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Protect Your Rental Property From Opportunistic Thieves

Protect Your Rental Property From Opportunistic Thieves

Help tenants protect your rental property
whilst they are on holiday

The last 2 weeks in August are usually one of the busiest times of the year for people taking holidays, and tenants in rented accommodation are no exception.

However, it is also a very popular period for opportunistic thieves too, according to price comparison website, Gocompare.com, who reckon that 1 in 5 homes in the UK have been subject to vandalism or theft from gardens whilst the occupants were away on holiday and the average value of possessions either damaged or stolen equates to just over £300 (GBP), however, in 16% of UK insurance claims, damage or theft losses totalled over £500 (GBP).

There are a couple of things that you, as the landlord can do to ensure the continued security of your rental property, such as

  • Make sure your Landlord Insurance is valid and up to date
  • Install security lighting
  • Use thorny or prickly plants at boundary edges, such as Roses or Pyrancantha for defensive planting
  • Repair any broken fences or boundary gaps to deter opportunist thieves.

If you know that your tenants are going away on holiday, there are a few simple tips you can help them with that can stop them avoid becoming victims of opportunistic thieves

  • Ask tenants to ensure they have Tenants Contents Insurance in place
  • Make sure all doors and windows are locked and secure
  • Where practical, put lights on automatic timers to make it appear that someone is home.
  • Ask neighbours to keep an eye and an ear on the property, better still ask a neighbour that the tenant trusts to go in and open and close curtains and switch on random lights at different times of the evening.
  • If the property is alarmed, put it on and inform the neighbours, but make sure they have the landlords contact details in case it goes off.
  • Lock sheds and entrances to the garden.
  • Pack away any garden tools or equipment and make sure they are well out of sight
  • Secure expensive plants with wire pegs dug into the ground around the root ball
  • Use a security pen to mark valuable items, like plant pots, garden furniture, ornaments or garden play items such as trampolines, with the postcode of the property.

According to the research carried out by GoCompare, the top five items stolen or damaged from gardens were:

  • Bicycles (20%)
  • Garden sculptures or ornaments (16%)
  • Trees or shrubs (15%)
  • Garden furniture (12%)
  • Lawn mowers (8%)

To emphasise the point about needing landlord insurance, below are some statistics compiled about 2012 burglary hotspots, by postcode.

Burglary Hotspots in 2012
Burglary Hotspots in 2012

Don’t become another statistic, act now
and get the best price for your Landlord Insurance

What Lord Freud Had Say To The RLA

What Lord Freud Had Say To The RLA

Welfare Reform Minister Speaks Out On Universal Credit

Controversial welfare reform minister Lord Freud has spoken exclusively to Residential Property Investor magazine, published by the Residential Landlords Association.

Universal Credit was originally intended to be a fundamental reordering of the UK’s welfare and state benefit system, however when policy guidelines were announced, the reforms dealt private rental sector landlords a cruel blow, as it was decreed that landlords with tenants claiming local housing allowance (LHA) would no longer receive direct payments, even if they believed that the tenant was in an extremely vulnerable position.

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Landlords Still Concerned About LHA Tenant Rent Arrears

Landlords Still Concerned About LHA Tenant Rent Arrears

LHA Tenant Rent Arrears
Are Landlords Worse Case Scenario

The UK private rented sector may be booming and tenant demand is certainly strong but 60% of landlords and letting agents are still concerned about ever receiving the rent if they choose to accept tenants in a rental property who are claiming Local Housing Allowance.

A survey of 500 landlords and letting agents by website Dssmove found that apart from the rent issue, 75% of landlords and agents would be more than happy to let to Local Housing Allowance tenants.

Over half of the landlords and letting agents surveyed believed that tenants claiming Local Housing Allowance are no more troublesome than working tenants, but 61% cite rent collection and rent arrears as a major concern.

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Landlords Risk Losing Insurance Claims

Landlords Risk Losing Insurance Claims

UK Buy to let landlords have been warned not to try and make false economies by attempting to make savings on their annual insurance premiums.

The warning has come from Michael Portman, managing director of tenancy referencing and insurance firm Let Risks. He says that in the current financial climate, landlords are trying to keep their premiums low to make savings.

The result, he says, is that there has been a large rise in the number of private rental sector (PRS) properties that are “significantly under-insured”.

