gas safe registered engineer before winter really kicks in.

 

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms

The start of winter is a good time to check your smoke and CO alarms are all present and in working order.

Since 2015, it has been a legal requirement for landlords to install working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on each floor of a property. Failure to do so could result in a £5000 fine for each non-working alarm.

If you’re busy managing your portfolio, we provide Smoke and CO inspections as part of our inventory and check in service.

 

Winter Property Security

Fewer daylight hours and empty properties around Christmas time can result in higher levels of property crime. Encouraging your tenants to practice these safety tips should help to avoid any nasty surprises;

 

Timed Lighting Systems

If your rental property is left vacant over the Christmas period as tenants visit family and friends, it’s more vulnerable to theft and damage.

Encouraging tenants to use a timed lighting system when they go away for extended periods can help to prevent break ins. Alternatively, leaving the bathroom light on uses up minimal energy whilst warding off burglaries.

 

Exterior Safety Lighting

If you’re worried about a vacant property, installing security lights can help to prevent break-ins.

 

Emergency Contact Numbers

One of the most important ways you can protect your rental property over the winter is to provide your tenants with a list of emergency numbers to contact if things go wrong. This should include;

  • Plumber
  • Electrician
  • General property maintenance provider
  • Locksmith
  • Letting agent contacts

This is particularly important if you are planning to go away over the Christmas break.

By providing your own list of numbers, you can ensure that any repairs or maintenance issues are attended to by reliable tradespeople, approved by you.

 

Invest in a Professional Inventory Service

One of the easiest ways to protect your rental property over winter, is to invest in a thorough inventory service.

From maintenance reports to health and safety checks, our teams of inventory clerks across the UK are on hand to help you manage your property portfolio all year round.

Need some help? Browse our list of available property inventory services to protect your investment this winter.

Anyone who has worked within the lettings industry will understand the importance of a thorough inventory for rental properties.

And when landlords skip this vital step, major issues can occur. If you’re left facing serious damage at the end of a tenancy without the proper reports, you may lose out on thousands of pounds.

We explore the power of inventories by highlighting a recent high-profile case featuring a former pop star and £70,000 worth of damage.

 

Do I Need An Inventory?

Yes, as a landlord or letting agent, it is important to have an inventory report in place to provide the evidence needed if you need to make a claim on the deposit at the end of the tenancy.

Without a detailed inventory, you could be left having to repair damage out of your own pocket. We’ve created a simple guide on the key components to include and why they’re necessary;

 

Property Management Inventory Checklist

An inventory report must include the following key components;

  • A record of meter readings and keys provided
  • The condition and cleanliness of each room, including appliances, fixtures and fittings
  • A record of the condition of the garden, including any damage
  • A signature from the tenant confirming they agree with the contents of the report
  • A record of the condition of the mattresses if fully furnished
  • Date & time stamped photos of the property and its contents

It must also include essential safety points;

  • A record of furniture and furnishing fire safety labels
  • Evidence that the Smoke and CO alarms comply with legislation (working order & correct placement)
  • A record of loose or frayed carpets, cracked glass or windows, missing keys and inoperable locks

 

Check Out Report

In addition to the initial inventory report and schedule of condition that takes place when a tenant moves into a rental property, you will also need a check out report when they move out at the end of the tenancy.

Following the final inspection, the check out report should;

  • Include a detailed record of the condition of the property
  • Clearly show how the property has changed throughout the tenancy (in combination with the initial check in report)
  • Include recommended actions for landlords and tenants

This report provides a vital benchmark to help assess any changes to the property from the start of the tenancy to the end.

If any deposit disputes arise, these reports should provide clear evidence to help landlords get a fair return on any losses or repairs required.

 

Top Reasons for Tenancy Deposit Disputes

Some of the main reason’s disputes occur include;

  • Cleaning 54%
  • Damage 49%
  • Decoration 31%
  • Rent 20%
  • Gardening 16%

 

Dealing with Deposit Disputes

The security deposit taken at the start of a tenancy is considered the tenant’s money. This means that it can be tricky for landlords to withhold the deposit in response to damage or loss without significant evidence.

You will need to prove there is damage to your rental property above normal wear and tear in order to claim on the deposit.

That’s why poorly compiled inventory reports are one of the most common reasons landlords lose disputes.

Tip: Always enter the deposit into a tenancy deposit protection scheme as this is a legally required step!

 

Celebrity Rental Drama: The Power of Inventories

To demonstrate our point, we’ve got a high profile case study in which a property rental disaster was averted thanks to comprehensive inventory reports.

Former En-Dubz star and X Factor Judge, Tulisa Contostavlos was recently ordered to pay over £70,000 worth in damage to the landlord of her former luxury rental property.

Reported damage to the luxury North London flat included a smashed sink, cigarette burns, stains and doors ripped from hinges. Despite arguing that the damage was normal wear and tear, she was ordered to pay compensation, interest and legal costs to her former landlord.

Key to this case was the presence of a thorough and professional inventory and check-out report.

Clearly, a high rental value is no protection against severe damage, so no matter which end of the market you’re positioned in, covering your back is essential if you want to recover your costs.

Looking for help managing your portfolio of rental properties in London? Find a list of our No Letting Go London offices.

 

What is Fair Wear and Tear?

It can be problematic working out what is considered fair wear and tear as it differs case by case. Some examples of fair wear and tear include;

  • Small scuff marks on walls
  • Naturally worn down carpets
  • Frayed fabrics
  • Faded curtains
  • Carpet indentations

However, when we talk about damage this could include;

  • Broken locks or doors
  • Burn marks or large carpet stains
  • Holes in the walls
  • Broken windows or furniture
  • Poorly painted walls

One of the easiest ways to determine the difference is by commissioning a professional inventory clerk to visit the property and make a detailed report, including photographic imagery at the start of the tenancy.

 

How To Protect Your Rental Property from Damage

There are a few more steps you can take to protect your rental property;

Regular Property Inspections

To avoid a similar situation, making quarterly inspections of the property can help encourage tenants to practice good property maintenance.

Target Long Term Tenants

In addition, targeting long-term tenants who are more likely to treat the property as their home will help to avoid intentional damage.

Keep it Simple

Keep decoration simple and ensure your property is thoroughly clean at the start of the tenancy to avoid any future disputes.

 

Avoid the Risks with A Professional Inventory Service

You’ve heard the warning, now it’s time to cover your back. One of the easiest ways to protect your investment as a landlord or letting agent is to commission a professional inventory company to undertake comprehensive inventory reports and checks.

Our independent inventory clerks across the country are experienced at providing essential reports, checks and visits to help you stay protected from move in date up until the end of the tenancy agreement.

To find out how we could help, browse our list of professional property inventory services to get started.

Thinking of investing in London rental property? There are plenty of benefits for landlords, including high demand from a wide range of tenant groups and convenient access to quality tradespeople and property services.

