Should my Tenants have Tenant Contents Insurance?

By RentSafeUK
In News/Blog
Apr 7th, 2017
2 Comments
1890 Views

Landlord & Tenant responsibilities and why should a new tenant always insure their contents?…

As a landlord, you have certain responsibilities to your tenants and they have certain responsibilities to your property under the criminal and civil law. Under the criminal statutory law, your responsibilities as a landlord are to provide a safe, secure and healthy environment when renting a property by:

  • Offering your tenant suitable habitable accommodation, where they can reside in your property as a home without fear of harm from the environment and/or others.
  • Ensure that your property does not endanger a tenant and that it does not contain anything that could prove detrimental to their health
  • Safeguard your tenants against harassment

If a landlord does not abide by the above, they will be breaching criminal law and could be prosecuted with punishments ranging from a fine, prison and in the worst instances both.

However, a tenant’s responsibility within a tenancy agreement is much less challenging. A tenant’s responsibilities are contractual and are only subject to civil law, not criminal. A statutory tenancy agreement is limited to a few simple conditions and when additional conditions are added by landlords to an agreement they are very unlikely to ever succeed, should they be used as a reason to try and gain a possession order via court.

No one can foresee the future and even with the most stringent 12 point referencing, available at Tenant Referencing UK, then landlords have to hope that their tenants abide by the conditions to keep the property in a good state of repair, abide by the terms of the agreement, be civil to neighbours and to meet the rent in full. Remember, once a tenant is in your property a tenant’s responsibilities to a landlord are not enforceable by criminal law; they are all a civil matter.

Our experience over that past 30 years has shown us that most tenancy problems begin if a tenant experiences financial problems, loss of employment or has a breakdown in relationship and, as you see from the above when these problems arise it is not an even playing field for landlords and tenants.

Landlords need to make sure they are protected in the future against such issue escalating should they arise. Which is why Rent Safe UK offer the best Rent Guarantee Insurance and Contents Insurance, to protect both landlords and tenants.

At Tenant Referencing UK and Rent Safe UK experience has shown us that the majority of tenants do not enter a tenancy agreement thinking they are going to have a problem and this is because nearly all financial problems that arise are unforeseen, but when a financial problem happens it can be difficult to overcome if you are only just living within your means every month. Therefore a large majority of tenants, as with the majority of people, when a huge financial burden gets placed upon them simply fall into a spiralling downward vortex of trying to meet payments that are larger than their current income.


Tenant Contents Insurance;

One of the biggest problems with letting a property can be when a tenant has had an accident in the property, resulting in damage to the landlord’s possessions. If this occurs, and they do not have the immediate savings or insurance to cover the damage to put the problem right, a tenant will generally do one of three things. They will either:

Option 1 – make good the damage immediately at their own expense.  This is not always an option if a tenant needs to replace an entire carpet, perhaps a damaged chipped bath, or even accidental fire damage in the event of a small fire, or maybe even water damage from an overflowing bath, sink or washing machine. This type of damage can very easily run into the thousands of pounds and most tenants do not have adequate savings to pay for these repairs outright.

Option 2 –  the tenant relies on their deposit to try and meet some of the costs.  This option is always very difficult, as the deposit is normally limited to an amount that will only cover minor repairs and cleaning and will not extend to accidental damage on a larger scale. The landlord will probably never agree to use the deposit, as this would leave them exposed at the end of the tenancy for other works or repeat accidents and the damage could (more than likely) exceed the deposit anyway; leaving the tenant with even more to pay to rectify the repairs.

The other problem with this option is that if a landlord uses or retains a tenant’s deposit to cover some of the repairs, and then the landlord serves notice on the tenant because they tenant cannot pay for the repair, the tenant will have great difficulty in moving on unless they can save even more for another deposit for another home. This would mean that they are stuck in their existing property and under pressure by a landlord. When this happens a tenant will generally be protective over their position and (more often than not) turn hostile; because they have become financially entrapped.

As Landlords ourselves, we have heard it hundreds of times; “How can I move when you won’t give me my deposit back?” This scenario becomes known as the “stalemate impasse” – a position to which neither party can move without great pains.  It becomes almost impossible to agree on an amicable way out and always ends up costing a landlord dearly. It is a standard life trait that when an impasse is reached, each party does what they can to protect their position. Landlords who go down the Section 21 or Section 8 route usually result in the tenant’s counter reaction and they stop paying the rent and/or stop caring for their home (your property), whilst they wait for a court to issue a possession order – in some cases, even waiting until the bailiffs turn up to evict them!

The scenario above is a very real life act that has been played out thousands of times by landlords and tenants, simply because no prevention (as easy as a tenant contents insurance) has been put in place before the tenancy began. A tenants contents insurance can be made at the point of initial referencing and takes approximately two minutes. The premium for a full years cover can start from as little as £70 per annum, which is a small price to pay to retain a good relationship between a landlord and their tenant in the future.

Option 3 – is for a tenant to pick up and leave the property, leaving the landlord with the bill for the damages. This of course, is a development that is played out regularly but is detrimental to both landlord and tenant. The landlord ends up with an empty property and needs to spend money whilst it’s empty putting it right and the tenants can end up with county court proceedings against them; hindering their ability to get a decent home from a decent landlord in the future.

 

Get a Tenants Insurance Quote


Landlord & Tenant FAQ,s   

Landlord Question - Can I make Tenant Contents Insurance mandatory to a new tenant in a new tenancy agreement to protect my possessions?

A – Yes, it is very simple. At the viewing, if you agree to take a tenant you can make it part of you agreeing to the fact that they will need to have Tenant Contents Insurance. If they say they already have an insurance you can check its validity and the fact that they have changed it to your address before they move in. If they do not have an existing tenants’ contents insurance policy, we will give you a free quote for a policy at your rental address. Our account managers will fill out the relevant boxes, send the form to your tenant and if they accept the quote then they can buy the policy. We can also inform you that the tenant has taken the policy to protect your possessions before they move in. If it is part of your agreement that the tenant takes Contents Insurance and if your tenants insure through Rent Safe UK we will monitor their annual renewal. On the tenants’ agreement at the outset, we will get their authorisation to inform you if they have renewed their annual policy or if they have failed to renew with Rent Safe UK.

Tenant Question - What benefit do I get from having Contents Insurance?

A – Quite simply that your possessions are fully insured and that You, the tenant, are the sole beneficiary of the contents insurance policy. Although your landlord has insisted that you have the policy to protect the content you are renting from them, all your possessions are insured as well. On application, you will be asked for what cover you would like and the amount of cover to protect your belongings. We will ask the landlord for the amount of cover required to cover their possessions whilst you rent and both amounts will be added together to get the total insured amount of cover needed. Your premium will be calculated on the amount of cover required and the property location of your new home.

Landlord Question - Does Tenant Contents Insurance cost me anything?

A – No . The Tenant Contents Insurance is your tenant’s insurance for their contents and paid for by the tenant. However, a certain amount of the cost of the cover is to insure the chattels that the tenant is financially responsible for, because during their tenancy agreement they are renting them from you. In the event of an accident, the tenant will claim for the damages to your property and then pay for the property to be restored back to the state to which it was handed over to the tenant at the beginning of the tenancy agreement.


Any questions? Then simply email us at: insurance@rentsafeuk.co.uk .