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When you acquire a buy to let property, your main focus may be on the fact that is in an asset that may contribute to a comfortable retirement for you. Or perhaps it is nest egg that you hope may help to fund your children through university or get them onto the property ladder?

While it is exciting making plans and potentially watching your investment work hard for you, it is important not to forget the less ‘glamorous’ side of being a landlord and arranging things such as your buildings insurance for landlords. It may be a very important part of protecting your precious asset.

Rather than seeing let property cover as just another bill to pay, you may wish to bear in mind that having landlords insurance may be necessary to:

  • abide by the terms of your mortgage;
  • and protect your own pocket.

Your mortgage agreement may require you to have landlord buildings insurance

If you have a loan secured on the buy to let property, it may be a condition of that mortgage that you arrange suitable buildings insurance for landlords. This protects both your and their financial interests in the property.

For example, if the property is uninsured and goes up in smoke, the lender would be left with virtually nothing to provide security for the loan. And you would be left making monthly mortgage payments for a property that no longer existed.

Landlord’s building insurance is designed to step in and pay the costs (up to the agreed sum insured) to rebuild your property.

When you took out the mortgage, the valuation you had done may have specified a sum insured required for the purposes of buildings insurance. Note that this amount may typically include the costs of clearing the land, should the property be completely razed to the ground. See our section on this further down the page: What is the buildings sum insured?

What does buildings insurance cover?

Just about any buildings insurance (whether owner-occupier home insurance; landlords insurance; or unoccupied property insurance) typically covers the structure of the building (so walls, roof etc) as well as the fixtures and fittings.

The fixtures and fittings are things like fitted kitchens, built in wardrobes etc – basically, anything that would be left inside your property if you turned it upside and shook the contents out!

A basic buildings insurance policy may typically include some or all of the following elements of protection:

  • damage to your property from events such as flooding, fire and smoke, storms and earthquakes;
  • theft and vandalism.

What it is important to note is that the hazards covered by a policy may vary, depending on the insurer. For example, subsidence forms a standard part of all of our landlords insurance policies. Some other companies, however, do not include this cover as standard, and they will charge you to have this element of protection included if you want it. (This also applies to many owner-occupier policies too, so always check the cover).

Your needs for landlords’ insurance will depend upon your individual circumstances. What you consider a good landlord insurance policy, therefore, may provide you with financial protection against the following (either as standard part of the cover or as an optional pay-for add-on):

  • damage to the structure of your building;
  • damage or destruction of your fixtures and fittings;
  • ditto for the contents plus their theft (see next section: Buildings contents insurance);
  • third party public liability claims;
  • loss of rent cover (where this arises from an insured risk). This is where, should your tenants have to move out of your property following an insured event (such as a fire or flooding) you will receive up to a pre-agreed sum from us in lieu of your lost rent;
  • some forms of legal fees (again, if they relate to an insured risk);
  • malicious damage caused by tenants;
  • trace and access cover.

Typically, a policy won’t always cover things such as tenants that depart suddenly leaving large rent arrears or tenants that you’re trying to evict. So, if you incur legal expenses in either situation and/or an associated loss of rental income, your policy typically won’t cover it.

Buildings contents insurance

You may also require buildings contents insurance if your let property is furnished or has communal, furnished areas (such as in an HMO). Speak to us if you are unsure as to what level of cover you require.

Typically, every sensible landlord wants the protection of insurance and equally typically, and no doubt you will be looking for what you consider is good value landlord building insurance that offers the most appropriate cover for you.

If you would like further clarification on what our let property buildings insurance policies cover, please feel free to get in touch.

Will my landlords’ contents insurance cover my tenant’s belongings?

No, it will not.

This is an occasional area of misunderstanding that can easily catch out both landlords and tenants alike.

In reality, landlords’ buildings and contents insurance exists to protect the interests of landlords and in some specific circumstances, third parties who might be injured or have their property damaged as a result of the landlord’s property.

So, as we discussed above, a typical landlords’ policy covering the bricks and mortar plus contents might provide cover for circumstances such as:

  • damage to the building itself as well as its fittings;
  • situations where the landlord’s contents, such as furniture, were destroyed by a fire or perhaps stolen in a burglary;
  • instances where your tenants or another third party have sued you for damages under third party liability provisions and won their case.

However, third party liability cover typically does not include protection for the possessions of your tenants nor indeed their own physical wellbeing – unless the illness or injury was accepted by a court as being a direct consequence of something for which you were personally responsible as the landlord.

So, it might be prudent to assume that typically your landlords’ contents insurance will not cover your tenants for things including:

  • the theft of their possessions following a burglary;
  • the destruction of their property following something such as a fire;
  • personal accidents or injuries they may sustain;
  • accidents, illness or redundancy, which might prevent them from earning income and thereby paying their rent.

It’s typically a good idea to make sure these points are clarified with your tenants in advance, perhaps as part of your tenancy agreement. Special tenants’ insurance does exist and it may be in their best interests to look for it.

What is the buildings sum insured?

When applying for landlords insurance and calculating the amount of cover you need to protect your investment, you will be asked how much buildings sum insured you require.

Some landlords mistakenly believe that this amount should be equivalent to the current market value, or the amount of mortgage outstanding on the property.