Buy-to-let in London can offer great rewards, as long as you’re clever about where you invest. We explore why investing in London property is worth the risks and how to protect your investment for the long term.

 

The Advantages of Being a London Landlord

Thinking of becoming a London landlord? Here are some of the benefits you can expect;

 

Is Property in London a Good Investment?

There has been a lot of debate recently around whether investing in the UK property market is still a safe investment. Despite some instability in the London property market due to Brexit uncertainties and recent changes to stamp duty and tax relief for landlords, there are still many factors that make London a good opportunity for property investment.

 

High Rental Demand

For one, it is unlikely that the demand for rental properties in popular areas of London will decrease significantly in the long term as London remains a hub for many industries.

With a large number of students and young professionals, London offers a wide range of tenant groups to target.

Shorter term, Brexit uncertainties have been putting off first time buyers from taking the plunge- increasing the demand for rental properties further.

 

Opportunity for Capital Gain

While some property prices in central London have experienced dips, central London prices are now on the rise and there are plenty of up and coming areas marked for big property development projects. By investing in areas likely to experience long-term price growth, you are well placed to earn impressive capital growth when you decide to sell.

 

Where is the Cheapest Place to Buy in London?

House prices vary significantly from each London borough. According to Homes&Property, some of the cheapest areas to buy in London in 2019 include;

  • Barking and Dagenham – average house price £300,518
  • Bexley – average house price £341,784
  • Newham – average house price £365,182
  • Croydon – average house price £365,931
  • Havering – average house price £375,014
  • Sutton – average house price £382,607
  • Hounslow – average house price £395,734
  • Enfield – average house price £396,908
  • Hillingdon – average house price £399,639
  • Greenwich – average house price £411,492

However, the purchase price isn’t the only factor to consider when searching for an investment property.

If you’re looking for buy-to-let, the location’s desirability to your target tenant is just as important as getting a good deal. If you can’t find tenants to fill your property, you risk losing money. That’s why it’s equally important to consider factors such as transport links and the proximity of schools and shops to assess the risks and return.

In addition, looking at rental yield data is essential in order to calculate your return on investment.

 

Best Buy to Let Areas in London

When looking for the right location to buy to let, London has a few hotspots that still offer impressive rental yields.

Totally Money’s Buy to Let rental yield map provides valuable data when searching for the most profitable postcodes. Here are some of the top buy to let areas in London according to the map;

  • E12 in East London including Manor Park, Little Ilford, Alderbrook, Newham and Redbridge have a 6.04% average yield.
  • SE17 in South East London including Walworth and Newington has a 5.75% average yield.
  • IG11 in Barking has a 5.59% average yield.
  • Romford is home to several top performing postcodes including RM9, RM8,RM6 and RM10. Find property inventory services in Romford here.
  • SE11 in South East London including Kennington and Vauxhall has a 5.12% average yield.
  • SE28 including Southwark, Lewisham and Greenwich has a 5.00% average yield.
  • N18 in North London including Upper Edmonton, Edmonton and Enfield has a 4.92% average yield.

 

How Do I Buy My First Investment Property?

Once you’ve decided that becoming a London landlord is right for you, there are several steps you need to take;

 

Choose a Location

Decide on the right location, taking into account your budget, target tenant and the rental yields in the area.

 

Find a Buy-to-Let Mortgage

To start the buying process, you will most likely need to apply for a buy-to-let mortgage. Our guide on buy-to-let-mortgages provides helpful information on the different types of mortgage available and how to choose the right one, as well as tips and advice on the process.

 

Protecting Your Investment

Decided to become a London landlord? Our No Letting Go offices throughout London are home to dedicated and experienced inventory clerks ready to help you on your journey.

From inventory reports to check in services, we can provide professional support to help manage your portfolio.

We offer;

To explore our full list of offices, search our branch pages to find property inventory services near you.

With several types of tenancies out there, the variations can get confusing for new tenants and landlords. So, what is a periodic tenancy?

Periodic tenancies can offer great benefits, including increased flexibility and less paperwork. However, they aren’t without their drawbacks.

That’s why we’ve created this guide on the risks and rewards of periodic tenancies, to help you make an informed decision before drawing up a contract.

 

What is a Periodic Tenancy Agreement?

A periodic tenancy is a tenancy that runs for a certain period of time, most commonly month to month. Periodic tenancies can also run on a week to week or quarterly basis, although this is less common.

Unlike fixed term tenancies, periodic tenancies work as a rolling contract which can be terminated by landlord or tenant by giving notice.

 

Types of Tenancy Agreements

Tenancies can come in all shapes and sizes, depending on the terms and conditions of the agreement. However, here are the most common types of tenancies you’re likely to come across;

 

Assured Shorthold Tenancy

Assured shorthold tenancies are the most common and apply to most private rentals with a tenancy date starting after 15 January 1989. Most assured shorthold tenancies begin with a fixed period of 6 or 12 months.

 

Non-Assured Shorthold Tenancy

If your rental property demands less than £250 or more than £100,000 in rent per year or it is used as a holiday home, it won’t be eligible for an assured tenancy. This means you don’t have to enter the tenant’s deposit into a protection scheme or serve a section 21 notice to evict tenants.

 

Assured Tenancy

It is unlikely you’ll need an assured tenancy these days unless you are a housing association. This type of tenancy gives the tenant longer-term stability.

 

Excluded Tenancy

Sometimes referred to as a license, excluded tenancies are for tenants who lodge with their landlord and share communal areas.

 

Regulated Tenancy

If a tenancy started before 15 January 1989 it may be a regulated tenancy. The difference being that tenants have enhanced rights when it comes to eviction and ‘fair rent’.

 

Company Let

When renting to companies, different rules apply in terms of deposit protection and eviction notices.

 

Fixed Term Tenancy

A fixed term tenancy lasts for an agreed set of time, depending on what is set out in the tenancy agreement. Usually this will be 12 months.

 

Short-Term Fixed Tenancy

A short-term fixed tenancy lasts for 90 days or less.

 

Periodic Tenancy

A periodic tenancy works on a rolling basis with no fixed end date. E.g. month by month.

 

What is a Statutory Periodic Tenancy?

A statutory periodic tenancy occurs when an assured shorthold tenancy comes to the end of its fixed term and the tenant stays at the property without renewing the contract. If the tenant continues to pay rent and it is accepted by the landlord, the tenancy will continue on a periodic, rolling basis.

This transition from fixed term assured shorthold tenancy to statutory periodic tenancy is automatic.

 

What is a Contractual Periodic Tenancy?

A contractual periodic tenancy differs in that it is agreed in the tenancy contract as opposed to automatically transitioning from a fixed term into a periodic tenancy. This can either be agreed upon at the start of the tenancy or shortly before the fixed term contract expires.

It is also possible to enter into a periodic tenancy from the outset by setting the initial term as one month or week.

