Managing a property can be incredibly rewarding, however it is crucial for landlords to develop a thorough understanding of how to protect their investments against the risk of unexpected costs. Many landlords fail to realise that basic policies don’t provide cover when properties become vacant. This is where unoccupied property insurance comes in. Designed especially for empty residences, unoccupied property insurance policies give landlords the total reassurance that even when tenants are off the radar, they’ll still receive financial support should anything go awry.
In general, most policies consider a property to be unoccupied after it has been vacant for over 30 consecutive days. Policies vary from provider to provider, and can usually be tailored to include different levels of cover depending on individual landlord needs. Most providers require empty homes to be in a reasonable state of repair, with secure windows and doors. Landlords may also be asked to remove valuables, install a burglar alarm, drain water systems, turn off utilities, programme heating to frost setting and carry out regular inspections.
Across the UK there are around 700,000 empty properties that are unoccupied for an array of reasons. Here are three of the most common:
- Properties on the market
Selling and letting property is a time consuming process and it’s often easier to arrange viewings while the residence is empty. For landlords going through the letting process without tenants, unoccupied property insurance provides invaluable peace of mind.
- Finding new tenants
While ideally there should be very little time between old tenants moving out and new tenants moving in, this is not always the case. Finding new renters can often take time which means that properties can be vacant for weeks, or even months on end. If tenants move out unexpectedly and fail to give notice landlords can also be left in the lurch.
- Renting to students
Students make up a large chunk of Britain’s rental market and are a great way for landlords to rake in rent during semesters. However during school holidays properties can often become vacant for up to four months. Rather than seek out short term renters many landlords prefer to leave properties empty while waiting for school to resume.
Extras and add ons
As well as basic unoccupied property insurance landlords can add on extras to create a watertight policy. These include cover for the removal of squatters, property vandalism, personal identity theft due to stolen mail and more.