However, the sum insured should actually factor in a number of different costs:

  • the actual amount it would cost to rebuild your property if it was completely destroyed (note, this isn’t the market value, as already mentioned above);
  • this cost should include amounts for clearing the site before rebuilding as well as the cost of fixtures and fittings (if you turned your property upside down and shook it, the stuff that didn’t fall out, such as fitted wardrobes and kitchens etc, are classed as fixture and fittings);
  • professional fees etc.

In the event of a claim, if you are underinsured (i.e., your buildings sum insured amount is lower than the actual cost to re-build your property), you will be left having to find the remaining monies yourself (whilst still paying your mortgage on your property, if you have one). It’s not a good financial situation to be in.

How can I find out my rebuild value?

The amount can usually be found on your valuation report or mortgage survey. If you are still unsure of the rebuild value, use the Association of British Insurers’ rebuild calculator.

If you have any questions relating to your buildings sum insured, please feel free to get in touch. We will be more than happy to help.

What is loss of rental income cover?

If the worst happens – the property burns down or is destroyed in another manner – then the tenant will have to leave because the property is inhabitable. This means they will also stop paying rent.

Unfortunately, your mortgage would continue to fall due, so buildings insurance for landlords which includes loss of rental income cover – which can help replace loss of rent due to an insured risk – will help you keep up with your mortgage repayments until such time your property was repaired / rebuilt, and your tenant returned.

How much does buy to let insurance cost?

There are a number of things that may affect the price of your buy to let building insurance. For example, an insurer may take into account:

  • the location of the property. This is relevant from the point of view of the potential risks it may face from crime and/or flooding. Given that these are issues that you are likely to have borne in mind yourself when purchasing the property, your insurer’s attitude may not come as a surprise;
  • the value of the property. In this sense, the way in which prices for buy to let building insurance may be worked out may be similar to that for your owner occupied property; and
  • the history of any claims that may have been made on the property. If claims have been made previously for structural issues, you may find that an insurer may want full details before being able to give you a price.

Can I get cheap buy to let insurance?

While there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that as an inclination, do remember that cheap landlord building insurance might not necessarily mean the same thing to everyone.

Some people may just say that it’s the insurance that they can get away with paying the least for. That might be fine though it may also not seem the wisest choice of definition to run with in the event of a claim if the circumstances weren’t covered.

So, in essence, what may be a cheap landlord insurance policy for you may not be the cheapest for someone else. It depends on the level of cover you need and your perceptions as to what is cheap and what isn’t.

Perhaps a more balanced definition would be a policy that met all of your needs for a cost-effective price. Using that as a guideline for buy to rent insurance may help you avoid ending up with something that’s unsuitable.

Finding the most suitable cover

Knowing that you have suitable cover behind you may help you rest a little more easily at night. That’s why finding appropriate buy to let insurance is more important than thinking exclusively about cheap landlord building insurance.

At Cover4LetProperty we provide you with an online facility to quote and buy your building and contents insurance. We provide all information regarding the insurance products we offer online, allowing you to make an informed decision based not just on our competitive premiums, but on the cover our policies provide.

Our UK building and contents insurance policies are available as:

  • buildings only policies;
  • buildings and contents policies;
  • contents only policies.

The building and contents insurance UK policies we provide are available online where you can purchase and incept the insurance immediately.

Alternatively, don’t forget that we are also only a telephone call or email away. So, if you need a landlord’s insurance quote or simply some help and guidance on choosing buy to let buildings insurance, then we will be very happy to help. Please call us today on 01702 606 301.

The property market in the UK has rebounded vigorously from the recent succession of lockdowns, prompting a tidal wave of price increases in some parts of the country – especially rural areas. Yet many homeowners continue to undervalue their homes. And, for landlords, things have not yet quite returned to a pre-pandemic normal when it comes to evictions.

Let’s take a closer look at these stories that made the recent headlines.

Where are the UK’s current property price hotspots?

The property market across the whole of the UK is riding on a high. Prices increased by an average of 5.1% in the past 12 months – the national average standing at a record £327,797 said Property Reporter on the 4th of May.

Areas of Liverpool and Manchester in the north west of England emerge as property hotspots.

Average prices in Wallasey, on Merseyside, are 15.6% higher than a year ago – an increase of £24,000 on the average asking price – and those that sell do so within just a week of listing.

Second place on Rightmove’s list of hotspots is Leigh, in Greater Manchester, where prices have increased by an average of 12.8%.

‘Urban flight’ raises house prices in villages

As homeowners emerging from lockdown look for more space inside and outside, the “urban flight” from towns and cities has prompted a surge in prices in the countryside, explained a report by the BBC on the 1st of May.

Within the 10 least densely populated local authorities across the UK, prices have increased by an average of 10%, says the report, compared with an increase of just 6% in the more built-up areas.

Because the demand is for larger homes, smaller houses and flats remain in more plentiful supply.

Any exodus to the countryside, of course, relied on the ability of homeowners to make such a move – and for lower-income groups, a home in a spacious, rural setting would remain little more than a pipedream.

UK homeowners collectively undervalue their homes by £237bn

Online listings website Zoopla published some startling figures on the 21st of April revealing the extent to which many UK homeowners undervalue their property.