 

How Does a Periodic Tenancy Work?

While a fixed term tenancy lasts for an agreed set of time, a periodic tenancy works on a rolling basis, from month to month or week to week. It doesn’t end until one party gives notice.

In a periodic tenancy, the period depends on when the rent is paid by the tenant. So, in a monthly period tenancy the tenant would pay rent each month.

Shorthold tenancies become periodic tenancies after the fixed term agreement expires and if there is no new contract drawn up with the remaining tenants. The assured shorthold tenancy will automatically become a periodic tenancy as long as the tenants do not change, and they are happy to retain the same contract. The same conditions will apply and there is no further action needed by the landlord or tenant.

 

Ending a Periodic Tenancy

To end a periodic tenancy, there are several legal processes that can take place;

  • Both landlord and tenant mutually agree to end the tenancy
  • The landlord decides to evict the tenant
  • The tenant gives notice
  • The landlord gives notice

 

Periodic Tenancy Notice: Tenants

To end a periodic tenancy, tenants will need to give the right amount of notice depending on the terms stated in the tenancy agreement. They also need to ensure it ends on the right day. For example, if a monthly periodic tenancy began on 1st January it will need to end on the last or the 1st day of the month. From this date, they will no longer be liable for rent payments.

 

Statutory Periodic Tenancy Notice

If it is a statutory periodic tenancy, tenants must give at least 1 months’ notice for a monthly contract or at least 4 weeks’ notice for a weekly contract. The notice must end on the first or last day of the tenancy period.

 

Periodic Tenancy Notice Period: Landlords

Landlords must give tenants a written ‘notice to quit’ which must end on the last day of the rental period, give the minimum notice period and include legal information.

For statutory periodic tenancies, it is also possible for landlords to issue a section 21 notice as long as the landlord gives the tenant at least two months’ notice and the last day is the last day of the tenancy period. If the tenant does not move out on this date, landlords have the right to request a court order to regain possession. However, changes to the law regarding section 21 notices now require a landlord to give their reasoning, alongside relevant evidence.

 

Benefits of a Periodic Tenancy for Landlords

A periodic tenancy can have wide-ranging benefits for both landlord and tenant, including;

  • Increased flexibility. If you suddenly need to regain possession of your property, a periodic tenancy speeds up this process as you don’t have to wait until the end of a fixed period.
  • Attracting tenants. For some tenants, this flexibility is a bonus. If your tenant moves a lot for work or often needs to relocate suddenly, a periodic tenancy becomes appealing.
  • Reduced letting agency fees. Periodic tenancies can dispel the need for renewals and the administration costs that come with them.
  • If for any reason you need to increase the rent, this is made a lot easier by periodic tenancies. Revisions to rent payments can be made much more quickly when operating on a month by month basis.
  • If you are having issues with a particular tenant, a periodic tenancy may be in your favour as you are better able to evict problem tenants as a last resort.

 

Risks of Periodic Tenancies for Landlords

With these advantages also come risks. If you’re thinking of entering into a periodic tenancy, watch out for the following potential dangers;

  • Naturally, periodic tenancies are more likely to attract tenants looking for shorter, more transient leases. If it’s stability you’re after, you may want to think twice.
  • Similarly, shorter term tenants can cost more in terms of marketing and vetting potential new tenants to replace them.
  • With 1 month or less notice periods, you don’t have a long turnaround time if a tenant decides to move out unexpectedly. You will need to have end of tenancy cleaning and maintenance processes finely tuned so as not to lose out.
  • If your tenant moves out during a ‘notice to quit’ period, you may be liable for paying council tax for the property. To avoid this situation, make sure you have a contractual periodic tenancy agreement in place to ensure this remains the tenant’s responsibility.

 

Periodic Tenancies: Good Idea?

Periodic tenancies can be a good idea as they offer increased flexibility for both landlord and tenant and can reduce the number of administrative tasks needed throughout a tenancy.

However, to protect your investment, we recommend;

  • Always drawing up a contractual periodic tenancy agreement. This way you have all the agreed terms in writing and won’t be liable for council tax payments if your tenant moves out unexpectedly.
  • Getting your property marketing up to scratch to attract new tenants and avoid extended void periods.
  • Making sure you have all the processes in place for a speedy turnaround to avoid any losses. This includes;
  • A detailed and fuss-free inventory report is vital when you’re dealing with potentially shorter tenancies. Having a streamlined process in place will help protect you against loss or damage and help recover any costs without going through lengthy disputes.

 

Be Prepared with No Letting Go

The easiest way to protect your investment and maintain a happy landlord/tenant relationship is to entrust a comprehensive, unbiased inventory reporting service.

Here at No Letting Go, we provide a tailor-made service, including everything from check-in to property visits.

Find out more about our property services to see how we could build them into a package that suits you.

Subletting is surprisingly common and can offer benefits for both landlords and tenants. But what counts as subletting? And what do landlords need to know about the risks?

We explore what subletting is and what you can do as a landlord to mitigate the risks.

 

What is Considered Subletting?

Subletting is when a tenant decides to rent out either a room or whole property to a third party. For example, if a tenant decides to go travelling for an extended period, they might try to let their room out to another tenant to pay their rent. Other reasons could include;

  • Change in income
  • If they need to relocate before the end of a contract
  • If another tenant decides to move out before the end of the tenancy and they need to fill the space

To be a sublet, the original, existing tenant needs to give exclusive access of at least one area of the property to the subtenant. The subtenant will not pay rent directly to the landlord but to the original tenant.

 

Is Subletting Illegal?

In most cases, subletting is legal if the tenant obtains the landlords permission to let out the rental property.

However, if the tenant sublets without written permission, they could come into legal difficulties.

 

Can A Landlord Refuse A Sublet?

This all depends on what it says in the tenancy agreement. If there is a section in the agreement that says a tenant can ask the landlord to sublet, landlords will need to have a valid reason for refusal.

However, if there is no mention of subletting in the tenancy agreement, as a landlord, you can refuse more easily.

It’s worth noting that in the case of fixed term tenancies, the tenant may still be able to sublet without consent if there is no mention in the agreement. That’s why it’s important to be clear on the terms of your agreement from the get-go.

Not keen on the idea of allowing a tenant to sublet? There are a few steps you can take to ensure it doesn’t happen;

  • Include a section in the tenancy agreement prohibiting subletting
  • Arrange regular property inspections to help prevent unwanted subletting. The professional carrying out the inspection will usually be able to tell if something is awry. It will also indicate to your tenants that you aren’t complacent as a landlord.
  • Try to develop strong relationships with your tenants so they come to you first if they are having any difficulties making the rent.

 

Illegal Subletting

If a tenant decides to go ahead and sublet without permission, there are two main circumstances that most commonly occur;

The tenant rents out a room in the property whilst still living at the address.

This is the most common situation, and often happens when flatmates move out unexpectedly.

