Residential Property Owners contracts are for domestic rental properties, normally let on a 6 monthly short hold tenancy agreement, which protects both the landlord and the tenant.
The Buildings Sum Insured should represent the cost of re-building the property and include debris removal costs and all associated professional fees, such as architects, surveyors and planning costs.
At BH&S we normally underwrite the policy on the widest form of cover, to include Accidental and Subsidence normally policies include a standard limit of 20% of the Building Sum Insured for Loss of Rent or Alternative Accommodation.
Unlike normal House insurance, terrorism is not included as standard but can be included as an optional extra.
We normally recommend at least £2000 for Contents cover for carpets & curtains as frequently these will be damaged by Burst Pipes or other escapes of water.
Standard Policies Include Property Owners Liability at either £2,000,000 or £5,000,000 indemnity.
Options can include Employers Liability, Legal Expenses and Directors & Officers cover, these need to be considered especially if a management company/residents association is involved, normally found in multiple occupancy risks such as blocks of flats.
Some Insurers offer a 24 hour a day, 365 days a year, emergency assistance claims helpline, as well as in-house contractors to quote and effect repairs, this can be relevant if you live some distance from the risk.
Some policies can include malicious damage by the tenant, particularly important if you have no knowledge of the person taking the tenancy. Insurers will always require to know the nature of the tenancy i.e. Student Lets, Professional/Private persons, DSS, Asylum Seekers, or unoccupied. Failure to inform Insurers of any changes could result in your policy being invalid.
Commercial Property Owners can vary from a single risk tenanted for commercial purposes, with or without private accommodation, up to and including a large commercial property portfolio.
Normally Subsidence and Terrorism would be optional extras, however may be required by a Landlord to protect his asset, it’s normal for the insurance costs to be passed onto the tenant.
On Commercial property the rent may need to be paid over 24 or 36 months, depending on the rental agreement.
If the nature of the tenant’s trade changes, insurers will need to be advised as a new activity or unoccupancy that may attract a higher or lower premium depending on the trade processes involved.
In the case of multi-tenanted property, it is important to understand the fire separation between the tenants, as this controls the extent and speed of fire spread, in such cases we usually recommend a site visit, particularly for risks involving manufacturing or processing.
Many Insurers can accommodate several properties on one contract with the overall premium apportioned for each risk for easy administration.
We have facilities for Heritage risks, whilst the majority of the market is competitive on modern purpose built units.
Again Employers Liability may be necessary if you have in house maintenance staff. Engineering cover may be required on communal boilers and lifts etc.
Thirdly Holiday Homes, either for Owner & Family occupancy or for letting purposes. These specialist policies normally have more suitable wordings to allow for longer periods of unoccupancy.
Finally Unoccupied Properties, in the main you should get better terms from your holding insurer if the property becomes unoccupied in the year. However, at renewal or purchase, you might get better cover and premiums from a specialist carrier and BH&S have several alternatives in these markets.
In all cases Landlords have a legal duty to maintain gas appliances installed for use by tenants and a responsibility for safety of fixed wiring in their properties.
Asbestos must be identified and a plan of action undertaken after a risk assessment.
In some unfortunate cases, property has been damaged by Cannabis Production, so a careful and detailed vetting process should be considered and letting agents may well assist with this process.
Please be aware of key security, you may consider employing a locksmith to change the locking mechanisms at a change of tenant.
In some circumstances Public Liability alone may be considered particularly when the property has no value, remember claims can still arise from the structure or the land once more BH&S can assist.