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Having The Correct Insurance Saves Money

Having The Correct Insurance Saves Money

Landlords are being urged to reassess any insurance policies they may already have taken out, in order to avoid the possibility of underinsurance, after one poor unsuspecting landlord was left more than £100,000 (GBP) out of pocket.

The landlord unfortunately suffered a fire in the block of flats he owned and submitted a claim for nearly £400,000 before realising that his insurance policy didn’t cover anywhere near that amount.

As a consequence he received less than £300,000 (GBP) and had to find the remaining money himself.

This may appear to be a particularly extreme example of underinsurance and highlights the importance of ensuring that Landlord Insurance liability is sufficient to cover the full value of rebuilding the property.

In the current financial climate, it is more crucial to look at the levels of cover rather than the bottom line premium.

  • 10% of all fire claims are due to tenants smoking in rental property
  • 5% are due to candles
  • 5% are due to faulty electrical wiring.

The statistics also show that Houses Of Multiple Occupation (HMO’s) are more likely to suffer an insurance claim for fire damage than a family home.

Landlord Night mare as tenant causes malicious damage to property

Investing in specialist Landlord Insurance is vital for UK Landlords

Investing in a specialist landlord insurance policy is something all buy-to-let property owners should do, but it is the one vital area where people mistakenly try to curb their financial expenditure, it has been claimed.

The statement comes at a time when a recent Paragon Mortgages report revealed that during the last 3 months, UK BTL landlords have increased the size of their rental property portfolio’s by an average of 1.8 properties each.

Sim Sekhon, spokesman for Legal4Landlords explains: “Property investors put a lot of time and effort into finding the right properties for their Buy-To-Let property portfolio’s and need to ensure that they have the right insurance cover in place to adequately protect their property assets. If property investors choose the wrong insurance policy, it can have disastrous financial consequences as they discover that they are not covered for malicious damage. Standard buildings insurance cover will not protect landlords in the event of malicious damage to the property by tenants or any loss of rent if the tenants leave unexpectedly. Unfortunately landlords only discover that their insurance is completely inadequate after they try to claim, leaving them with damaged property and a huge bill to make it habitable again. A situation that many landlords simply cannot afford to be in. Landlords should always read the small print and make sure they are comprehensively covered by a specialist landlord insurance policy”.

Regular home insurance will not cover a residential property unless the owner actually resides at the property.

Many residential buildings insurance policies actually state in the small print that the policy will be deemed void if the property is used for rental purposes, so it is vital landlords get the correct level of insurance cover.

Landlord insurance provides a more comprehensive level of protection and it is important that all property investors who are landlords of buy-to-let properties invest wisely in it.

Laura Howard from Moneysupermarket.com explained how a good landlord’s insurance policy should include third-party liability in case of damage caused to the structure of a property by a tenant and includes covering the cost of re-housing tenants if a fire or flood makes the rental property uninhabitable.

Ms Howard also advised landlords to make sure the policy takes in to account any furniture provided by the property owner and provides liability cover in the event that a tenant or their visitor is injured at the property and claims against the landlord.

The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) advises landlords that failing to seek permission from or not informing their current mortgage provider that the property is to be rented out could also invalidate any subsequent claim.

Tenants caught attempting green fingered financial return

Green Fingered Tenants Void Landlord Insurance as Buy to let targeted by drug gangs

Landlords looking to squeeze every last penny of profit from rental properties may have made the wrong decision when it comes to choosing the right insurance for their rental properties.

Only to find that when they need to make a claim they are either not covered for it or worse still their insurance is actually null and void.

Cheapskate landlords may have taken what they thought was the easy and cash saving option and instead of choosing a specialist Buy-To-Let or Landlord insurance policy, they fulfilled their legal obligation to their mortgage lenders by taking out a cheaper standard Homeowner’s “Buildings Only” insurance policy.

Every day in the UK another unfortunate landlord becomes the victim of crime. From anti social tenants to drug producers, who do not respect the law, the landlord’s rental property, or anything else, including the consequences of their actions, often causing many thousands of pounds worth of damage to the landlords property in the process.

Damage that may not be covered by some insurance policies.