A survey of “hidden equity” in the average home revealed that nearly half of all homeowners undervalued the property in which they lived by an average of £46,300 – a tidy sum, which represents almost one and a half times the average annual salary in the UK.

More startling, perhaps, is the discovery that more than one million homes are likely to be worth £100,000 more than their current owners appreciate.

These under-valuations stem from the way in which an estimated two-thirds of homeowners have seemingly fallen out of touch with the true value of their homes. This is despite the fact that when eight out of ten of them discovered that true value, they realised how much that knowledge could “improve their lifestyle”.

Indeed, when the current home was sold – and the previously hidden equity released – around half of those selling were able to move into a better home than they had imagined owning.

Landlords warned of change to the arrears and eviction process

Landlords have been warned to pay careful attention to changes in the issue of Section 8 eviction notices with effect from the 4th of May, according to advice published by the National Residential Landlords’ Association (NRLA).

There is currently a temporary freeze on landlords’ ability to issue Section 8 notices to quit because of any arrears of rent (but certain other grounds to evict remain valid). With effect from the 4th of May, moreover, landlords must include written details about the government’s Breathing Space initiative for any Section 8 notice to be valid. If the landlord has not included such a reference, the notice to quit will need to be re-issued.

An article in Landlord Today explained that the Breathing Space initiative – formally the Breathing Space Moratorium and Mental Health Crisis Moratorium (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 – imposes a temporary moratorium on efforts by landlords or their letting agents to recover arrears of rent from tenants.

This also includes removal of the landlord’s right to serve a Section 8 eviction notice on the grounds of arrears of rent. Whatever the reasons cited for the Section 8 notice, landlords must now provide tenants with written details of the Breathing Space initiative. 

There is a daunting catalogue of risks faced by empty property, compared to that which is occupied on a more or less permanent basis. The list typically includes loss or damage to the property resulting from:

  • fire and arson;
  • squatting;
  • theft and vandalism;
  • other trespassers;
  • use for illegal parties, raves or trading;
  • fly-tipping;
  • flooding caused by ingress of water or burst water pipes; and
  • losses arising from property owners’ liability claims.

Above all, remember that your landlord insurance policy is no substitute for well-planned and regular maintenance. Loss or damage that occurs because of your neglect or failure to maintain the property is not covered by your insurance.

Reasons for your property standing empty and unoccupied

There are many reasons why your property may be unoccupied for more than a month or so.

You might be:

  • taking an extended holiday, for example, or working away from home for a period;
  • renovating the property, which remains unsuitable for you or tenants to live in during building works;
  • moving home and have already taken up residence in your new house whilst the former home remains on the market for sale; or you may have an interest in a property which is subject to probate, pending decisions on its eventual disposal.

Keeping your empty property safe

These are times when you might want to consider the need for the type of unoccupied property insurance, described in greater detail in our free guide on the subject.

The need for unoccupied property insurance arises because the standard home building and contents insurance – or landlord insurance if it is let property – is likely to provide inadequate protection once the premises have been unoccupied for longer than 45 to 60 consecutive days.

Although the exact period varies from one insurer to another, in practically every instance, insurance cover becomes restricted – or is allowed to lapse entirely – once the property has been unoccupied for longer than a month or so. In the place of your standard home or landlord insurance, therefore, specialist unoccupied property insurance is necessary to keep the house safe.

Quick tips

There are a few basic things you might want to think about if your property is going to be empty for anything more than a relatively short period:

  1. make sure that your insurance remains valid. As we mentioned above, once your property has sat unoccupied for more than around 30-45 consecutive days (the exact number will typically be specified in your existing property insurance policy), your cover may become invalid;
  2. you might need an unoccupied property insurance quote to make sure you benefit from continuity of cover – specialist providers of unoccupied property insurance such as ourselves here at Cover4LetProperty will be able to provide additional details;
  3. think about security – many burglaries, attacks of vandalism and squatting episodes, are essentially opportunistic so, anything you can do to hide the fact that your property is sitting unoccupied from potentially prying eyes, might help keep it that bit safer. If there are internal building or redecoration works underway, try to avoid allowing builders to hang their signs so that they are visible from outside the property;
  4. good examples of how to help camouflage your property in that respect include making sure that there are no accumulations of post in letterboxes, putting lights on timer switches, regularly adjusting the position of curtains and blinds when visiting and making sure that garden areas are kept in a good and tidy condition;
  5. visit your property regularly to check for small problems that might become big ones through inaction because no one is in residence to notice them. Typically, this may also be a condition of any empty property insurance you arrange, too;
  6. shut off your water and gas at source and drain down the heating and water systems if you believe that the property is like to sit empty for some considerable time. A possible exception might arise where a freeze is forecast and, in that case, you may need to leave the central heating on an occasional use low thermostat level in order to avoid frost damage (check your policy terms and conditions for clarification);
  7. prevent any of the various forms of infestation from taking hold. One of the most useful things here is to ensure that absolutely no foodstuffs are left anywhere in your property. You might also wish to consider things such as sonic repellents or humane traps and the like. Remember, it can be extremely difficult to remove infestations once they become established;
  8. you might wish to position dehumidifiers and deodorizers at certain parts of your property to stop a damp and aged smell arising from a property that has stood unoccupied for some time.
  9. ensure that quality locks and bolts are not only fitted to doors and windows – but are also properly used and secured;
  10. cancel any scheduled deliveries and making arrangements for anything else delivered to the address is taken indoors by a neighbour, friend or relative;
  11. consider asking a neighbour to park their car on your driveway from time to time – helping to create the impression that someone may be at home;
  12. avoid putting up signs anywhere confirming that you are away and advising people what to do in the interim.

