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Insuring a Holiday Home – Holiday 365

Holiday homes can be a great investment as they provide an easy option for a holiday 365 days of the year. Many people think that holiday homes are easy to insure as they aren’t lived in as much. They are however considered very risky by insurers. A holiday home can be vacant for long periods of time which creates further issues. Theft is often more likely in an unoccupied house and visitors to a holiday home do not take as much care as the owners.

Therefore you will need an insurance cover specifically for second homes or holiday homes. A normal landlord insurance policy will not cover you and would not pay out in the event of a claim.

What does holiday home insurance cover?

Most holiday homes cover all risks from a standard policy but include periods where the home is vacant or family and friends are in the premises.

Cover for second homes or holiday homes can vary depending on the insurer. It is important from our point of view to know exactly the cover that you need. Instances that may be covered:-

Accidental Damage

The policy would include accidental damage by anyone occupying the property.

Home Emergency Cover

Some insurers will include a 24-hour emergency helpline if you need help in a domestic emergency such as a burst pipe.

Loss of Rental Income

If the property is uninhabitable after a flood or fire it is comforting to know that the insurer will cover your loss of income. Most insurers, however, will only look to cover the loss of pre-booked income. They cannot recover income if there were no bookings lost.

Alternative Accommodation

Insurers will cover the cost of placing your guests in alternative accommodation if the property is uninhabitable due to unforeseen circumstances.

What should I do with my holiday home to try and reduce the insurance premium?

  • Make sure that your policy covers exactly what you want. Some quotes may be cheap but they don’t have the comprehensive coverage you need
  • Improve the level of security. Make sure to kit the property with approved security standards such as alarms and window locks
  • Look at the excesses. A voluntary excess could reduce the premium. That excess would have to be paid in the event of a claim so it needs to be set to an affordable amount
  • Keep the home in good condition. Maintain the home so that it does not fall into disrepair. This will include the insulation of any pipes and tanks to prevent them from freezing in cold weather
  • Make sure to have contents insurance to cover personal possessions at the property

A holiday home is more vulnerable than your own home. Mainly due to the risk of multiple vacant periods. It is not a standard risk so you should speak to us regarding what cover you need. Our policies will cover:

  • Loss of rent and alternative accommodation
  • Costs and expenses to trace and repair the source of damage following an accidental escape of water
  • Your legal liability as owner of your home
  • Damage to gardens following an insured loss
  • Contents in garages and outbuildings if caused by theft
  • Contents whilst temporarily removed
  • Office equipment
  • Property in the open within the boundaries of the home
  • Replacement of locks following accidental loss or theft of keys

Request a call back if you would like a quote for your second home or holiday home.

insurance comparison sites Vs insurance brokers

You may ask yourself, what is best, buying insurance through a comparison website or purchasing from a broker?

In recent years these sites have become ever more popular. Likewise, the way we buy building insurance has changed dramatically. There are now many comparison websites that are becoming more popular. It means that consumers can compare the price of hundreds of insurance products from the comfort of their own home. But is it the best way to buy insurance? Do you get what you pay for?


Why have comparison websites become so popular and are they really the better option?

These sites seem an easy option when looking for a better deal on insurance. It’s simple and easy to fill out the details and then have a wealth of quotes to choose from. They are usually ranked from cheapest to most expensive. It seems ideal for those of us that have a busy lifestyle who want the opportunity to shop around for the cheapest deal in the simplest way. But, cheap insurance is also likely to provide a very limited level of cover. The rise of comparison websites has brought about a rise in competition among insurers. They know they need to be at the top of any search results to be in with a chance of winning the sale. This has led to stripped-down cover and high excesses.

You might feel that you have bagged yourself a bargain after using a comparison website. But you may run into further costs if you have to make a claim and find that you don’t have enough cover. Obviously, you take out insurance to make sure that you are actually covered when you need to claim. What you don’t want is to make a claim and suddenly find that your insurance doesn’t cover it.

You may also find that to keep prices low some insurers have now increased the excess or added a voluntary excess. This means that if you have a £1,000 claim you might end up paying for the first £750.00.


