There is a lot said about so-called ‘landlords from hell’; newspapers publish features of bullying landlords and television stations run shows all about the plight of tenants.
However, what about the other side of the rental agreement?
Tenants can be troublesome too; in fact, there are more disruptive tenants out there than there are bad landlords. There are dozens of articles online advising tenants of their rights and how to protect themselves from landlords, yet there is virtually nothing on how landlords can protect themselves from tenants – how a landlord inventory and insurance can be used to give a property owner protection.
In this post, we are siding with the landlord and looking at how you can protect yourself from troubling tenants.
As a landlord renting out a property to tenants is largely based upon trust. While references can be sought and background checks can be done to try to determine the history and character of a tenant, ultimately you put your trust in them to respect the property and look after it during their stay.
One of the rights that a landlord must provide a tenant is to allow them to live undisturbed in a property. Unfortunately, the tenant can often abuse this right and your property could be being dismantled without your knowledge. A tenant could be knocking down walls, selling appliances or renting out a spare room without your knowledge. To protect yourself from any such instances, it is advisable to have landlord insurance in place.
Given that you must keep a property in a good state of repair at all times, landlord insurance is pretty useful to have anyway – covering you for damages and any rent that is lost due to repairs being carried out.
In the event of a dispute with a tenant, landlord insurance will also cover legal expenses – both in the event of a tenant taking action against you and you attempting to evict a tenant.
Landlord insurance is based upon the cost of a home being rebuilt in the event that it is completely destroyed, therefore you should consider the building sum insured (BSI) factor and include the actual cost of the build, clearance costs, and surveyor fees when calculating how much insurance you need. Complete landlord insurance should include:
- building and contents insurance
- liability insurance
- alternative accommodation cover
- loss of rent cover
- emergency assistance cover
- rent guarantee cover
- legal cover.
Since the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) scheme was launched back in 2007, landlords are required to protect the deposit of a tenant through a government-backed scheme. This has meant landlords and no longer able to control a deposit and tenants have more power to challenge the withholding of their money. Backed by this scheme, more and more tenants are taking on landlords even when they know they are in the wrong – the only way to protect yourself from this is with a landlord inventory.
An inventory is a detailed report of the contents and condition of a property. This document contains written and visual evidence of everything related to a property and must be signed by both landlord and tenant, forming part of the legally binding tenancy agreement contract.
A landlord inventory should be carried out just before a tenancy starts and just before a tenancy ends and offers a hassle free way to assess any damages and decide what, if anything, should be paid for out of a deposit. If you are worried about how tenants may be treating a property, it is advisable to also carry out a landlord inventory during the tenancy.
Remember, when it comes to a tenancy, it is your property and your investment and you should do everything you can to protect it. A landlord inventory and landlord insurance are both reccomended but it also helps finding the right tenants in the first place with online services such as Rentonomy and Upad helping landlords do just that.
Photo source – flickr: Chris Potter