One of the secrets of success in running a buy to let business is likely to lie is keeping your property more or less permanently tenanted. This in turn means keeping it an attractive and well-maintained place which tenants actively want to rent – and hopefully stay throughout the duration of the tenancy agreement.
Achieving this desired state of affairs of course requires more than a little care and preparation on your part and may involve the complete refurbishment of a run-down property you have just bought to let or the periodic renovation of one you have owned for a while.
Whenever you decide to renovate, the works might involve different levels of impact on the structure and fabric of the building:
- it might simply involve a redecoration of the accommodation, for example, simply to make it more appealing in the eyes of tenants;
- it might involve more extensive works to reconfigure the internal layout of the building in order to maximise its rental potential; or
- the renovations might include major building works involving the construction of an extension or conversion of the loft space for example.
Your hand may have been forced into commissioning some degree of renovation in order to meet local licensing requirements which may have been introduced in your area – the impact of which are described further in an article dated March 2015 on the Landlord Zone website.
Because your renovations may have an impact on the structure and fabric of the let property, you are likely to need to inform the provider of your landlord insurance of the extent of the works involved – your insurer, in turn, might simply approve your plans, charge an increased premium to cover the additional risks whilst building works are in progress, attach specific conditions, or restrict insurance cover altogether from the property for the duration of such works.
An alternative way of ensuring that fully comprehensive cover continues to protect your property is to arrange purpose designed landlords renovation insurance.
Just as the name suggests, this is cover specifically written to safeguard your property during the course of renovation works. It is a specialist form of insurance, so you might want to consult an experienced provider – such as those of us at Cover4LetProperty – before arranging it. Even with renovation insurance, for instance, some providers may be reluctant to cover a property that has been empty from the time you bought it and until renovations are completed.
What it covers
A further reason for seeking expert advice is because each renovation project is likely to be different – and the precise elements and extent of insurance cover, therefore, also needs to be tailored to suit particular needs and circumstances.
Typically, however, renovation insurance provides you cover for loss or damage to both structural and non-structural building work.
There may be a limit to the extent of cover offered in this regard and 50% of the total sum insured for the original building might be a representative figure.
When building work is in progress, of course, the site may represent particular hazards and perils – of personal injury or damage to their property – to passing or visiting members of the public. You might want to ensure, therefore, that the landlords renovation insurance you arrange incorporates your indemnity against liability claims.
As with any kind of insurance, you may want to pay special attention to exclusions – and if you are in any doubt as to what is and what is not covered, you may wish to consult your specialist provider. Although subsidence may be a risk normally covered in your usual landlord insurance, for instance, the peril may be specifically excluded for the duration of any building works.