A further word on insurance

This brief blog has not touched on other categories of risks arising with unoccupied properties, such as those associated with leaking pipes etc.

However, in terms of criminal intrusion and other potential forms of property damage, whatever steps you take, you may in a worst-case scenario need to fall back on your unoccupied property insurance.

Remember that some empty property insurance cover is rather more limited than that available with other policies. For example, some policies of this type might only offer what is called “FLEA” protection – standing for Fire, Lightning, Explosion and Aircraft.

You may find that type of cover is too limited for your peace of mind and selecting an appropriate policy is something that you may need specialist assistance with. Why not call us today on 01702 606 301 to find out more? We offer various levels of unoccupied property cover to meet your needs and your budget.

Further reading: Guide to Unoccupied Property.

Do you need business contents insurance?

Just sit yourself down with your landlord’s hat on and start valuing all the contents in your buy to let property (or properties). You’ll probably be surprised at how much they may be worth.

Since you are in the business of being a landlord, the contents of your rental property are business assets.  And that means that business contents insurance – or landlords contents insurance, as it might also be known – may be worth thinking about.

Bear in mind that this article relates to landlords’ residential properties and not commercial lets, where there are many variants of business insurance including that for commercial business premises, business equipment, and insurance for business activities.

Why you may need landlord’s contents insurance cover

As a landlord, you are almost certainly aware of the importance of landlord’s buildings insurance to protect your business. But what about insuring the contents, such as those in communal areas or in furnished lets and HMO’s?

In case you were wondering about whether you need business contents insurance, you may want to consider how you would fund the task of replacing the items that you have left at the property if they were destroyed or damaged as the result of insurable risks and perils such as a fire, flooding, or storm damage, for example.

Some landlords provide white goods, and most provide cookers and ovens for their tenants to use. If you regularly let rooms to students, you may find that you provide beds, desks, and wardrobes too.

Would you be able to replace the items from your own pocket, or would you instead have to take out a loan?

Rather than “do you really need business contents insurance?” the question you might want to ask yourself is what you would do without business contents insurance.

Business contents insurance details

Take a moment or two to look at the details of several residential landlords’ business insurance policies and you are likely to find that each one is slightly different – and that isn’t just a question of the cost of the premiums.

Despite the differences of detail, however, landlords’ business insurance policies will typically cover similar risks, such as:

  • theft;
  • fire;
  • storm damage;
  • earthquake;
  • civil commotion; and

It may also be well worth your while taking a look at the terms, conditions, exclusions, and limitations to determine whether you would have to change any of your current practices (security provisions, type of tenant accommodated, and so on) to meet your insurer’s expectations.

While the above point is important in general terms, it’s worth keeping in mind the following specific points relating to your business contents insurance:

  • contents cover may be restricted to certain parts of your property and items kept outside, such as garden furniture, might be excluded;
  • some item categories may also be excluded – examples might include antiques, perishables, or individual items in excess of a specified maximum value;
  • the total amount claimable overall may be capped at a specified maximum claim value; and
  • some insurance policies might require you to produce original receipts as evidence of purchase and worth.

Business insurance policies should be compared in all these respects in order to obtain a balanced view as to their suitability. At Cover4LetProperty, we can help you do this so that you choose the most cost-effective and comprehensive insurance for your let property business and its contents.

Choosing insurance for a business as a landlord

When it comes to choosing your business insurance provider, you might want to consider more than the risks and perils covered by any policy. You may also want to bear in mind the price of the cover, and the kind of service the provider may offer. For example, you may want to take into account what hours the client helplines are open, and how easy or difficult it is to get through to a real person.

Given that no two property rental businesses are the same, you may wish to make sure that the business contents insurance you have selected meets your individual needs. Accordingly, a specialist website with telephone backup – just as we offer – may be a good place to start looking for the most appropriate insurance for a business.

Your tenants’ contents

It would be sensible to encourage your tenants to take out insurance to protect their own possessions while on your property.

Your own landlords’ contents cover will typically apply to your possessions and not, in most circumstances, to those of your tenants. They should not believe that your insurance would cover them if, for example, the property was burgled and their possessions were stolen, or water damage caused damage to their possessions.

Be alert, too, to property upgrades and their knock-on consequences for your landlord business.

If you significantly upgrade and expand your property, not only will you need to inform your buildings insurance provider (as the sum insured may need to be increased and the property details updated) it might also have a consequential effect on your contents and their valuation too. That might be particularly so with substantial renovations where you might have sub-divided and added additional kitchens or bathrooms and the like.

Remember to notify your contents insurance provider in cases like this and think carefully and realistically about the total revised value of your contents.