Do price comparison sites offer the best deal?

Price comparison websites work by giving you a list of quotes for the product that you want to buy either commercial or landlords insurance. You search for what you want and the deals that match your search term show up on the screen with the “best deals” near the top.


What about excesses?

If you have ever used a comparison website. You may have seen that you are asked to state the amount of excess to pay on your policy. This is usually the voluntary excess and, this is then added to any compulsory excess. So in the event of a claim, you could have to pay a much higher sum than first thought.

Did you know that insurers pay to be at the top of the list? Insurance companies choose to pay for preferential comparison site listings instead of advertising by other means. For them, it is a better use of their money. For the end-user, though it can result in a confusing and misleading sales journey. The quote at the top of the listing may not be the highest level of cover.


Most favoured nation clauses

These are one key issue that you need to be aware of. They are the so-called “most favoured nation”. Arrangements between the insurance companies and the comparison websites. This is where the websites strike a deal with an insurer. Meaning a particular product cannot be sold at a cheaper price anywhere else.

Does this sound anti-competitive? The regulators believe it is. Because of concerns in this practice. The competition and markets authority have recently launched a separate investigation into an unnamed comparison website. Household insurance in particular. This report found that it wasn’t always the cheapest cover and/or the best possible price.

BIBA said that whilst they support consumer choice, clients need to be aware that they are not taking or speaking to experts. They may not be realising that the low prices sometimes result in having benefits stripped out or a high excess.


Price isn’t everything

While brokers always earn a commission there will always remain a place for individual advice and understanding individual needs.

This can be especially true when a customer is seeking cover for nonstandard risks that may need specialist knowledge. A broker can offer more support to a customer. To ensure that the level of cover offered meets their needs and can continue to offer help in the event of a claim being made.

Whilst price is always going to be a huge deciding factor. For many people. You might find for a very small extra amount you have much better cover well within your reach and you need to check whether you have this option. Price comparison websites don’t give you this they are looking for the best possible price at the least cover.

For instance, when people buy travel insurance based on a price. They don’t check or understand what excess they may need to pay should they have a claim. Many consumers don’t realise that any excess applied is per person and per section. Which isn’t the total excess for everyone that is covered on the policy which could also lead to a disappointment.

Whilst there are often filters available on many price comparison platforms consumers don’t always understand enough about the product to use them. As such they may not experience the negative financial impact until a claim is made which it can be too late.


Do price comparison websites offer the best deal?

Not always as outlined above. There are several different reasons why these may not be the best ones as follows:-

Assumptions – sites might make assumptions about you and the kind of insurance that you need. When you use a price comparison platform you are giving details like your age, job address and all these can affect your insurance costs. If you get a deal that doesn’t include these you might end up paying more for your cover.

Sponsored deals – some price comparison websites are sponsored by insurers. Which means they list the best deals for those insurers near the top of their listing. They should, however, have a sticker saying sponsored.

Hidden costs – deals displayed on comparison sites may not be as cheap as they seemed. Quotes with low premiums might be at the top, but the excess you will have to pay could be very high you might not be able to afford the cost if you need to claim.

Complete searches – price comparison platforms don’t always scan the entire market. Often different sites have different algorithms. This means that they can’t give you different search results so you may not be seeing the best available deals.

No thrill cover – the cheapest deals which may not cover your needs. The lowest premium and an affordable excess is cheap upfront. But you might not find it is covered for accidental damage and end up paying them more for the damage yourself. It can pay to go direct to companies like ourselves to discuss this.


Why use a Broker?

Brokers such as us will work with a panel of insurers and so will have access to the whole market. Often brokers have access to insurance products that cannot be bought on a comparison website. Buying your building insurance from a broker can give you access to expert advice and help you gain the most suitable insurance.

