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.
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
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.
The way you do your taxes is changing.
Say goodbye to piles of paperwork, the tax system is having a digital makeover.
Although changes to routines can be worrying, these alterations are being implemented to make life easier for businesses and self-employed individuals. The proposed scheme to completely digitise the tax system by the end of 2020 aims to make taxes more accurate, efficient and easier to manage.
As a landlord, you’ll need to be aware of these changes and how they affect you, in order to prepare for digital taxes becoming mandatory in April 2019. Here’s everything you need to know about making tax digital for landlords.
What is MTD?
Making Tax Digital, or MTD, is a government scheme to overhaul the tax system to make it completely digital by the end of 2020. This means that from April 2019, VAT tax records and VAT returns will be managed online.
Will MTD Affect Me?
Any VAT-registered business with a taxable turnover above the VAT threshold will have to make these changes.
So, if you are a landlord with an annual rental income of over £10,000, then the MTD changes will apply to you from April 2019. With UK rental prices rising, this is likely to affect most landlords in the UK.
The Making Tax Digital timeline commences on the 1st April 2019, when the changes will become mandatory for all customers, excluding a small number of customers with complex requirements which are being deferred until October 2019. (These types of customers include trusts, non-profits and public sector groups).
The new process will require self-employed individuals and landlords to:
- Use specific software or apps to keep track of their records
- Update HMRC every quarter through a new digital tax account
- Provide a full annual declaration at the end of each year
Further information can be found in the Finance Act, 2017.
The Income Tax Pilot Scheme
The government already has an income tax pilot scheme in place, which self-employed businesses or landlords can use voluntarily.
This scheme allows users to test out the MTD compatible software to store their digital records and send income tax updates to HMRC in place of filing a self assessment tax return.
Voluntary users can choose from a number of software options, sending a summary of income and expenses to HMRC every 3 months and sending a full report at the end of the year. You can even pay bills as you go and ask your accountant or bookkeeper to send the updates for you.
A Closer Look at the HMRC Making Tax Digital Scheme
Many landlords already choose to manage their taxes and accounts digitally through cloud based apps and software programmes.
Once the changes come in, these methods and software applications will need to follow new regulations. HMRC are not building their own software programme but will provide a list of approved software companies, some of which will be free of charge. You will still be able to use your current software system, as long as it complies with the new system.
Users will be required to communicate with HMRC via their Application Programming Interface (API) platform and submit VAT returns using information from these digital records.
This software should be able to calculate your return automatically- saving a whole lot of time and effort.
If you currently use spreadsheets to manage your taxes, it may be worth switching to a software solution now. Although spreadsheets are allowed if they comply with the new regulations, it might cost you more money to produce quarterly reports.
Your digital tax account will allow you to view and access all of your tax information in one handy place online. An agent services account grants accountants or other financial professionals you may employ access to relevant tax details.
Is the MTD Scheme Compulsory for Landlords?
Unless your annual income from your rental property and trade combined is under £10,000 or you are unable to partake in digital programmes due to disability or age, this change is compulsory.
It is expected that late fines will be implemented if you fail to file reports on time once the scheme is established.
MTD for Multiple Properties
If you are a landlord of multiple properties, you will only be required to provide income and expenditure for your investments as a whole.
However, it’s best to keep a record of individual properties to manage and assess the income of various rental properties you may own.
The Benefits of MTD for VAT
According to the latest edition of the tax gap report, there was a gap of around £33 billion in the last tax year! This clearly shows that something isn’t right and suggests that lots of people are making errors when it comes to submitting their records.
By digitising the way tax records are stored and reported to HMRC, the scheme hopes to make tax reporting far more accurate and easier for stakeholders to complete. Sending this information directly to HMRC online will hopefully minimise any mistakes that currently occur during the exchange of information.
For busy landlords who manage multiple properties, it can be hard to stay on track of receipts and invoices. Implementing a digital system which allows you to add information on the go via mobile applications will help prevent taxable claims from escaping.
The digital system will also allow you to see approximately how much tax you owe ‘as you go’ rather than waiting to find out at the end of the tax year.
By seeing all of your reports for individual properties in one place, it will be easier to manage your portfolio and determine which properties generate the best return.
Get Ready for Making Tax Digital with No Letting Go
To sum up, from the beginning of April 2019, landlords will be required to use MTD compatible software to manage their tax records, updating HMRC every 3 months and providing an annual declaration.
Although the end result aims to make managing taxes more efficient, there’s likely to be some teething problems at the start.
To prepare yourself for this shift, it’s best to start early. Make sure your current software is compatible, and if not, plan which system to use. Staying organised across the whole of your property management processes is key to ensuring a smooth transition.