In this situation, think carefully about how you want to proceed. If the new subtenant has caused no issues and the rent is paid on time, it can sometimes be advantageous to allow them to continue living at the property. If this is the case, draw up an agreement to stay protected. Don’t accept any payment until you have a proper tenancy agreement in place.

The tenant rents out several or all the rooms in the rental property whilst living at a different address.

This could have serious consequences for you as the landlord. If these subletting tenants report issues to the original tenant who they assume is the landlord, property maintenance issues may go unresolved and you start to lose control of your property.

 

What Happens If Your Tenant Sublets Without Permission?

If you discover your tenant is subletting without your permission, there are a few steps you can take;

  • Talk to your original tenant first to find a solution
  • If the tenant persists subletting, sub-tenants should be informed, and either be asked to vacate the property or draw up a new tenancy agreement for them
  • If all else fails and the subtenant refuses to vacate, you may need to begin the eviction process

 

What Are The Risks Of Subletting?

If a tenant decides to sublet their room, there are a number of risks you need to be aware of;

Insurance and Mortgage

Some insurance and mortgage providers don’t allow subletting and ignoring this could lead to voiding your contract. It’s vital you avoid this at all costs by checking your agreement before allowing a sublet.

End of The Tenancy

If your original tenant decides to move out, but their subtenant is still living in your rental property, you may come up against issues. Evicting a tenant without a tenancy agreement can get complicated.

 

How Do You Sublet Safely? Tips for Landlords

Subletting doesn’t always spell disaster. In fact, it can be profitable for both landlord and tenant, solving common issues such as change of circumstance.

If you do decide to grant your tenant permission to sublet, here’s a few steps you can take to ensure your investment stays protected;

  • Ensure you are clear on the contents of the tenancy agreement and what it says about subletting. If there is no mention, you may want to add a clause to be on the safe side.
  • Spend time on tenant referencing to ensure you end up with reliable, trustworthy tenants.
  • Spend time getting to know your tenants and making a good impression. This way, they are more likely to come to you first if their circumstances change.
  • Carry out regular property inspections.

 

Protect Your Investment with No Letting Go

If you need a helping hand protecting your investment, we have teams of experienced inventory clerks across the country ready to support you.

We can provide regular property visits, every 3-4 months to ensure your property is being well maintained and tenants are fulfilling their contractual obligations.

In addition, a comprehensive inventory report is one of the best ways to protect your investment in the long term.

Interested in hearing more? Get in touch or visit our services page to find our property inventory packages.

From where to advertise, to creating an engaging listing, getting your marketing right is essential for making your property stand out from the crowd.

Effective advertising generates greater interest in your property, attracting the right target tenants and providing you with a wider tenant pool to choose from.

Here, we share our advice on how to advertise rental property so you can speed up the rental process, find the right tenants and secure maximum returns on your investment.

 

Where To Advertise My Rental Property?

Let’s start with where to advertise. With the internet becoming the preferred source for property searches, it makes sense for your property to have a strong online presence.

Here are your options;

 

Online Property Portals

Online property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla are very popular as they allow prospective tenants to narrow their search by location, size, price and much more.

Even high street lettings agents are turning to these sites to help get the properties on their books seen by a wider range of tenants.

Here’s a list of some popular property portals;

  • RightMove
  • Zoopla
  • Prime Location
  • On the Market

Most of these property portal sites don’t deal with private landlords directly. Instead you have two options;

  • Enlist the services of a high street lettings agent to post the listing for you
  • Use an online estate agent such as OpenRent or Upad

 

High Street Letting Agent

The benefit of advertising your property through a quality high street letting agent is that they will have the expertise and experience to market your property professionally and will take away the hassle of finding a tenant.

A letting agent will also conduct tenant referencing, property viewings and tenant checks which will save you a lot of time. However, this is often the more expensive option.

 

Online Letting Agent

When enlisting the services of an online letting agent, they will list your property for you on the relevant property websites and generate enquiries. You will still be able to meet potential tenants, conduct tenant referencing and choose the best fit yourself.

This is often cheaper than using a high street estate agent as there is just one fixed cost.

 

Social Media Platforms

Social media platforms such as Facebook are becoming a popular way of advertising and searching for rental properties, especially when it comes to finding rooms in shared houses.

The benefit of listing your property on social sites is that it is likely to reach wide audiences, as people can share with friends and comment directly on photos.

Lots of letting agents use social media to advertise the properties in their portfolio, or if you operate as a private landlord, you can create your own account. Join local online community groups to get your property seen by people looking for housing in the area and always reply to comments and enquiries.

 

How Do I Market My Rental Property Effectively?

Now we’ve looked at where to advertise, we now need to find out how. We’ve compiled a list of essential tips and advice to help rent your property to the right tenants, and fast;

 

Establish Your Target Tenant

The first step in the process is to establish your target tenant. Identifying a tenant profile will help tailor your marketing efforts to appeal to the right people.

For example, if you’re renting to students, make sure you advertise your property as furnished, or if you are targeting families, focus on space and the prevalence of schools in the area.

 

Calculate Your Rental Price

Next, you need to calculate a price bracket according to similar properties in the area and your target tenant’s income. Make sure you factor in maintenance costs, and any other outgoings.

Tip: When advertising on online property portals, take note of the price brackets of each site, and which price bracket your property will appear in. If you increase or decrease the rental price you could appear in a whole different price bracket and not be searchable to your target tenant.

 

Identify Your USPs

Your property’s USP or unique selling point is what makes it stand out from the competition, and what makes it attractive to your target tenant. It could be anything from a private garden or parking space to its proximity to local amenities such as schools and shops.

Whatever it is, make sure you highlight it in the description fields.

 

Include a Detailed Description

When it comes to writing a description for your property, you need to strike the right balance between engaging and informative.

Provide as much detail as you can about the property, including key features, the local area and USPs.

It’s best to start with a short, engaging paragraph describing the property as a whole, focusing on lifestyle aspects and the properties best bits. Then follow this up with a more detailed account of features, rooms and outside areas.

Always include the availability date and any other important details such as if bills are included.

Tip: If the property is furnished with quality furnishings and appliances, it may be worth incorporating some well-known brand names into the description. E.g, The modern kitchen features an LG fridge and Samsung washing machine.

 

Use Quality Photographs

Professional, good quality photographs are perhaps the most important factor when it comes to advertising your property. Be sure to include photos of each room, the exterior and any outdoor areas, paying particular attention to special features.

Try to take the photos on a sunny day to show your property in the best light and ensure everything is clean and tidy.

To maximise your properties potential, it’s worth investing in 360° property photography. 360° degree photography provides interactive, panoramic images that place the viewer in the footsteps of the photographer, bringing your property to life. These images can even be transformed into a virtual tour for remote property viewings!

The main thing to bear in mind is that first impressions count, and the images you provide will be make or break for many tenants.