We will, for instance, talk to you over the phone and go through what cover you actually need. Also, discuss the property in detail and your personal circumstances. We can check what cover you already have on your current policy and then match it or increase it. You may not appreciate that a lot of insurance companies offer insurance products with low levels of cover on comparison sites. Yet brokers have policies that cover a substantial amount of items such as:-

  • Property owner’s liabilities in case tenants injure themselves
  • Loss of rent cover and alternative accommodation when the property is uninhabitable.
  • Accidental damage
  • Malicious damage by a tenant (most policies don’t cover this)
  • Theft by the tenant (often excluded by many insurers)
  • Trace and access for damage to the property when finding a cause of a leak
  • Lock replacement
  • No reduction in cover for up to 30 days when vacant
  • Eviction of squatters


We would be able to provide you with fantastic personal service and you won’t just be another number in a computer. We can identify what you need in relation to any specialist cover.

One of the major benefits in purchasing through a broker is to ensure that we are able to help you when you have a claim on your policy. You will often find that claims can be quite arduous and difficult to deal with.


I have a cheaper quote from an online agent than my broker but I am not sure about the cover what should I do?

What you should do is check that your policy covers you for everything that you actually want. You will often find with online comparison sites that they are selling you the cheapest policy with the least amount of cover. It is fine to have a saving of £10.00 or £20.00 in your pocket today. But when it comes to making a claim and it costs you thousands because you haven’t got the appropriate cover. It could cost you so much more money in the future. It is important that you are aware what your policy actually covers. You will often find with online comparison sites that they cover the very bare basics such as party, fire and theft. Are you covered for malicious damage? Are you covered for accidental damage? The likelihood is no and that you will have a problem when you come to make a claim. It is not the sort of thing that people realise that they are trying to save as much money as possible. We understand that this may be the case and we will always try and guide you in the right direction to ensure that your policy has what you require. You wont be just clicking a button and not being able to speak to somebody you can actually talk to us over the phone and we will happily go through it with you. Yes we may be being paid a commission but we are ensuring that you get the best possible product and we will happily disclose this at any time. We are not being paid to show you five different policies. Having the top policy coming to the top because the insurance company has paid for it like comparison sites. Most comparison sites have an agreement with their providers that they not only pay for a commission on their policy but also pay to be at the top of the list. Whilst it may save you money it doesn’t guarantee that you have actually got the right amount of cover.

One of the main reasons people go with a company like ourselves is that it could help you save time. We have the personal touch and we will look for the best possible product for you not only the first time that you contact us but every time thereafter. We will be able to help you through making a claim and guide you through the process to make it a lot less daunting for you.

We have saved clients thousands of pounds over the past twenty years and ensure that this is not just done when you take the policy out but every year. You will often find with comparison sites is that all they are interested in is getting your business for the first year and then not thereafter. We are here to help you every year and we are not going anywhere.


Here are some examples what we have saved our clients’ money on but without reducing any form of cover:-


Right to Manage Company…

  • Building consisting of 9 Leasehold Flats
  • We provided a cheaper premium for the same level of cover
  • Freeholders Insurance/ Managing Agents Premium – £5,814
  • iInsure365 premium – £3,106
  • Massive saving for the client – £2,707


Miss M…

  • Block of 5 flats
  • 100% flat roof
  • Existing renewal Premium – £1,046
  • Our Premium – £739
  • Massive saving for the client – £307
  • At renewal the next year we then saved the client another £130!!


Mr W…

  • Portfolio of 10 properties
  • Insured through a landlord association
  • Existing insurers premium – £3,294
  • iInsure365 premium – £2,584
  • Total saving for the client – £710


Ms B…

  • 2 bedroom mid-terrace house
  • Existing insurers premium – £360
  • iInsure365 premium – £275
  • Total saving for the client – £85


Why don’t you look at our Google reviews a constant five stars can’t be wrong. Yes they are all clients and none of them are made up and we can assure you you wouldn’t get that on a comparison site. We are here to help you every year not just one year and to ensure that you are a long term client of ours and that you recommend us in future. It is in our ethos. Don’t hesitate to contact us on (01273) 827090.


What to do next?

If you decide to buy from a comparable website it may be an idea to check the policy wording. This is to ensure that your property and possessions are adequately covered and you are aware of what is not covered should you make a claim.

We will be able to provide you with added benefits and look at the small print.

Please do not hesitate to contact us in this regard.