Consider fixtures and fittings versus contents

Landlords’ buildings policies will typically include cover for fixtures and fittings.

In some situations, especially those involving unfurnished lets, you might be entertaining the notion that specific contents cover isn’t required.

That is likely to be a mistaken assumption.

Look at each policy carefully and be certain that its definitions match the reality as you see it – particularly if you’re inclined to think that you do not need contents cover.

How can we help?

Cover4 Let Property is calling out to all you UK based landlords to come and try the services of a buy to let UK property insurance expert.

We are proud of what we believe is a first-class service backed with affordable premiums. Our call centre is UK based and we offer competitive quotations for your building and contents insurance for your buy to let UK based property.

But our landlord insurance UK services do not stop there.

After sales service

We always ensure that our after sales service continues at the same high standards.

We will be on hand to answer any queries you may have regarding your building and contents insurance for your buy to let UK property – you can contact our landlord insurance UK property experts on 01702 606 301or by emailing us at

What happens if I need to make claim?

In the event of you having to make a claim for your buy to let UK property insured with Cover4 Let Property our staff will remain on hand to guide you through the process to ensure that your claim is swiftly dealt with by your insurers. There is no point having landlord insurance UK for your property if no one will help you make a claim!

We pride ourselves on our service levels and encourage you to speak to our building and contents insurance experts to discuss the requirements you have for insuring your buy to let UK based property.

Get cover with us today

Cover4LetProperty provides what we believe is market-leading cover at competitive rates for buildings and contents insurance. We are here to provide the insurance solution for your investment and provide you with a one-stop shop for all your insurance needs.

Our landlord’s business cover provides you with the peace of mind that is afforded only by what we consider to be superior cover, ensuring that should the worst happen, you are protected.

We use a panel of specialist insurers in the market and enjoy an excellent relationship with each and every one of our providers. This means we can go that extra mile to ensure you are completely satisfied with your landlord’s business contents insurance.

Our Cover4LetProperty team is here to ensure you receive a service that exceeds your expectations at all times. Our team comprises experts in the field of property cover and are they are here to ensure you receive the policy that most suits your needs.

You can contact the business contents insurance team on 01702 606 301 or alternatively visit our website and email them directly.

Remember, landlord insurance UK is only a mouse click or phone call away with Cover4LetProperty.

To obtain a quick easy quote, simply complete our online quote form or telephone us and our team will find the cover that meets your individual requirements.

At the heart of any successful home renovation project is the renovation insurance that safeguards the existing structure and fabric of the building from loss or damage.

It is important not to lose sight of this critical safety net at a time when many people who are emerging from the restrictions and privations of lockdown look to extend their home to create more space, make better use of its internal layout, or create a home office.

While planning consent, architectural and engineering input, and your budget are all going to be important factors in any renovation project, underpinning them all and lending the whole undertaking the security you need is renovation insurance.

Insurance to the fore

With the importance of insurance to the fore, when you are planning any renovation project, therefore, consider the status of your home insurance cover – essentially, does it provide the cover you continue to need?

Unless your idea of renovation amounts to little more than a quick lick of paint, probably the best way of establishing what cover you do or do not have is to ask your current home insurance provider.

In some cases, your existing cover will be unaffected by your plans to refurbish or even remodel your home.

The big exception, though, comes when you are planning anything that changes – or threatens to impact on – the physical integrity and structure of your home. When knocking down walls, building an extension, or doing anything that affects the structure of the building, you are almost certain to find that your home insurance incorporates important exclusions.

This means that if those works are excluded, your home insurance policy will typically become invalid.

What is renovation insurance?

At its simplest, renovation insurance is specialist cover designed to restore the safeguards temporarily excluded from your regular home insurance while building works are in progress.

Renovation insurance provides standalone cover that replaces your regular home insurance for the duration – so that the existing structure and fabric of your home and, if required, its contents continue to be protected while renovation works are in progress.

Why do you need renovation insurance?

Specialist renovation insurance is necessary, therefore, to plug any gaps in your existing home insurance while the works are in progress.

Unlike most other types of general insurance, renovation insurance is extremely flexible, and you may buy the cover only for the period during which you expect work to be taking place, rather than the full 12 months. If the project is scheduled to take just six months, for example, your renovation insurance may also last only that long – but may then be extended if the schedule of works overruns.

What does renovation insurance cover?

As explained, the primary purpose of renovation insurance is to replace any areas excluded from your existing home insurance cover because of the building works you have planned.

For a full and considered explanation of the function of renovation insurance, you might want to consult our Guide to Renovating.

What if your property stands unoccupied while it is being renovated?

One of the contentious issues sometimes associated with insurance cover when you are renovating your home concerns the period when the property is considered unoccupied for insurance purposes.

As a posting by the Financial Ombudsman Service on the 26th of January 2021, suggests, you may be less than of the definition of an unoccupied property. Even though you have builders visiting the site every day, for example, most insurers will consider your home unoccupied if you have moved out for a period longer than 30 to 45 consecutive days while building works are in progress. Once it is considered unoccupied, the extent of cover may become severely restricted or even lapse altogether.

Specialist empty property renovation cover is then likely to be required to restore the safeguards your home continues to need.