 

Provide Details About Your Desired Tenant

As well as providing details for your tenants, it’s also a good idea to indicate what type of tenant you are looking for from the get-go. For example, state whether you allow pets or whether you are willing to rent to students. This will speed up the rental process by ensuring everyone is on the same page.

 

Respond Quickly

One you get an enquiry from a potential tenant, act fast. A swift reply will give a good impression and help secure a tenant as quickly as possible.

 

Ask For Help

Busy landlords have a lot to think about. That’s why it can pay to enlist professional services when advertising your property for rent.

We offer a range of property management services, all designed to help landlords, lettings agents and property professionals save time, streamline their processes and comply with regulations.

From 360° photography to help get your property noticed, to property viewings and comprehensive inventory reports, our teams across the UK are ready to help. Get in touch or browse our full list of property inventory services to find out more.

As a landlord, you’ll understand the importance of finding reliable tenants that pay the rent on time. One way to secure this is through comprehensive tenant reference checks. But what happens if a potential tenant fails their credit check?

Renting to tenants with bad credit doesn’t necessarily spell disaster. If the tenant ticks all the right boxes, there are ways to get around this issue and protect yourself and your investment.

 

What Is A Tenant Reference Check?

A tenant reference check helps landlords and letting agents decide if a tenant is likely to be reliable and pay each month’s rent on time.

In addition to a credit check, tenant referencing can look for;

  • Proof of identity
  • Proof of employment
  • Current salary
  • Bank statements
  • Proof of benefit claims
  • Right to rent in the UK
  • A previous landlord reference

 

What Is A Credit Check?

A credit check looks at the tenant’s credit report and financial history, spotting any times they have missed bill payments or have fallen into arrears. This is analysed to produce an individual credit score.

A credit score can range from around 0- 900 points, depending on the score system used. A good credit score could be anything above 750 points.

 

What’s The Minimum Credit Score A Landlord Should Accept For A Tenant?

An acceptable credit score will be dependent on the scoring system used, as they differ between referencing agencies. However, when a tenant’s credit score comes back as poor or very poor, you may want to think about asking some further questions.

 

What Causes A Bad Credit Scoring?

A poor credit score can be caused by a number of issues, some more concerning than others when it comes to potential tenants.

Here are a few of the more serious reasons for a poor credit rating;

 

Unpaid Debts

Naturally, being in debt can negatively affect a tenant’s credit score as it suggests that they struggle to manage their money and are not financially stable. If this issue is uncovered by a credit check, you may think twice about entering into a tenancy agreement.

 

Being Declared Bankrupt

This should set major alarm bells ringing for landlords as it suggests the tenant has had difficulty managing repayments in the past.

 

County Court Judgements

A County Court Judgment (CCJ) is when a tenant is forced to repay a debt by the courts. If this shows up, it’s not a great first impression.

 

Late Credit Card Or Loan Repayments

If a tenant has struggled to pay credit card repayments in time, this doesn’t bode well for rent payments.

 

There are also a number of issues that can affect credit scores that don’t necessarily mean a tenant will struggle with their finances;

 

Not Having A Credit History

One reason for a poor credit rating that is particularly common among younger tenants and students is not having a credit history at all. If the tenant has never taken out a credit card or loan and has never paid bills from their bank account, they won’t have a credit trail to check, resulting in a low score.

This is a likely occurrence if you rent to students or young adults who have just left home and doesn’t necessarily mean that the tenant will be bad at managing their money.

 

Only Making The Minimum Credit Card Repayments

Credit scores can be affected if the tenant only makes the minimum repayment on their credit card each month. The assumption is that they are struggling to keep up with all their outgoings, however this isn’t always the case.

 

Not Being On the Electoral Roll

Not updating addresses and personal information can affect credit score, as can not being on the electoral roll. This step is easily forgotten when moving house and doesn’t prove the tenant will be unreliable.

 

No Proof Of Address

If a tenant hasn’t been responsible for paying bills at their previous residence or were not named on the tenancy agreement, it can be difficult for the referencing agency to determine proof of address.

 

 

How Important Is Good Credit?

As we explored above, good credit isn’t the be all and end all when it comes to finding a good tenant. Equally as important is whether they fit your target tenant profile.

If you’ve been struggling to rent out your property or think the tenant will make a good fit, there are ways to get around bad credit.

 

 

How To Rent to Tenants With Bad Credit

Poor credit rating alone doesn’t mean you should give up on a tenant if they tick all the other boxes. Here are some ways to minimise risk;

 

Dig Deeper

The first thing to do when a potential tenant’s credit check comes back as poor, is to find out why. If it was down to late or missed payments it may be best to steer clear, however if it’s something as simple as a lack of credit history then it needn’t stop you from going ahead with the tenancy.

 

Ask To See Previous Rent Payments

Seeing proof of regular, timely rent payments for a previous rental arrangement will help to ease your concerns about their responsibility as a tenant.

 

Charge a Larger Deposit

If a tenant has a low credit score, it’s likely they will be prepared to pay a slightly larger security deposit to make up for it. This will give you extra leverage when it comes to recovering costs at the end of the tenancy.

 

Ask For A Guarantor

One of the best ways to protect yourself if a tenant has poor credit is to ask for a guarantor. A guarantor will be able to cover any costs if the tenant is unable to pay, giving you extra protection.

The guarantor will need to sign the tenancy agreement along with the tenant and have secure financial status.

 

Ask For A Previous Landlord Reference

One sure way to find out if a tenant is reliable is to ask their previous landlord.

Here are some questions to ask;

  • Did the tenant pay rent on time each month?
  • Did the tenant look after the rental property?
  • How often did the tenant raise issues with the landlord or letting agent?
  • Were any complaints received from neighbours regarding the tenant?
  • What condition did they leave the property at the end of the tenancy?
  • Would you feel happy renting to the tenant again?

 

Ask For Rent Upfront

While this may be a lot to ask and not always in scope, a tenant with a high risk credit score may be prepared to pay rent upfront. Paying the first six months of rent upfront will ease any initial worries and give the tenant time to prove their reliability.

 

Receive Payments By Direct Debit

Asking for rent payments via direct debit is common practice these days and is especially important if you’re concerned about a tenant’s financial responsibility.

 

Shorten The Tenancy

If you’re worried about the reliability of a tenant, setting a shorter, probationary rental period in which the tenant has time to prove their responsibility could be a good idea. If you experience late payments or other issues, you can terminate the tenancy early.

 

Talk To The Tenant

You can tell a lot from a frank, face-to-face conversation. If your potential tenant willingly discloses their credit issues and can provide a reasonable explanation for the low score, you will be much better placed to make an informed decision.

 

How To Organise A Tenant Reference Check

Although credit checks aren’t the only way to choose the right tenant, it is important to perform tenant referencing so you aren’t caught out further down the line.