New Landlords have New Opportunities

There is more choice for Buy to Let mortgages now than there has been for the twelve previous years. Figures from moneyfacts.co.uk show that Buy to Let mortgage products have reached their highest level in twelve years. The total number of products has increased to over 397 within the last twelve months and products in this area amount to more than 2000.
This is despite the ongoing uncertainty of the property market. Providers are not yet shying away from offering landlords a greater choice of products.
Many property owners have found over the past couple of years with Brexit looming that it has been very difficult to sell their properties. They have therefore turned to try to let their property out. However, they have in some cases failed to change their mortgage over. They have also fallen into the trap of thinking that their standard home insurance will cover the property even though it’s rented out.
When you rent a property out having the correct insurance is absolutely critical for any landlord. A standard home insurance policy will not cover damage created by tenants. Letting out the property could even invalidate the home insurance altogether.
There are so many additional items included in a landlord insurance policy in comparison to home insurance. It can be quite scary for landlords so it is always best to look into having correct insurance.
If you accidentally become a landlord you need to look at the market to ensure that you are letting your property correctly.
Our tips for renting out property are below:-
1. Thoroughly research the rental market in your area to ensure that you are charging the right level of rent.
2. Marketing the property is always very important as you do not wish to leave it empty for a period of time known. This is known as a void period.
3. We recommend you use a letting agent or somebody who has professional qualifications to rent out your property. Did you know that the rental market has had over 127 different types of law within the last 5 years?
4. Always communicate with your tenant if there are any problems with the property.
5. You should always carry out proper checks at the property roughly every three months.
6. Make sure you follow all the legal requirements applicable to the property.
7. Make sure you have the right insurance!
8. Make sure you draw up an inventory at the beginning of every tenancy so you know exactly what the state of the property is before you let it out.
If you have become an accidental landlord and you haven’t changed your mortgage you may wish to consider this. With the withdrawal of the relief on tax you may find that shopping around gives you a better mortgage rate than what you are currently paying. When changing the mortgage it is always best to contact your financial advisor or bank to look for the best rate possible.
You can also look to join a Landlord Association. We deal with The BLA who may be able to help you and give special discounts on various services that may be of help to you.

Management Company or Managing Agent?

What is the difference between a Leasehold and a Freehold?

Freeholds are where a person or organization owns the property outright including the land it sits on.
Leasehold is where somebody buys the right to live in the property for a certain period usually 99 or 125 years. The leaseholder can make arrangements to extend their lease, see our articles on enfranchisement. But ownership of the property returns to the freeholder at the end of the term.
If you are a leaseholder and you own a flat within a block of flats, you don’t own the land that it sits on. The freeholder owns the land the property sits on. Leaseholders usually pay some form of ground rent to the freeholder.

What is the difference between a landlord, a residential management company and a residential managing agent?

The landlord/ freeholder owns the building. They have certain responsibilities to the leaseholders. Many buildings also have a residential management company. They are party to the lease and have a legal obligation to the leaseholders to provide certain services.
You will also find in some cases that a landlord and a residential management company will not carry out any services or duties. Instead, they will appoint a residential managing agent to do so on their behalf.

What does a residential managing agent do?

A residential managing agent is a person or company appointed by the landlord or residential management company to manage the building. They are not responsible for the management and repair of a building in the lease. They are often hired to carry out these duties in the building on behalf of the landlord or residential management company. Their role is to ensure that the landlord, residential management company, and leaseholders follow the terms of the lease.

What are service charges and what is reasonable to pay?