It might seem that there are a thousand and one things to organise if you are planning to renovate or extend your home.

Planning consent, architecture and engineering drawings, and budgets aside, renovation insurance needs to sit squarely at the heart of your renovation planning to ensure the continued safety and security of your home. Please contact us to on 01702 606 301 if you are planning on renovating your property.

Buy to let properties are obviously no safer from then risk of flooding than any other.

While you might take a modicum of consolation from the fact that you are not actually living there, if you are the landlord of buy to let property that is flooded, you still have to deal with the colossal mess and consequences – the time-consuming hassle and energy of trying to sort things out.

On the strength of that old maxim that being forewarned is to be forearmed, here are some suggestions for preparing for the possibility of flood damage to buy to let property if you are a landlord:

Be prepared

  • given the unpredictability of the British weather, flooding can occur at practically any time of the year and in almost any part of the country;
  • even so, you can prepare for that possibility by assessing the current status of any risk to your property by consulting the government’s official Flood Warning Information Service – just key in the postcode of the property and you can view any long-term flood risks or current flood warnings;

Be insured

  • in the light of any potential threat to loss or damage of your property, of course, your mind turns first to insurance;
  • safeguarding against the risk of loss or damage to your buy to let property calls for exactly the same precaution – make sure you have adequate flood insurance;
  • unfortunately, the Flood Re scheme which helps insurers keep flood insurance premiums lower does not apply to buy to let property – but that makes it all the more reason why you need to check that your let property is adequately covered against the risk of flooding;

Understand your insurance

  • reread your buildings cover policy so that you are clear in your own mind about what is and is not covered and whether your policy provides new for old replacement for your belongings;
  • some policies may also provide financial assistance towards the costs of cleaning and safety inspections for gas and electrical appliances – here at Cover4LetProperty, we can help advise you in this respect;

In the event of flood damage – make your claim

  • your landlord’s insurance provider will require details when you lodge your claim – so, make a list of the damage to the property and those contents that belong to you (your tenants will obviously have to claim on their own contents cover for their belongings);
  • take photos of any damage and leave any other evidence, such as a mark on the walls showing the level to which flood waters rose – so that you have a comprehensive record;
  • if you have photos of your property prior to the flood then that may also help with your claim;

Record the progress of your claim

  • keep a record of all conversations and contact with your insurance providers, particularly relating to any emergency work that needs to be carried out in advance of your formal claim;
  • be sure to keep all related receipts and work quotes so that you can claim for the reimbursement of these expenses;
  • don’t just throw damaged items away – your insurance provider or loss assessor may need to see these as part of their investigations, although spoiled food may be an obvious exception;
  • you might also want to check your policy to see if it provides you with protection for loss of rental income if your tenants have to vacate your property while repairs are carried out – naturally, that could make a significant difference to your finances.

Remember too that there may be a few things that you can do to perhaps minimise the effects of such a flood should it happen again. Some of these may be fairly simple like using ceramic tiles and rugs on ground floors rather than fitted carpets.

Historic England – who know a thing or two about flood prevention down through the ages – have published a guide on making a home flood resistant and resilient. You might want to take a look at it.

A mixture of good news and missed opportunities inspired this past week’s headlines about the property market.

From first-time buyers making hay while the sun shines to a spotlight on some of the busiest markets. From developments in the relationship between landlords, their agents, and tenants to a failed scheme to make our homes greener … here is a brief round-up of the latest property news.

Over a third of FTBs have taken advantage of stamp duty holiday

The Chancellor’s introduction last July of a stamp duty holiday on the purchase of homes costing up to £500,000 was welcomed by all homebuyers, of course, but none more so, it seems, than first-time buyers.

According to a report in Property Wire earlier this week, 39% of all first-time buyers in the UK have already taken advantage of the tax-break to buy their home. And, a further 8% are renewing their plans to do so following the decision to extend the stamp duty holiday until the end of June – and continue the incentive until the end of September, but only on homes costing up to £250,000 via a tapered scheme.

The busiest property markets of 2020 revealed

Small towns, in parts of England and Wales previously shunned by many buyers, became the hottest residential property spots during 2020, according to the Daily Mail on the 26th of March.

Buyers have avoided the larger towns and cities, preferring to escape to quieter, more remote locations such as Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire, Pontefract in West Yorkshire, and Great Yarmouth in Norfolk.

Smaller towns are in demand – other than Doncaster, each of the locations in the top ten has less than 100,000 inhabitants.

While turning away from the bustling pace of life in cities and the larger provincial towns, buyers have nevertheless sought out areas in which value for money could be found in affordably priced homes, revealed the survey.

Portsmouth, the Wirral and Luton all had the lowest property purchase rate in 2020.