As a busy landlord, you may want to delegate this task to a professional tenant referencing company. Placing this responsibility in the experienced hands of a recommended referencing company will minimise any risks and help the process go smoothly.

 

 

Protect Your Property With No Letting Go

In addition to choosing a reliable tenant, a comprehensive inventory is one of the best ways to protect your rental property.

At No Letting Go, we offer unbiased property inventory reports to help safeguard your property against damage and recover essential costs at the end of a tenancy. All the way through from Schedule of Condition, to check in and property visits, our property clerks are there to simplify the rental process and save you time.

Interested in hearing more? Head to our website to discover the full range of property management services we offer.

Budgets can be tough to manage for landlord and letting agents alike. Sometimes, property maintenance costs can eat into your finances dramatically.

From what’s involved to how to save, we offer insights and guidance on how to best manage budgets when undergoing maintenance on your property portfolio.

 

What Is Included In Maintenance Costs?

Before we go into budget management, we need to be clear on what maintenance costs are involved in renting a residential property.

Here’s a list of all the things to consider when it comes to maintenance;

 

Repair Costs

As a landlord, it’s your responsibility to fix any repairs needed resulting from normal wear and tear. This can include;

  • Repairing or replacing white goods and appliances
  • Fixing boiler issues
  • Repairing any electrical faults

 

Refurbishment & Decoration

Keeping your property looking fresh for new tenants is an important part of being a good landlord and attracting the right target tenants. It’s recommended that carpets are replaced every 5-7 years, and properties are fully redecorated every 3 years.

However, if your property is looking particularly lived in after a tenancy or you come across some questionable stains, you might need to redecorate more often.

Here’s what else is included in refurbishment and decoration;

  • Painting throughout
  • Replacing carpets or flooring
  • Replacing curtains
  • Replacing old, tired furniture items every 10-15 years
  • Replacing kitchen and bathroom fittings every 10-15 years

 

Exterior Maintenance

It’s not just the inside that needs attention. Staying on top of the exterior of your property can help ward off future structural issues and save money in the long run.

Here’s what it could include;

  • Replacing missing roof tiles
  • Clearing guttering
  • Garden fence maintenance
  • Window cleaning and repair

 

Interior Cleaning

Thorough cleaning is essential between tenancies, and you may also need to arrange for cleaning to be done during a tenancy. If the windows need cleaning for example, or if the property has suffered water damage.

 

Property Inspections

Particularly important during void periods, regular property inspections are an important part of maintenance for buy to let properties.

Inspections protect your property from theft, vandalism or damage from unnoticed leaks, preventing the need for extensive future repairs. We offer a professional vacant property inspection service to give you peace of mind that your investment is protected.

 

Gas Safety Certificates & Safety Checks

UK landlords have a legal requirement to arrange regular safety checks, including;

  • An annual gas safety inspection from a Gas Safe registered engineer
  • Electrical safety checks
  • PAT tests for white goods
  • Energy Performance Certificate
  • Ensure smoke detectors are present and working

 

Your Time

This cost is usually overlooked by most landlords, but the time you put into the maintenance of your portfolio really adds up. Particularly if you are balancing your duties as a landlord with another paid job, extra time spent on maintenance may mean losing out on wages.

If this is the case, it may be worth investing in a full management service from a property management company so you can swap a management fee for more time for other ventures.

 

How Much Does It Cost To Maintain A Rental Property?

 

Maintenance costs will vary depending on several factors;

  • Size of the property
  • Age of the property- older homes require more upkeep
  • Location of the property- service charges vary dependant on area
  • Type and number of tenants

For example, if you rent to students or large families, you may have to fork out more for accidental damage repair costs.

 

Landlord Maintenance Costs: How to Save Money

Now we’ve discussed what’s involved, it’s time to look at ways to save.

 

Choose Your Target Tenant Wisely

While finding tenants may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to maintenance, the tenant you choose could have an effect on your maintenance costs.

For example, as mentioned above, renting to students can result in more accidental damage as there tends to be more people living in one property, and tenants have a reputation for partying! Similarly, renting to tenants with pets is likely to involve more refurbishment at the end of the tenancy.

Deciding on your target tenant from the get-go is an important part of the process.

 

Act Fast When It Comes to Repairs

The quicker you act on repairs and maintenance tasks, the more popular you’ll be with tenants and the less likely they are to develop into serious issues. Usually, dealing with problems as soon as they arise means you can save money in the long run as you have time to think about the best possible solution.

Paying for maintenance costs early will also help you to manage your monthly budgets and keep on top of your spend.

 

Buy Quality Furnishings

Opting for the cheapest furnishings available isn’t always wise. The cost of replacing flimsy furniture every year is likely to add up to more than investing in quality in the first place. This is particularly true for mattresses, sofas and dining tables. Our blog on furnishing your rental property will help you with some handy tips.

 

Keep It Simple

When it comes to decorating your properties, more is less. You don’t need to go overboard to provide a comfortable home for tenants. Simple, modern furniture without too many frills will appeal to most and will be kinder on the budget.

Tip: Avoid painting everything white as it will require more upkeep. Neutral, mid-tones are much more forgiving.

 

Don’t Skimp on Landlord Insurance

Landlord insurance is essential when renting a property. Finding the right deal can help you save when things go wrong. Quality contents or accidental damage insurance will protect you in the case of weather damage or accidental spills.

Make sure you shop around for the best deals.

 

Check Council Tax Exceptions

If one of your rental properties is vacant for a period, or you are performing refurbishment that renders your property inhabitable, you may be eligible for Council Tax redemption. This will leave you with some extra cash to spend on essential repairs and decoration.

 

Landlord’s Energy Saving Allowance

By increasing the energy-saving potential of your property, you could save money that can be injected back into the maintenance budget.

By reinforcing insulation in your rental property, you could save a significant amount in tax.

 

Know When To Ask For Help

While rolling up your sleeves and getting stuck in can save on service fees, it’s not always the best option.

Botched DIY can end up costing more than the original problem, and when it comes to electrical or plumbing issues, professional is always best.

 

Get More Than One Quote

When you need to pick up the phone to a plumber or tradesperson, make sure you do your research.

Particularly important when it comes to bigger jobs, getting several quotes will help you find the most competitive price.

 

Invest In A Comprehensive Inventory Service

Compiling a comprehensive written and photographic list of all of the items and furnishings and their condition within your property is one of the best ways to recuperate maintenance costs at the end of a tenancy.

If there is any damage beyond normal wear and tear, it will be much easier to deduct the appropriate costs from the deposit.

A professional property inventory service provides an impartial account of your property and is delivered using high quality photography in a handy, easily accessible digital report.

 

Landlord Maintenance Responsibilities: Help From No Letting Go

The costs of being a landlord are wide ranging. From agent fees to mortgage interest, balancing your rental income with outgoing costs can be tough.