These are charges set by landlords to pay for providing services to maintain your building in a block of flats. The services could be; cleaning communal areas, maintaining gardens, lifts and cleaning windows.
The service charge often includes building insurance. However, this does not include the cost of insuring the inside of individual leaseholders flats or homes. Contents Insurance will cover this. 
The cost of service charges will vary depending on the type of building they are being charged on. The Association of Residential Managing Agents (ARMA) estimates that the average flat owner in London pays between £1800.00 to £2000.00 a year in service charges. Yet, this can be higher or lower depending on the age of the building and how leaseholders divide the service charges.
Service charges are generally variable. This means that they will change from time to time in line with actual costs. In practice, a landlord or management company will set an estimate for the year ahead and charge accordingly. They will then calculate the difference between this and the actual cost when the financial year ends. The difference will be either charged or repaid to the leaseholders. They may set up a reserve fund and transfer any excess to the reserve fund.
Your service charge contributions will be a proportion of the service charge cost. The lease usually states that the leaseholder will pay a reasonable or fair proportion. This could be anything. For example, if there are ten flats in the building you would normally pay a tenth but it depends on the contents of the lease.
All service charges must be in accordance with the terms of the Lease and where reasonable in accordance with the law. The key legal requirement is that these costs must be reasonably incurred and that the service or works must be of a reasonable standard. You can challenge any reasonableness of service charges via a property tribunal.


It is important that you look at the costs of all the amounts charged by the freeholder. If you feel that you are being charged excessively for the building insurance please don’t hesitate to contact us. We will be more than happy to give you a quote for your building. You will need to find out if any claims have occurred within the last three years and what your sum insured will be. We often find that buildings are over-insured. We now have a special tool that will work out the correct amount to insure the building for. Please don’t hesitate to contact us on this.

Understanding Council Tax exemptions

Empty properties have previously been exempt from council tax or subject to a discount. Yet, many councils over the past few years have decided to scrap the exemptions and create another form of revenue for themselves. Councils can actually charge extra council tax for empty properties.

Second Homes

You may pay less council tax for a property you own or rent that is not your main home. Councils can give furnished second homes or holiday homes a discount of up to 50% if the property is empty at any one time. However, it all depends on your individual council.

Empty Properties

You usually have to pay council tax on an empty home but the council can decide to give a discount. The discount amount is down to them. For instance, Brighton and Hove City Council have now withdrawn the discount meaning that the full council tax is due.
Your council can also charge up to 50% extra council tax if the home has been empty for a period of two years or more.

When don’t you have to pay council tax?

If you’re selling an empty property on behalf of an owner who has died, you only start paying council tax six months after you get the probate.
Second homes don’t get a council tax bill for as long as they stay empty. This covers homes that are vacant for the following reasons:-
  • The occupier is in prison (unless they are in prison for not paying council fine or council tax)
  • The occupier has moved into a care home or hospital
  • Repossession of the home
  • The home is unhabitable and declared so by law, for example, if they are derelict
  • The home has been compulsorily purchased for demolition
You may get a discount if your home is undergoing major repair work or structural changes, for example, if your walls are being rebuilt. However, all of these exemptions are totally adjudicated by your local authority.

Discounts for full-time students

Households, where everyone is a full time student, don’t have to pay council tax. However, if they do get a bill they do have to let the local authority know that they are in full-time employment. To count as a full-time student their course must be at least a year long and involve at least 21 hours of study per week.
If the tenants are studying for a qualification and are under 20 the course must be at least three months long and involve at least 12 hours per week. Again each individual council is different.

What happens if the property is derelict?

Your property is only considered derelict if it is:-
  • Impossible to live in, for example, due to weather, riot, rot or vandalism
  • Would need major structural work to be wind and water tight again
You can challenge your council tax band if you think a derelict property should be removed from the council tax valuation list.

If the property is being refurbished what happens?

When major home improvements have been ongoing the local council will inform you when you have to start paying council tax. You will get a “completion notice” that tells you the dates you must start paying your council tax.
If you have any queries regarding your council tax we would suggest that you speak to your local authority. Each individual council has the right to change the council tax rules within their district. It is important that you understand the applicable rules. Council tax can be a substantial amount and affect your investment.

Illegal Cultivation of Drugs – Are you Covered?

Unfortunately not all insurance policies cover damage caused by the cultivation of illegal drugs. Something that is easy to overlook. The cultivation of drugs has become a hot topic over the last few years. A number of landlords have lost out when claiming as they have found they do not have sufficient cover in place. The nature of the damage can range. Below are examples of the types of damage or alterations caused by cultivating illegal drugs:
  • Extensive water damage and condensation from irrigation systems and strong lighting
  • Damage from the use of plastic and polythene linings of walls
  • Sealing of doors and windows
  • Installation of ducting and extractor fans
  • Damage to electricity supplies following tampering by the tenant to accommodate high power lighting
The cost of returning the property to a habitable and rentable condition can be horrendous.