Due to the economic squeeze on many UK household’s finances, the opportunity to make a quick buck has become an increasingly attractive proposition for some members of society, even if that means breaking the law.

Recent reports suggest that an increasing number of tenants in Private Rental Sector (PRS) properties are attempting growing cannabis or marijuana as their way to try and cash in.

The emergence of Buy To Let cannabis farming was first reported in 2003, when increasing numbers of buy-to-let properties up and down the country began to be targeted by gangs of cannabis farmers looking to house their criminal activities.

The gangs would present bogus identity credentials and references and have the cash to cover the rent, the landlord would be fooled into thinking that they had found perfect tenants, only to get a call or knock on the door from the police a few weeks later.

Tenant referencing has become a lot more sophisticated in recent years and all prospective tenants should be comprehensively referenced and credit checked by a reputable provider, such as Legal 4 Landlords, who will do all the work for you.

However, there will be a small minority of people who will pass the in depth referencing process and still go on to carry out illegal practices in a rental property.

Private Rental Sector residential properties in respectable suburban neighbourhoods have become the preferred base for cannabis cultivation for some drug gangs as they think they will attract less police attention in more middle class areas.

If the landlord suspects anything illegal or anti social is going on at their rental property and need tenants to be evicted, contact Legal 4 Landlords at the earliest opportunity and they will handle the eviction process on the landlords behalf

Often when cannabis farms are discovered the damage to landlords and their rental properties, in both financial and legal terms, can be catastrophic. Uninsured landlords may find themselves having to foot the bill for extensive repairs to their properties

Landlords should ensure that their specialist Buy To Let or Landlord insurance policy covers them for all the possible eventualities, including malicious damage by tenants.

If landlords discover that a tenant is carrying out cannabis farming or any other form of anti social behaviour or illegal activity in their properties they should call the police immediately and should not directly confront the tenants.

Legal 4 Landlords can handle the eviction of anti social tenants for UK landlords.

 

The clock is ticking

Time is Running Out For LHA Landlords

1st January 2012 will see further changes to Local Housing Allowance (LHA) under the Government’s welfare reform.

 The age limit for shared accommodation room rate is set to rise from 25 to 35.

 This means that anyone under 35 and living by themselves or renting a room will be restricted to the shared room accommodation rate.

 This new figure is obviously well below the current market rent for 1 bedroom properties in most areas, as this will now be calculated on the 30th percentile of the rental cost for 1 bedroom properties in each area.

 This could mean disaster for landlords in the Private Rented Sector (PRS) as tenants in receipt of benefits will soon fall into arrears as their housing portion of their benefit payments (Universal Credit) are reduced by the Government.

 With increasing unemployment due to the state of the UK & World economies, more and more people are finding themselves having to make a claim for state benefits including LHA.

 2012 may well see an increase in evictions, homelessness and maybe even a drop in the average property rental price, as landlords could be forced to lower their rents to accommodate tenants who are only entitled to the lower threshold of housing allowance.

 This scenario has been cited by landlords who keen to avoid benefit tenants and now are only seeking tenants in employment. The private rented sector could end up the exclusive territory of the employed in a few years time and landlords are urged to make thorough reference checks when accepting new tenants.

Landlords who wish to learn more about successful LHA renting and how to deal with local authorities to ensure direct payment, should consider buying “The Essential LHA Manual For Landlords” by The LHA Expert – John Paul.

The ebook costs £47 and is packed full of the exact processes and systems The LHA Expert uses to get paid directly by Local Authorities on 97.9% of the 500+ properties he has let out to LHA Tenants, the contents include:

  • Why you should bother with LHA, and how embracing the opportunity can take you from “Arrears Hell to Cash-flow Heaven”
  • Which properties to target for maximum profit
  • How to make sure you get the full amount of rent available
  • Who to steer clear of to avoid problems
  • Some little known “secrets” to using the LHA rules to your advantage
  • How to switch Tenants on the old system onto LHA to increase your income
  • Exactly how to make a claim – so that you actually get paid!
  • How to virtually GUARANTEE you get paid directly by the Local Authority –(this one alone is worth buying the book for!!!)
  • How you can get paid direct after 4 weeks NOT 8 weeks
  • The latest on Overpayments, and how you can make sure they are taken from the Tenant and NOT you

There Will Never Be A Better Time To Invest In Property

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