That’s why sometimes it pays to get some help. Whether it’s repairs and maintenance reports or inventory services, our teams of experienced clerks could help streamline your business so you can take control of your budget.

Browse our full list of property management services to find out how we can help.

It can be tricky to make your property stand out from the crowd in the saturated property sector. So, how can you take advantage of the latest in digital photography software to ensure your property is snapped up by the best tenants?

That’s where 360° property photography comes in. Our virtual photography service could be the difference between blending in and beating the competition.

If you’re looking to attract more viewings and get ahead of the curve with the latest in PropTech, find out what this service could offer.

 

What is 360° Degree Photography?

360° degree photography provides interactive, panoramic images that place the viewer in the footsteps of the photographer. This type of panoramic photography allows you to ‘look’ up, down and to the left and right of the image for a full 360° view.

Panoramic photos are transformed via 360 degree photography software to recreate a room or space. (You may have seen this being used in google street view on google maps)

 

What is a 360° Virtual Tour?

A 360° virtual tour replicates a standard property tour or house viewing through virtual reality, allowing the user to ‘visit’ properties from anywhere in the world. Users are able to explore each room of the property from the comfort of their living rooms via a connected device.

 

The Benefits of Virtual 360° Photography Tours

With most property searches starting online, it makes sense to present your property in its best light. From saving time to gaining trust, here’s what 360° technology could do for your business;

 

Exceptional Property Marketing

First impressions count and 360° photos could give your property the edge. High quality images make you and your business look professional, and the more detailed images available of your property, the more popular it will be with prospective tenants.

Bring your property to life and highlight its best features with a full, virtual tour and help potential tenants picture themselves living in your property by exploring each room in detail.

 

Gain Tenant Trust

There isn’t really anywhere to hide when it comes to virtual photography tours. By providing a realistic picture of your property and putting every part of the building on display, you will gain trust from tenants. Essential for starting the tenant relationship off on the right foot.

 

Remote Property Viewings

A virtual tour can be accessed from anywhere- all you need is a digital device.

Save time and resources by allowing prospective tenants to experience an immersive online property viewing from home. This benefits tenants and property professionals alike, as tenants won’t waste time visiting unsuitable properties and lettings agents will have a narrower, targeted tenant pool to focus on.

This service could also benefit landlords who live abroad or a long distance away from the properties in their portfolio, allowing them to inspect their investment from anywhere in the world.

 

Quick Turnaround

With a 24 hour turn around, our 360° virtual photography service can be delivered quickly, so you can stay ahead in the dynamic lettings industry.

 

Our Property Reporting Software

Our property reporting software, Kaptur, enables virtual tours to be embedded into any compliance report.

Kaptur has been developed specifically for busy property professionals looking to streamline their workload. From custom reporting to location mapping- Kaptur represents the latest in PropTech.

 

How Can 360° Virtual Tour Photography Be Used?

We’ve partnered with Eye Spy 360 to offer a nationwide service helping landlords, estate agents and property professionals market and manage their property portfolios.

Here’s an example of when virtual tours could be utilised;

  • Residential sales and lettings marketing
  • Insurance inspections
  • Block and property management inspections
  • Derelict building inspections
  • Property research projects
  • Inventory and schedule of condition of large properties
  • Commercial sales and leasing
  • Build to Rent projects

Whatever the type of property, a 360° virtual tour could be of service.

 

Property Photography and Floor Plans

In addition to standard property photography as part of your visual inventory report, we also offer floor plan services to add to your marketing literature and reporting.

All of the No Letting Go surveyors are highly trained according to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) guidelines, ensuring a professional service with accurate results.

 

360° Property Photography Prices

Interested in finding out more? Get in touch to book a survey or find out how we can incorporate a 360° virtual property tour into a regular No Letting Go report.

To discover how else we could help, browse our full list of property management services.

It’s a common question among new or soon-to-be landlords – do I need landlord insurance?

The short answer is yes. In addition to healthy investment returns, being a landlord comes with a lot of added risks and responsibility. To minimise this risk, investing in reliable insurance is essential.

Protecting your investment is paramount, but the jargon around landlord insurance can make it tricky to keep your facts straight.

We’ve curated a simple, yet comprehensive guide for landlords to help you get your head around landlord insurance and work out which type is best for you.

Here’s what it is, how it works and how to get it.

 

What is Landlord Insurance Cover?

Landlord insurance is a type of home insurance, specifically designed for rental properties. This broad term can include anything from contents insurance to rental protection.

Your policy could cover;

  • Damage to the property
  • Loss of rent
  • Damage to or loss of contents
  • Legal claims made against you by tenants

 

Is Landlord Insurance a Legal Requirement?

While landlord insurance isn’t a legal requirement, standard home insurance will not cover you for rental properties and going without could cost you dearly in terms of money, time and hassle.

 

Do You Really Need Landlord Insurance?

Often, you will need permission from your mortgage provider in order to let your property to tenants who will most likely require specialist insurance.

Legal issues aside, it’s always a good idea to protect your property as comprehensively as possible to protect both yourself and your investment.

 

What’s the Difference Between Home Insurance and Landlord Insurance?

Home insurance is designed to protect private homes from damage and loss. A rental property comes with a whole host of different issues. For example, as a landlord, you are less able to keep an eye on the day to day happenings in the property and have to rely on tenants to update you on any problems that occur.

Here’s a few of the differences between home and landlord insurance;

  • Home insurance only covers the owner/occupier if they are in need of alternative accommodation. Landlord insurance covers tenants in this situation.
  • Landlord insurance can cover you for loss of rent.
  • Landlord insurance can cover any legal costs needed as a result of your actions as a landlord.

 

Types of Landlord Insurance

Here, we provide a brief overview of the different types of landlord insurance available;

 

Landlord Buildings Insurance

Buildings insurance covers any damage caused to the building itself. This could mean damage from fire, flooding or even malicious damage caused by the occupants. Every insurance provider is different, so you’ll have to check which type of damage this covers.

We highly recommend getting buildings insurance, especially if you are the freeholder.

 

Landlord Contents Insurance

Contents insurance protects against loss or damage of goods and furniture within a property. So, if you are renting a furnished property, it could be a good idea. However, this type of insurance does not protect against normal wear and tear.

Different insurance plans offer various cover and allow you to insure different parts of your property. For example, communal areas in flats or shared accommodation. It won’t protect items belonging to tenants.

 

Accidental Damage Insurance

Accidental damage insurance comes under contents insurance and can cover the cost of anything from spills and stains to broken windows.

 

Landlord Rent Guarantee Insurance

Otherwise known as rental protection insurance or loss of rent insurance, this type of cover protects you if you are unable to rent out your property as a result of an insured event like a fire or flood.

 

Tenant Default Insurance

Tenant default insurance covers you if your tenant fails to pay rent for two months, covering the cost for up to eight months. You will need to conduct the proper credit checks at the start of the tenancy to be eligible.