PRS survey looks at landlord, agent, and tenant relationships

Earlier last month, Landlord News published the results of a survey investigating the nature of the relationship between landlords, their agents, and tenants:

  • probably against the expectations of many, a full 95% of tenants said they had not fallen into rent arrears because of Covid;
  • among those who have struggled, 58% praised the understanding of their landlord, with 31% of them offering temporarily to reduce the rent or grant a rent holiday;
  • when asked to rate their landlord on a scale of 1 to 10, tenants gave them an average 7.4;
  • landlord and letting agents, on the other hand, rated their tenants either 9/10 (30% of landlords) or 10/10 (29%);
  • tenants were evenly split on the economics of renting – half of those surveyed said it offered value for money while the other half considered rent to be overpriced and more expensive than a mortgage;
  • for 67% of tenants, homeownership is their long-term goal, while renting is the most affordable option for 51%;
  • the majority of landlords surveyed (80%) have run their buy to let business for more than five years. Though two-thirds of them (65%) felt that the industry has grown steadily worse as a result of creeping legislation, regulation, and taxation.

Although 90% of landlords and their agents, therefore, feel unsupported by government, 79% are committed to their role as a landlord for at least the next five years. 

Green plan to upgrade homes was ‘botched’, say MPs

Parliament’s environmental audit select committee has issued a damning indictment of the government’s Green Homes Grants scheme, according to a report by the BBC last week.

Under the scheme, homeowners stood to gain grants of up to £10,000 in energy efficient insulation measures for their homes.

Only 10% success has been achieved in realising an initial target to insulate at least 600,000 in the first six months of the scheme – leading to rumours that the Treasury was arguing for the termination of the scheme. Rather than termination, the select committee has called for reform of the scheme and has branded its current performance as “inept” – to the point of damaging the housebuilding sector.

Should you manage a let property yourself or hand that particular job over to a letting agent? That’s a classic and much-debated question that has probably been around as landlords themselves – and there’s still no definitive answer.

Here are some of the typical pros and cons in the argument to help you form some views – if you don’t already have firm views, of course:

The potential upsides to using a managing agent

  • taking on the role of a landlord can be a daunting prospect – and one that is bound to absorb much of your time if you intend to go it alone;
  • especially if you are a new landlord, the daunting list of responsibilities might be downright frightening. A managing agent typically may be able to ensure you and your property is compliant;
  • leading on from the point above, if you do not have a sound grasp about the increasing volume of legislation and regulation relevant to your role as a landlord a letting or managing agent might be indispensable in keeping you and your buy to let business the right side of the law, suggested a guide published by the Consumers’ Association’s Which? magazine;
  • an agent may be able to market your property more effectively than you can yourself – especially if you are new to the ways of the buy to let landlord;
  • they may also be able to help you with cost-effective second-level services such as cleaning, garden maintenance, and the like;
  • if you are a more seasoned landlord, you might simply want to escape the time-consuming business of finding, vetting, and managing tenants;
  • a managing or letting agent may free up a lot of your time since they will typically take on board a significant volume of the administrative tasks involved in managing let properties (advertising for and finding tenants, showing them around, taking inventories, and so on);
  • your letting agent maintains a buffer between you and your tenants, so avoiding your need to get personally involved in resolving every single issue that arises during the course of any tenancy. Your agent should field all initial tenant calls, so you may find that you do not need to maintain a permanent telephone presence yourself;
  • they may also be able to shield you from minor disputes that might arise with tenants from time to time.

The potential downsides to using a managing agent

  • on the downside, a managing or letting agent will, of course, take a percentage of your rental income – and for some landlords that might seem a disproportionate or unreasonable amount;
  • some agents may be tardy in escalating issues or even raising them with you at all in line with your own judgement – you will then need to instruct them more closely and hold them fully to account;
  • their presence on and around your property may complicate your legal liabilities and your requirements for let property insurance – for example, in certain situations, the law may interpret managing agents on your property to be acting as your employees and that may introduce issues relating to your need for employers’ liability cover;
  • relationships with tenants may sometimes be confused by having a third party involved and misunderstandings might arise a little more easily than would be the case if you always had direct personal contact; and
  • strict legal liabilities may also become blurred in some situations – if you appoint agents and they make statements or issue undertakings on your behalf to tenants or other third parties, then you may be bound by them even if you subsequently find that you are not in agreement.

Each individual landlord may have his or her own views about managing agents. It’s a big subject and one worth thinking about carefully.

As the country and the property market begin to emerge from the relative inactivity of the previous lockdowns, a recuperation programme is beginning to take shape.

This involves a raft of inevitable tax changes and refinements as the government scours the coffers for the necessary funds to get the economy and the property market back on to their feet.

That picture is painted by some of the following property news headlines.

Budget changes and landlords

For landlords, some of the most significant – and potentially painful – changes on the horizon may be scheduled amendments to the tax regime. The chief features of the Chancellor’s latest budget were described in a piece by Which? magazine on the 3rd of March:

Income tax

  • the income tax personal allowance goes up from £12,500 to £12,750 and the threshold for moving up from the basic rate of income tax to the higher rate increases from £50,000 to £50,270;

Corporation tax

  • the news is rather less promising for landlords who have formed a limited liability company and who, therefore, pay Corporation Tax;
  • first, there was probably a sigh of relief that there is to be no immediate increase – as was feared – in the current 19% rate of Corporation Tax;
  • less welcome, though, is the news that, with effect from 2023, it will go up from19% to 23%;
  • the Treasury defends the position by pointing out that even the higher rate of Corporation Tax is still the lowest of all the G7 countries and smaller businesses earning less than £50,000 a year will continue to pay at the lower rate of 19%;

Stamp Duty

  • landlords hoping to invest in new property will have welcomed the Chancellor’s extension of the Stamp Duty holiday for a further three months until the end of June. From then until the end of September, Stamp Duty will continue to be zero-rated for property valued at up to £250,000 (instead of the current) £500,000, but from 1st of October 2021 will revert to its normal rate (paid on property valued at more than £125,000);
  • the 3% Stamp Duty surcharge on the purchase of second homes – including buy to let property – remains in place throughout;  

Capital Gains Tax (CGT)

  • another area in which some property owners had feared an early increase was CGT;

Renting in the Capital is more affordable

The supply of private rented accommodation in London is bucking the national trend, reported Estate Agent Today recently.