The Facts

Some surprising facts around drugs in the UK:
  • Police seized over 300,000 cannabis plants in England and Wales in 2017
  • A third of all investigations into the theft of electricity since 2016 relate to the cultivation of illegal drugs
  • Cannabis-related claims for landlords almost doubled since 2015 for landlords
Cannabis cultivation remains prolific across the country. A cause for concern for landlords as their properties may be being used for illegal activities. The last thing that a landlord wants is to find out that tenants were using their property to grow drugs. Landlords could face a potential police investigation. More likely though is that there will be significant damage to the property that will need fixing before letting the property out again. It can cost thousands to repair the damage caused by cannabis growers. Buildings are often riddled with damp and require extensive repairs.
It is important therefore that landlords carry out inspections every three months. The landlord doesn’t have to carry these out themselves, a letting or managing agent can do it for them. Letting agents often carry out inspections every three months on their properties.

What to look out for

When carrying out an inspection you may see signs of the property being used for cultivation of cannabis. Things to look out for are:
  • The smell – cannabis has a distinctive smell that is likely to be apparent when entering the property
  • Noise levels – growers are likely to install extractor fans to ventilate and you may hear this from outside or inspecting the property
  • Cabling – there may be cabling outside the property to illegally extract energy from street lights or neighbouring properties
  • Blackouts – windows may be obscured to prevent people from seeing in
  • Barriers – there may be bars installed to doors and windows
  • Heat – watch out for high levels of heat and condensation
It is the landlords’ responsibility to ensure that he has inspected the property on a regular basis with evidence of the inspections. The evidence is vital as it will be necessary to prove the inspections in the case of a claim including the dates and times of the inspections. 
It is important to check your policy documents to ensure that the policy does cover damage from the illegal cultivation of drugs. Not every policy will cover this scenario. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for a quote. Our quote documents will state whether this cover is included.

What insurance do I need when starting a business from home?

There are various types of insurance needed when starting a business from home. I have outlined these below to give an idea of potential risks that home startups are exposed to.

Commercial buildings insurance

The standard insurance for a home may not cover a commercial business when its created. Its advised to contact the existing insurance company to find out. One consideration is that there could be items to insure under contents insurance. The potential risks being flood, fire, storm and burglary. It is now not just a home but it is now the headquarters for the business. So it is extremely important that the building insurance covers all parts of the business.

Contents insurance

The contents insurance covers the possessions kept in the home. These normally include furniture, electronics, jewellery and money. Mainly against loss, damage or theft. Some policies may cover accidental damage. However, they will not cover items owned by the business. There needs to be a specific policy in place. It is unlikely that this can be taken out separately from the buildings insurance. It would, therefore, be best to find building insurance that includes contents.

Employers liability insurance

Employers liability insurance is for if an employee needs to claim from their employer. This could be if they were to be injured, ill or their property is damaged as a result of working for the business. Employers liability insurance covers this along with any legal costs incurred.

If a home startup has employees or plans to hire employees in the future then the answer is yes, the cover is needed. It is therefore important to check that this is in place.

Public liability insurance

This covers if a customer or client suffers an injury or damage to their person or property as a result of visiting the business.

This insurance can cover legal costs incurred if a customer or a client makes a claim and receives compensation.

If the nature of the business involves members of the public visiting the home or travelling to visit them this should be an essential policy.

For example, a customer may trip on a rug and break their ankle. The customer would have strong grounds to make a claim. It is therefore important to ask and check.

Professional Indemnity insurance

This is often referred to as PI insurance. This covers losses made from making mistakes or providing inadequate services or advice whilst working with a client. The types of claims covered by this insurance include libel and defamation, negligence and misrepresentation. As well as omissions, errors, breach of confidence and loss of information or money.