 

Commercial Landlord Insurance

If you let to a third-party business, you will need commercial landlord insurance. Commercial buildings have different designs and purposes, meaning there are different risks attached.

Commercial landlord insurance can cover accidental damage, vandalism and rental income protection.

 

Landlord Liability Insurance

Also referred to as property owner’s liability cover, this type of insurance covers legal defence costs and expenses in the event your tenant has an accident and considers it your fault.

With this type of insurance, you’re looking at high limits, usually upwards of £1 million.

 

Legal Expenses Insurance

This covers legal expenses such as court costs when chasing up late tenant payments and gives you access to legal expertise.

 

Employers’ Liability Insurance

If you employ anyone else to work at one of your rental properties, say as a gardener or cleaner, you are required by law to have this insurance. Employers’ liability covers legal defence costs and awards made for any injuries, accidents or illness as a result of your negligence.

 

HMO Landlord Insurance

If you rent out an HMO property, the terms of your insurance cover will differ slightly from single occupancy homes.

Finding an insurance plan tailored to HMO properties could help you get the protection you need.

 

Alternative Accommodation Insurance

If your property becomes uninhabitable due to an insured event and the tenancy agreement requires you to provide alternative accommodation for your tenants, this type of insurance is a good idea.

 

Unoccupied Property Insurance

Unoccupied property cover can help during void periods or if you need to make renovations to your property. To qualify as unoccupied, a property usually has to be vacant for 30 days.

You will also need to arrange for regular vacant property inspections.

 

Multi-House Landlord Insurance

If you have several properties in your portfolio, it is probably worth taking out multi-property landlord insurance.

By including all of your properties on one policy, you could save money and time on paperwork and other processes.

 

Landlord Home Emergency Insurance

Boiler breakdown or serious leaks are a surprisingly common occurrence. Landlord home emergency insurance provides you with 24/7 access to emergency cover for plumbing, heating, power and security issues.

 

What Kind of Insurance do I Need for a Rental Property?

The type of insurance you’ll need depends on the type of property you rent and your specific needs as a landlord. We answer some common questions;

 

Do I Need Landlord Insurance If I Have Buildings Insurance?

In most cases, you will need to take out a specific insurance when renting out a property in addition to your home buildings insurance.

Some policies may allow you to amend your existing home buildings insurance to cover your activities as a landlord, however you may also want to take out extra insurance to cover all bases.

 

Do I Need Landlord Insurance if Renting to Family?

Yes. It is just as important to have insurance when renting to family members. You will need to draw up a tenancy agreement for legal purposes, even if it’s just a casual arrangement.

Renting to offspring or siblings may feel informal, but if they are paying you rent, you are legally regarded as their landlord and standard home insurance won’t cover you.

 

Do I Need Landlord Insurance If I Live in the Property?

Even if you live in the property, standard home insurance won’t protect you. Make sure you tell your lender that you live in the rental property when you take out the insurance. Again, you will need a tenancy agreement in place.

 

Do I Need Landlord Insurance for a Flat?

Renting out a flat is the same as renting a house when it comes to insurance.

The only difference with renting a flat is that you may not need buildings insurance if there is a freeholder arranging this. Be sure to inform them that you are renting out your flat so they can make any adjustments to their insurance policy.

 

Do I Need Landlord Insurance if Renting a Room?

Again, standard home insurance is unlikely to be valid when renting out a room in the same property you live in.

If you have a lodger, you will need a tenancy agreement in place for your landlord insurance policy.

 

What Does Landlord Insurance Cover?

Landlord insurance can cover a variety of different risks and situations, depending on your needs. The basics are buildings and contents cover, but you can add extra policies as you see fit.

We answer some common questions about landlord insurance cover;

 

Does Landlord Insurance Cover Accidental Damage?

Yes. If you want your insurance policy to cover accidental damage such as dodgy DIY or carpet stains, opt for accidental damage insurance to protect your property.

 

Does Landlord Insurance Cover Appliances?

Yes. Contents insurance covers white goods and appliances provided by you in the rental property.

 

Does Landlord Insurance Cover Tenant Injury?

Yes. To protect yourself against legal claims made by tenants, landlord liability insurance will provide legal defence costs and expenses.

 

Does Landlord Insurance Cover Unpaid Rent?

Yes. Tenant default insurance covers you if your tenant fails to pay rent for two consecutive months.

 

How Does Landlord Insurance Work?

Your first step in purchasing landlord insurance is to decide what type of cover you need. It’s possible to find a tailored policy suited to your individual needs and requirements. Whether you opt for basic cover (building, contents and liability) or go for comprehensive cover, make sure you read the fine print to find out exactly what’s included.

 

What is Sum Insured?

The sum insured is the amount an insurer will pay out for a claim. The higher the value of your rental property, the larger this amount will be. Make sure the sum insured is enough to rebuild your property, rather than focusing on its market value.

Calculating your rebuild cost accurately will ensure you don’t overpay for your insurance. There are online rebuilding cost calculators to help, although keep in mind, this will only provide you with an estimate rather than exact values.

 

Levels of Excess

You will also need to think about the amount of excess you are able to pay if you need to make a claim. Higher excess reduces the cost of your insurance and different claims can come with different levels of excess.

 

Be Prepared

Before you buy you will need to know;

  • Your rental property’s rebuild value
  • The level of excess you can pay
  • What type of cover you need

 

How to Claim Landlord Insurance

If you ever need to make a claim, make sure you do so as soon as possible. You will need to provide as much evidence as you can to get the best pay-out. This could include receipts, invoices and photographic evidence.

 

How Much Does Landlord Insurance Cost?

The cost of your landlord insurance will be dependent on a variety of different factors;

  • Location – Local crime rates and the probability of severe weather in a certain area will affect the cost of your insurance.
  • Type of tenants – Students, tenants with pets and those on housing benefits are deemed more of a risk by some insurers, meaning higher insurance costs.
  • Size of property – More tenants means higher costs.
  • Number of properties – Naturally, more properties mean more costs. Look for an insurer who offers portfolio property discounts.
  • Sums insured – Your insurance will cost more the larger your sums insured

 

Which is the Best Landlord Insurance?

To compare landlord insurance and get a landlord insurance quote, there are plenty of price comparison sites to reference.

Here are some popular landlord insurance providers;

  • AXA Landlord Insurance
  • Aviva Landlord Insurance
  • CIA Landlord Insurance
  • SAGA Landlord Insurance
  • Direct Line Landlord Insurance
  • Hamilton Fraser Total Landlord Insurance

Makes sure you shop around and do your research to get the best deal for you.

 

Protect Your Investment with No Letting Go

We understand the importance of protecting your rental property for the long-term success of your business.

A detailed property inventory is one of the best ways to secure your property by providing the critical evidence you need to recuperate costs. Find out more about our professional, unbiased property inventory service to get started.