Outside the capital, demand very markedly outstrips supply. But within London there has been a 30% increase in supply of rental property in January alone.

Although the market across the capital continues to be highly localised, the trends confirm a broad measure by which renting in the capital is becoming more affordable.

The new generation and what they do different when buying property

The pattern of homeownership – and the steps for getting on the housing ladder  – are qualitatively different for the current generation, argued Wales247 on the 4th of March:

  • renting presents more options for the kind of lifestyle they choose;
  • longer-term mortgages are favoured;
  • rooms may be sublet, or a home owned might be let to tenants;
  • roommates are welcomed;
  • homeownership comes later in life;
  • smaller homes are favoured; and
  • less expensive parts of the city are good for younger homebuilders.

Demand for rental properties beyond city centres rises

The demand for homes outside the major cities is some 21% higher than this time last year and those rental homes that are available are being let 30% more quickly than they were a year ago, said Property Reporter earlier this month.

The surge in demand for suburban and rural properties is fuelled by a post-lockdown demand for bigger homes that allow for more comfortable home working, access to a garden or other open space, and a lifestyle somewhat quieter than inner-city living.

Slowly but surely the energy efficiency ratings for any let property have grown steadily more exacting.

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) were introduced in the UK in October 2008 and every let property had to have one – rating the property from A (the most energy-efficient) to G (the most energy-inefficient).

With effect from the 1st of April 2018 in England and Wales, a landlord wanting to issue a new lease or tenancy agreement to incoming tenants had to make sure that their property achieved a minimum energy efficiency rating of E, explains Propertymark. In Scotland, there is also a minimum energy efficiency rating of E.

These Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) were extended to existing let properties and any renewed or continued tenancy agreement with effect from the 1st of April 2020.

Landlord Today warned that the standards are unlikely to rest there are that the limit will probably be raised further – to a minimum D rating – before very long.

Against that background, how can you improve the energy rating of your property to meet ever-increasing standards?

The principles

Energy suppliers Ovo Energy state the fundamental principle of energy efficiency as simply as possible – it is all a question of doing more with less. That means getting the same or even more by using less energy.

It gives the example of the energy-efficient light bulb which gives out the same amount of light but consumes less electricity and has much lower wasteful heat-loss than its old-style predecessor.

When it comes to changing light bulbs, therefore, make sure you use only the LED low energy lights variety – and, if your tenants are expected to change them, encourage them to do the same.

By a similar type of logic, you can explain to your tenants that they are wasting energy if they leave heating turned up in rooms they are not using. You can play your part as a responsible landlord, of course, by ensuring that the property is sufficiently well insulated – yet still adequately ventilated – that heat generated within the property stays within the property.

Heating the home

According to estimates prepared by the Energy Saving Trust, half the amount of money spent by the average household on their fuel bill goes towards paying for heating and hot water.

You might start your energy efficiency improvements, therefore, by improving the efficiency of the installed heating system:

  • not all central heating boilers are equal – consider replacing your existing one with a newer and more efficient boiler;
  • heating controls have become ever-more sophisticated and can ensure that you get the heat where you want it when you want it – so fit thermostat controls on all radiators, which tenants can turn off in rooms they are not using;
  • while you’re giving thought to those big-item, high-investment items, continue to tackle the smaller jobs – like lagging the hot water pipes, insulating the water tank and loft space, and generally installing whatever draught-proofing measures you can find and afford; and
  • to keep your central heating system and the associated pipes and radiators running smoothly and debris-free, use chemical inhibitors to keep the system clean.

Retaining the heat

Having improved the efficiency with which you’ve heated your home, the next concern is about retaining as much of that heat as possible:

  • cavity-wall or solid-wall insulation, for instance, is likely to save up to a third of all the heat that is lost in an uninsulated home, says the Energy Saving Trust;
  • insulating the ground floor and those above cold outside spaces, such as your garage, will also help to retain the heat;
  • insulate the hot water cylinder to reduce heat loss;
  • draught-proof windows and doors; and
  • loft and roof insulation can help cut the further 25% or so of heat-loss your home is likely to suffer.

More energy-efficient tips

NRLA (National Residential landlords Association) also suggests some simple tips too …

  • bleed all radiators several times a year;
  • replace older kitchen appliances for the most energy efficient type;
  • fit sensor lights both externally and in communal areas so that no lights are left on unnecessarily.

By following just a few of these energy efficiency improvement measures, you could be well on your way to having a more energy-efficient and MEES-compliant home.