As many as one in three landlords in the UK have seen their property damaged by a tenant in the last year, according to new figures.
The National Landlords Association (NLA) found 29 per cent of those letting a property have experienced a problem with the state of a rental home, with almost one in ten (eight per cent) having to make an insurance claim as a result.
Landlords are currently spending an average of five per cent of their rental income on paying for specialist landlord insurance premiums - and four per cent of landlords have spent in excess of ten per cent of their income on insurance.
These figures could be set to rise, as Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced in his recent Budget statement that insurance premium tax will increase from six per cent to 9.5 per cent in November.
Carolyn Uphill, chairman of the NLA, explained property damage can be an extremely costly issue for landlords, particularly if the cost of repairs is higher than the amount held as a tenancy deposit.
There are a number of issues that could hit landlords in the pocket, such as damage to walls and carpets, broken appliances and faulty windows or doors.
“We hear time and time again from landlords who have suffered because they failed to properly vet their tenants before granting a tenancy, and it’s alarming just how many landlords find out the hard way that their basic home insurance policy doesn’t provide the cover they need,” she stated.
One way to ensure tenants are vetted prior to moving into a property is for landlords to instruct a quality letting agent that will carry out this task on their behalf.
Another benefit of doing this is that a professional letting agent - such as Leaders - will make regular visits to a property that is being fully managed throughout a tenancy in order to make sure it is being looked after by its occupants. As well as any obvious problems, Leaders' property inspectors are trained to spot the signs of a home potentially falling into disrepair and will act as early as possible.
It is also crucial that landlords prioritise the purchase of a comprehensive and specialist landlord insurance policy.
“It’s vital to have the right policies and protections in place and landlords should ensure they carry out crucial tenant checks prior to letting their properties,” Ms Uphill added.
Not all policies carry the same level of protection and some landlords make the mistake of investing in a normal home insurance policy and later find it does not provide cover for all the issues they may face, or in some cases provides no cover at all for let properties. That is why it is important for landlords to secure a specialist product designed to meet their needs.
Our insurance partner Hepburns Insurance is able to offer tailored, high-quality landlord policies at competitive rates.
For more information on letting a property and how we can help or on buying the right landlord insurance policy, please contact your local branch.