Our Range Of Residential Property Services
Ferguson Green have access to several specialist landlords insurance schemes designed for a wide range of properties and tenant types:
- Single domestic properties
- Small blocks of flats
- Shared housing
- Bed sits
- Holiday homes – UK and Certain European Countries
- Persons receiving housing/ disability benefit
- Tenants supplied by the local authority
- Asylum seekers
Landlords should be careful when arranging cover for their buy to let property. Most standard home insurance policies are ineligible and specific cover should be arranged. Unfortunately, whilst it is relatively easy to find these online, the cover provided even by the big names isn’t always what you would expect. The saying ‘you get what you pay for’ isn’t always the case and it’s easy to find yourself trapped without the right cover when the time comes to make a claim.
There are some key cover differences to look out for. The ‘Accidental Damage’ section doesn’t sound like it actually gives much more cover, after all, how much damage can you do to your own property? In reality though, this section goes far beyond what you might expect. In fact, it almost turns the policy cover on its head. Instead of a ‘standard’ policy which covers you for the usual list of things like, storm, theft, flood etc., it extends the cover by saying everything else is also covered, except for certain exclusions. Alas, this doesn’t mean it’s a free way to get that new kitchen or bathroom you fancied, the exclusions for wear and tear and so on, are still there. However, have you had a sudden water ingress from a leaky roof you didn’t know was bad? The roof was just old and thus there’s no cover for it. However with ‘Accidental Damage’ the resultant water ingress is not excluded and therefore now covered.
Another section that has proven an issue for many is when tenants get up to no good. ‘Malicious Damage by tenants’ is frequently excluded by many of the cheaper policies. In our experience, we have found this to be an invaluable section and indeed can often lead to repair bills behind only floods and fire damage in seriousness. Alongside this comes problems such as ‘cannabis farms’. Decent insurers usually allow some cover in these areas, although are typically accompanied by an inspection warranty. These usually require the landlord to conduct a check on the property every three months and keep a log (ideally with photos) of each check.
‘Property owners liability’ and ‘subsidence’ cover are almost universal and indeed essential, but surprisingly some very big name insurers make them paid-for options. Some inexperienced landlords may thus be ‘tricked’ into thinking they’re not too important, but again these can lead to very expensive and stressful situations. Claim and blame solicitors are still very keen to help individuals pursue large pay-outs for trips and falls. Subsidence claims usually have large excesses of at least £1,000 and this shows that repair costs are almost always far higher than this.
Other sections you may wish to consider include:
Day 1 inflation protection
Protects you against large inflationary increases over a period of time. If your building is a considerable construction, it may take a great deal of time before it can be re-built. Over a period of two or three years, the original estimate for re-building cost may have increased dramatically. This cover is not always automatic to policies and should be considered.
Loss of rent
You can insure for rent that is lost following an insured event. For example, if your property is substantially damaged by fire, your tenant will almost certainly be able to withhold payment under a standard lease agreement until the damage is put right. As with Day 1 inflation protection, it may run into years before a property will be usable once more and cover beyond the standard 12 months should also be considered.
Terrorist events are fortunately relatively infrequent, although insurers now exclude it completely from cover. Terrorism cover is available via your property insurer, underwritten through the Government initiative, ‘Pool Re’. Cover is not selective however and if you require terrorism cover for a single property, Pool Re stipulate that it must also be purchased for all your properties. Terrorism cover is also available independently through certain Lloyd’s underwriters, without this stipulation.
Several types of equipment should have regular checks to ensure they do not pose a health & safety risk. Whilst most of these are not typically present in a domestic property, passenger lifts or even dumb waiters must have a regular, documented, inspection schedule.
This section is occasionally overlooked by property owners and it is the only section typically available under a property policy that is specifically required by law. If you don’t employ anyone, then naturally you don’t need to worry about it. Employment law however, can be quite complicated and there are many circumstances where you are considered to be the employer, even when using contractors. See https://www.gov.uk