The last few years have seen an increase in the number of private landlords, as the letting market has grown and banks have made it easier to buy to let. Being a landlord entails a lot of legal responsibility and no matter how careful you are, it is always possible that something could go wrong. That is why it is important to have landlord protection against compensation claims.
First and foremost, staying out of trouble is about keeping your properties in a good state of repair. You should make sure it is easy for your tenants to communicate with you, so that they can let you know about any problems, and you should always do repairs as soon as possible. In reality, though, there are many unpredictable factors in the rental business and the money will not always be there for repairs when you need it. This is why you need proper protection to ensure you do not find yourself in trouble.
A good landlord insurance policy is essential for safe letting and will make life more secure for both you and your tenants. It is always worth going for a specialist landlord insurance policy, because a standard house and contents policy will leave you unprotected in several areas. Critically, house and contents cover will not protect a landlord against compensation claims by injured tenants and it will not include employers’ coverage, meaning that if anyone is injured while doing work for you, you could find yourself thousands of pounds out of pocket.
It is generally recommended that landlords be insured for around £2M with a fairly low excess, so that they can afford to make repair and replacement claims for smaller items as required. You may flinch at purchasing a policy like this, but it is dangerous to be underinsured and you need, first and foremost, to make sure you protect the value of your biggest business asset – the property you own.
It is important for a landlord to have protection against compensation claims, because there are several ways through which these can arise. If you have been given notice of a problem by your tenants and have failed to fix it in what the court considers to be a reasonable amount of time, you will normally be legally responsible for any injury that results. This can include things like tenants becoming ill due to persistent damp. It also includes injuries that happen to people visiting your tenants.
A lot of the work involved in maintaining property carries a risk of serious injury. If you have taken all the proper precautions, you may be okay, but this requires learning a lot of complex health and safety rules and you can be in trouble if you make a mistake. You might also face problems if you have done everything right but simply cannot prove that you have.
Getting a good insurance policy can set your mind at rest. It means you will be better equipped to prevent problems occurring and safe from financial trouble if they do.
Date Published: September 26, 2013
Author: David Brown