No Letting Go provide professional, accurate property reports to help landlords and property professionals keep track of their investments.
To see the full range of reports we provide, browse the No Letting Go Services section on our website.
No Letting Go are delighted to welcome their 55th franchisee into the team. Mansoor Zaman is opening a No Letting Go branch in Kensington and Chelsea this month, and he can’t wait to get started. Mansoor was looking for the ideal opportunity to build his own business, and the combination of a business sector he was familiar with, plus the strong brand and reputation of No Letting Go, made it an obvious choice for him.
Mansoor is currently undergoing training in the NLG Training Academy and he’s looking forward to rolling his business out within the coming weeks. He has previously worked within lettings, and was really impressed with the quality of service when he used the No Letting Go franchisees in the Docklands area. This led to him exploring the business model and wanting to get involved himself.
“I can see great potential for providing an excellent service to letting agents, property managers and landlords within this area,” said Mansoor. “It’s exciting starting my own business, but with the backup of a strong brand and great support behind me.”
Are you interested in following Mansoor’s example and starting your own business in property services? The lettings market is exciting and growing, and at No Letting Go we’re always looking for the right people to work with. We’ll provide you with the support you need to be successful, and if you’re interested then we’d love to hear from you. Take a look at our short video below to discover the benefits of being a No Letting Go franchisee, and get in touch with a friendly member of our team today to find out more.
David Pulford is one of our newest franchisees. Having spent some time with Tony Mundella and going out on a few jobs with Phil Harris in the Black Country, David took the plunge and joined No Letting Go.
A highly self motivated and resourceful individual, David has past experience of running his own business. He has been self employed since 1992 and in that time has owned his own restaurant as well as white goods company with three shops. In addition to this, David has rented out the apartments on his shops as well as a HMO house which provides a relevant background for his next adventure with No Letting Go.
David has said that he learnt as much from his failures as his successes with regard to previous businesses and it excited to put these lessons to use with his latest venture. The last 18 months have been geared towards finding a viable franchise that could become a real success in the coming years and much deliberation led David to us. With changes to pension regulations, the property market is set to go from strength to strength in the coming years which was one of the factors that swung David’s decision to kick start his own No Letting Go business.
We’re delighted to welcome Garry Lockwood to the No Letting Go family as our newest franchisee who will be developing his business across Sutton and Merton. He first came across NLG having bought and renovated some rental properties in Kent. He used No Letting Go in Gillingham to inventory those properties and was so impressed with the service he decided to investigate taking out a franchise for himself.
Garry said,”I was looking for a fresh challenge and having taken the step into property, the inventory business interested me and was a natural extension of that.” Garry originally had a career in the field of PR having worked within some of the largest London agencies. He set up his own company a few years ago supporting European tech companies before getting into rental property.
Having grown up in Hull and attending University in Wales, Garry has gradually migrated south. Father to a son aged 14, he lives in Sutton with his partner. His guilty pleasure is diving including cave diving; he’s not long returned from a three week trip to Mexico indulging this passion.
On joining NLG Garry said, “I have been very impressed with the training I have received and before that, when I met Tony and spoke with other franchisees, I got an extremely positive overall impression of the company. I’m very pleased with the level of support, everyone seems very helpful. Sutton particularly has a lot of flats and rental property so I’m hoping I’m going to be kept busy.
We’re working hard keep up with the demand for our services – says CEO Nick Lyons. With new franchisees in Bath, West London, Stockport, Manchester and Gloucestershire bringing the number to 43 offices, Nick says there has never been a better time to get into property services through a successful franchise network.
“Perhaps the saying ‘ an Englishman’s home is his castle’ no longer applies,” says Lyons. “The UK is fast becoming a nation of renters; research indicates that by 2021 renters will outnumber homeowners across the capital and this trend extends countrywide with projections that 39% of the UK’s population will be renting by then.”
The market is being further supported by an increase in applications for buy-to-let mortgages, rising a fifth since last year and 3% since June.
This continued growth has meant No Letting Go’s services are in great demand, which means potential franchisees have an opportunity to become part of this fast growing sector and capitalise on this trend with the market’s leading brand.
“Our tablet based reporting and online inventory management system allows already busy lettings agents and property managers to order and manage property reports online field in real-time whilst maximising profits for the franchisee. It’s become more important than ever to be able to deliver an efficient, reliable service combined with detailed and accurate reports. We believe that we are unrivalled in delivering this.” added Nick “For those who are keen to grow a successful business in the property sector the time has never been better to join the No Letting Go network. Exciting times are ahead.”
For more information on No Letting Go please contact Gary Claven on 07475 526111 or visit www.nolettinggo.co.uk