Tag: building insurance

What Your Rental Property Needs To Meet The Standard

What Your Rental Property Needs To Meet The Standard

If you own a property that you’re looking to rent out to tenants, there are a number of basic requirements that you need to consider. Obviously, having the property in reasonable condition is important and can help you fetch a higher income on the property. Some requirements have a legal component, meaning you have to ensure the property reaches a standard such that the tenant is safe and enjoys a certain standard of living.

Another consideration is the changes to the Real Estate Market. With tight competition in the rental business, it makes sense to have an edge over the rest. Take also into account, what is now classed as ‘the average’ living conditions compared to what they were 10-20 years ago.

Maintaining your investment property in good condition, providing desirable features and insuring against unexpected events are things you can do to ensure that your asset continues to grow in value. Below is a list of suggestions you may wish to consider:

Efficiency

 

There is a growing need on the part of homeowners to ensure their homes are as energy efficient as possible. In fact, there are strict requirements for new homes being built that they reach a certain standard of efficiency. Similarly, landlords’ responsibilities in these areas are becoming more robust and in the future, homes that have efficiency problems or fail to reach a certain threshold may not be able to be rented out.

Homes with solar panels and low voltage lighting are increasingly being viewed very favourably by prospective tenants.
It is the landlord’s responsibility to maintain the energy efficient structure of the house including the insulation. Wear and tear on the walls or roof can need to be dealt with and all installations and utilities including gas, water and electricity need to be functioning at a reasonable level.

Air Conditioning

With the hot summer days approaching that Australia is famous for, air conditioning is one thing that prospective Tenants will appreciate in their rental property. When considering such an investment, look not only for the quality of products but also the quality of installation and after sales care.

Storage

Most Tenants have rented before, and quite possibly experienced their share of moving around. When you move around, you tend to collect odd bits and pieces. Safe and secure storage, therefore, would be a valuable asset to your Tenants and something they might look for in their new rental. Storage could range from a garden shed, patio, storage shed, spacious garage, hooks for hanging in a garage, under-floor storage areas, as well as attics and ceiling storage.

Security

 

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There are also basic security standards that need to be upheld at your property. These exist not only to ensure that the property is less likely to have intruders but to protect tenants as well from basic hazards.
The minimum requirements include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Having a front door that can be deadlocked, and all other doors to be lockable
  • Windows that are lockable from the inside or have a fly-screen
  • For a residential house that is not part of a larger strata building, it is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure there is a light of some description near the main entry.
  • Balconies should only be able to be accessible from inside the premises
  • Smoke alarms should be fully functional and less than 10 years old

Modern Kitchen

The kitchen is often the hub of a home. Many Tenants would appreciate having a modern kitchen. So, the next time you think of updating the house, consider the kitchen. There are a lot of cost-effective solutions for updating the look and feel of a kitchen. Look at simple DIY projects to gain interesting ideas on what to do.

 

Clean and Sanitary Bathroom

A lot of Tenants are particular with their rental’s bathroom. A malfunctioning flush is not appealing to tenants. Neither is a toilet with broken tiles or a stained sink. If possible, give the bathroom a fresh coat of paint or for a quick facelift, consider updating some of your existing fittings such as new tapware, a mirrored storage cabinet or a new light fixture.

 

Landlord Insurance

 

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Strictly speaking, having a comprehensive landlord insurance policy isn’t only a legal requirement, but it is highly recommended that you insure your investment for your own good.
There are two main things a good insurance policy is designed to cover; negligence on your part that leads to you being liable for compensation to your tenant, and the tenant not upholding their contractual obligations and you being out-of-pocket as a result.

Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that excessive negligence on your part can invalidate the insurance policy. If for example, you have misrepresented the property in the official documentation or failed to deliver on your legal responsibilities as a landlord, the insurance policy may not cover your should there be any problems in the future.

The requirements of a landlord can be quite complicated and it is wise to have a landlord protection insurance professional in your corner and looking out for your interests. For more information about rental property insurance, please contact SGUA today or refer to our website.

5 Reasons You May Be Refused Landlord Insurance

5 Reasons You May Be Refused Landlord Insurance

If you are renting a property out to tenants, whether it be a holiday home, an apartment or a long term house rental, it’s important that you take out an insurance policy to protect you against any misfortunate circumstances that may arise. These may include issues with the tenant, accidental damage caused involuntarily or maliciously, legal liability and a host of other situations that cover your investment and look after your interests.

Unfortunately, the nature of the business is such that insurance brokers cannot always provide cover, and there are cases in which you may be denied insurance given that you present too much a risk. There are various reasons an underwriter may choose to deny you insurance, let’s take a look at the most common among them.

1. There Is No Tenant

If the rental property is empty with no clear signs that a tenant will soon move in, insurance companies will be more reluctant to offer you an insurance policy – in fact, many will have this stipulated in the fine print. In denying an insurance claim, underwriters are essentially saying that the risk that you and your property represent is too great. For one thing, taking out an insurance policy without a tenant may be considered suspicious – given that it provides less of a benefit to the landlord. Also, complications may arise due to the fact certain insurance policies will cover circumstances in which the rental property is tenantless.

2. The Building Has Been Constructed In An Unconventional Way

Most landlord insurance policies will require the building is constructed ‘by the book’, so to speak. This usually means that it has conventional framing, with a tiled or slanted roof and brick/stone walls. Some policies won’t be offered on homes that have completely flat roofs, given that they are more likely to have problems with leaking and other issues.

3. Your Property Is A Sublet

Subletting situations can be a bit of a red flag for landlord insurance companies. If you are either the landlord of a group of flats that are being rented out by the tenants to others, or you are a tenant wanting to sublet your apartment, it’s going to be difficult to be approved for standard landlord insurance packages.

4. You Are Doing Renovations

If you’re having major renovation work doing on the house, flat or apartment, it’s unlikely you’ll receive a policy until after they are finished. This makes sense given that if the building is being radically changed, the terms that are agreed upon may no longer be relevant and may work against the underwriter. Small renovations are often acceptable, depending on the details of the specific package.

5. Your Tenant Arrangement Is Informal

Unsurprisingly, the necessary forms and paperwork need to be produced confirming the arrangement that you have in place with your tenant. You’re significantly less likely to be able to get a landlord insurance in which there is no formal agreement – which can be common when the agreement is between family members, close friends, etc. Luckily, in these cases there may be more trust between the parties and landlord insurance may not be as necessary.

6. Property Not Managed By A Professional Property Agent

Most landlord insurance policies require the appointment of a professional property agent to manage your rental property. When the tenant breaches the conditions of the rental agreement the landlord or his appointed agent needs to know their way around the various relevant sections of the legislation. Many of these pieces of legislation demand an immediate or timeous response and action. If you do not follow the regulations your cover will be affected as well as you not obtaining the right result.

We’ve discussed a few of the reasons you may be denied a landlord building insurance package – but as always it will depend on your specific situation and the company you’re dealing with. For more information on these matters, don’t hesitate to contact St George Underwriting Agency today.