Employers Liability

This is a must-have product for any business with employees. It covers the liability of the employer against employees that want to claim for their losses. This will cover the claimants’ costs and expenses that the employer is legally liable to pay. As well as their own legal costs and legal expenses and compensation for attending court if necessary. For example, if an employee trips over a wire and is unable to work due to their injury the employer could be liable for all of the above. Due to the sensitive nature of the cover and the high potential costs involved taking this type of policy is highly advisable.

Mark Harrington

Managing Director


The problems faced when claiming on landlord insurance

Buy to let landlords will face a time when they have to make a claim on their landlord insurance. Any insurer will have their criteria applicable for a successful claim to be made. It is important for landlords to understand the expectations and what their obligations are. An explanation of the usual barriers faced are below.

Failing to give the insurer proper information or reporting the claim

Insurance companies aren’t going to pay out unless they have full details of the claim. It may be that there are a certain number of days in which to inform the insurance company of a claim. The usual time frame is within 30 days of the damage taking place. It is important therefore that as soon as a landlord is aware of a potential loss they notify the insurance company and complete a claim form. It is always important in relation to claims to give as much information as is possible to the Insurance company. For instance, there needs to be the correct insurance in place. Specifically, landlord insurance not just a home insurance policy. In this instance, they may not pay out.

Not knowing what the policy covers

If the property has tenants in a home insurance policy would not be sufficient. When taking out a policy be sure to read the terms and conditions and understand the cover levels.

Items to look out for are; malicious damage by tenants, subsidence, flood and accidental damage. Each policy will differ depending on the insurance company. Don’t hesitate to ask if you wish to have details of the policy.

Under Insurance

It is essential to not under insure the property. For example, the cost of rebuilding the property is £70,000.00 but the rebuild cost used for insurance is £35,000.00. If there was to be a claim for water damage and the cost of repairs came to £6,000.00 after the excess it would be underinsured by 50%. The claim payout would, therefore, reduce by half to £3,000.00 rather than the full £6,000.00.

It is very important to get this right. It is also critical to not remove index linking at renewal as often this will leave the building underinsured and exposed on a claim.

Fair Wear and Tear

A landlord insurance policy will not cover damages that relate to fair wear and tear. If any damage is due to wear and tear landlords will have to cover this as part of their “landlord business”. Even though they may not consider themselves a business in the traditional sense.

Damage to Unoccupied properties

Most landlord insurance policies will only provide cover to an unoccupied building for a limited number of days. This ranges from 14 to 90 days. It is important to be aware of what the policy allows for.

If it is going to be unoccupied for longer than this then the insurance company will need to be informed. They may well limit the cover to fire, lightning, explosion and aircraft damage, commonly known as FLEE cover.

Failing to check the tenants and/or carry out inspections

For a house in multiple occupation (HMO), it is now law to ensure that properties are regularly checked if a licence is in place. Insurers also expect landlords to carry out regular inspections. It is important to check the property roughly every three months. Especially considering that there are a substantial amount of problems with tenants and cannabis farms. If regular inspections are not carried out the insurer is within their rights to not pay out. Inspections are now critical.


There could be many problems experienced by landlords when making a claim on their insurance. Yet most of these will be down to sloppy practice. It is the landlords’ responsibility to ensure they are covered correctly. So it is important to check the insurance documents when they arrive. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you wish to discuss the insurance with us.

Winter Property Management Tips

Don’t let winter conditions force you to make a claim!

We have listed some tips on winter property management to ensure that your property is looked after by your tenants. Therefore ensuring that there are no unnecessary claims resulting in increased premiums:-
1) Make sure that the pipes and roof have insulation and the loft storage tank, if there is any, has insulation foam ensuring that they don’t freeze.


2) Ask your tenants to make sure that they are heating and maintaining the property correctly, even when they are not there. Tenants often don’t necessarily turn the heating on sometimes because of the cost. They do though need to ensure that it is properly heated so there are no problems with the pipes freezing.


3) Make sure that your stopcock is working and that your tenants know where it is.


