looking for help
Search for a topic or select a category to find answers to some of our most asked questions.
That depends. If you are renting an unfurnished property then you only need buildings insurance. However, if you are letting a furnished or part-furnished property then you should insure your contents. Your tenants should have their own insurance for personal belongings and furniture that they keep at the property.
Homeprotect buildings insurance will cover lost rent (up to £30,000 per claim) if you or your tenants can’t live in the home due to an insured loss, such as fire, flood or escape of water. Rent is defined as the amount you’re expected to receive as a landlord as detailed within your tenancy agreement. If you’re a leaseholder of your property rent also includes ground rent which you are liable for. Policy terms and conditions apply.
When you rent out your property to a tenant, the tenancy agreement will usually be an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) unless you agree otherwise in writing, or the agreement is made outside the legislation governing ASTs.
In most cases, using an AST will mean that you have a guaranteed right to get your home back after six months should you need to. You can also charge rent at the current market rate and can repossess the property if your tenant falls behind on rent payments by at least two months (or 8 weeks). In addition, ASTs give you the power to evict any tenants that cause a nuisance to local people.
You will have to agree how long your AST will last with your tenant, either for a set period (or ‘fixed term’ as it is also known), or you can agree to leave it open ended.
An AST can be ended at any point after the initial six month period, assuming that any fixed term you originally agreed to is over. You are required to give your tenant a minimum of two months’ notice in writing, to let them know you want your property back and to give them time to make arrangements to vacate. If you have grounds to do so, you might also end the tenancy at any time. These grounds might include anti-social behaviour by the tenant or damage caused to your property, as well as the rent arrears as mentioned above.
Most tenants leave when asked to, but if they do not then you cannot evict them yourself. You would need to apply through the County Court, though in some cases you can use an accelerated possession procedure which does not entail attendance at a court hearing.
A property standing empty for no real reason can lead to the loss of a great deal of potential revenue, plus a property costs money whether it is occupied or not. Council tax and unoccupied house insurance are necessary expenditures, plus you will need to invest in measures to prevent dilapidation and take additional security precautions. You also run the risk of vandalism, squatting, neighbourhood complaints and an elevated risk of accidental fire or arson occurring.
You will be responsible for undertaking repairs and maintaining the premises’ heating, hot water, basins, baths and other sanitary installations. You will also need to ensure that the gas and electrical appliances provided are safe to use and that all furniture/furnishing you provide are fire safe. Your tenant is responsible for paying rent to you at the rate you agreed upon, usually paying for council tax and utilities unless you include them in the rent agreement. They are also responsible for taking proper care of your property.
The difference between a residential and a commercial landlord is to do with the type of property they let out and is not whether their activities as a landlord constitute their full-time occupation or not.
Residential landlords let out homes, which are also known as ‘residential properties’. Commercial landlords let out properties that are used for commercial purposes such as shops or offices.
You can take out landlords buildings insurance and landlord contents insurance for flats that you let out. Landlords need to take out a separate policy for each flat. Note that, in general, the owner of the freehold of a set of flats will probably have buildings insurance for the entire building.
Homeprotect landlord buildings insurance can cover freehold properties that contain up to six leasehold flats provided that at least one freeholder uses one of the flats as their permanent home.
A house of three stories or more, and occupied by five or more people who are not related, is classed as a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO). You will need to obtain a license through your local council to lease this property legally.
Find out more about HMOs for landlords.
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is necessary whenever a qualifying property is built, sold or let out. A qualifying property are defined as a self-contained property with its own bathroom and kitchen facilities. Landlords are responsible for having an EPC in place for every property that they let out.
Sadly this can happen. Tenants may refuse to pay rent if they are disgruntled or experiencing financial difficulties, or they may suddenly leave without giving proper notice.
If you purchase our Legal Expenses for Landlords cover option, you are covered for legal costs and expenses to recover rent owed by your tenant for the property if it has been overdue for at least one calendar month. You are also covered for legal costs and expenses if a repossession action is required.
In addition, if you have purchased the Rent Guarantee option, you are covered for:
- 100% of your rent arrears – for a limited period – while your tenant or ex-tenant still occupies your property
- 50% of your rent arrears – for a limited period – while your property is vacant (following repossession) if you need to repair it before it can be re-let
Rent arrears are payable 30 days in arrears. Policy terms and conditions apply.
You should always seek legal advice if you believe your property has been abandoned. The best way to keep yourself legally protected is by obtaining a Possession Order, so you can take back ownership of the property and lease it again. Landlord’s house insurance will need to be secured and maintained even after abandonment, and even though the home is vacant.
In theory, yes. However, it is a recent law that you should check a person’s immigration status before leasing a room. Checking that they have the right to live in the UK is a law which the Government imposed on private landlords in December of 2014. Visit gov.uk for more information on the right to rent.