4) Do you have a condensing boiler? If so, make sure to lag the outlet pipe to ensure that it doesn’t freeze during the winter. If they are not the boiler can freeze and consequently need replacing.


5) Make sure that your tenants have bled the radiators to release any trapped air. If the radiator isn’t warming up due to trapped air then it won’t keep the house warm.


6) Make sure that there are no loose guttering or overhanging trees or broken tiles at the property as these could cause damage during a storm.


7) Make sure that you have adequate insurance in place including having enough contents cover


8) Check the central heating is working properly. It may be time to have a service of the boiler to make sure that it is as efficient as possible?


9) Drain any outside pipes. Burst pipes can be a nightmare and often the outside pipe or water systems are overlooked.


10) Does your property have a working chimney? If so, make sure that it is swept on a yearly basis.


11) Ask your tenants to make sure if there is any build-up of snow on the roof to keep an eye on it. Often this can melt quickly and consequently cause more damage 


12) Make sure that the roof is in good repair. Get a roofer round to ensure that there are no leaks in the roof and there are no loose tiles to cause any damage.


13) Get them to check all the outside gates to make sure that they are secure and not likely to come off in a storm.


14) If your property is empty be sure to drain down the water and keep the heating on a low temperature.


15) Make sure to complete any small works such as draughty doors and flimsy pipes before the winter.


The above property management tips are to help you to ensure that your home is protected and you don’t make unnecessary claims you don’t need to.

New Rules on Gas Safety Certificates – Did you know?

On the 6th of April, a new law passed in respect of the timing of gas safety certificates. A gas safety certificate can be carried out up to two months before the expiry date without the renewal date changing. So it gives more leeway for landlords and plumbers. Allowing them to carry out these checks up to two months before the end of the current certificate.

Before, records needed to be retained for at least 2 years. Now the amending regulations state to keep the last two records as a minimum.

This is a very subtle difference. Theoretically, gas safety record completion could be up to 14 months after being due. and so if it were left as only two years, there could be a situation where only one record needed retaining. The change fixes this potential problem.

The new rules do not change the landlord’s obligation to carry out a gas safety check.  Landlords now have flexibility offered by the rules.

What is a gas safety check?

Do you know what it actually covers? It covers the following:-
  • Check with the occupant to determine if there are any problems with the gas installation/appliance.
  • Check that all gas appliances have an adequate supply of air.
  • Ensure the effective operation of an appliance, control taps and ignition system and any supervision device is fitted.
  • Inspect the flame picture of any burner
  • Check clearances for combustible materials eg. Kitchen cupboards etc.
  • Ensure the stability of the appliance (including the supply of bracket of hook and chain on gas cookers)
  • Inspect the gas installation pipework and where applicable any flexible connections
  • Open flues:-
  • Check the condition and full route of the flue. Where applicable, ensure any terminal/chimney pot is suitable
  • Inspect the appliance connection to any flue liner or chimney. In the case of a black back boiler check the seals of all pipe ducts and voids entering the building’s opening.
  • Perform a flue flow check
  • For a gas fire, inspect it and clear the catchment space, check that any dampers have been removed or fixed in the open position.
  • Using any guidance given and manufacturer instructions, test the appliance for spillage
  • Room sealed appliances:-
  • Inspect case and site glass seal on appliance replace it if necessary
  • Check the position of the terminal. Clearance for corners, vegetation etc. Ensure the terminal guide is fitted as appropriate.
  • Check the operating pressure or heat input rate or, where necessary, ensure both are correct
  • Test all controls to ensure that the operation is satisfactory.
  • Test all disturbed gas connections for tightness using leak detection fluid. Carry out a full gas tightness test if necessary.
  • Inform the gas user of any further work required or make recommendations as necessary

Complex cases

If a wall or ceiling hides the chimney/flue preventing its inspection. An inspection hatch should be fitted. Gas safety guidance states to classify the chimney/flue as a risk if it cannot be inspected. You will need to ensure that your gas engineer checks everything for you.

Don’t hesitate to keep yourself updated with other law changes. Our monthly newsletter contains all our new articles. Register on our website to keep up to date

Mark Harrington

Managing Director


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