Wednesday 31 December 2008

Don't forget the Energy Performance Certificate if you are letting out in Scotland or Northern Ireland or The Republic of Ireland

Scotland: All tenants who rent a property on or after 4 January 2009 must be provided with EPC (ie new tenancies) .An individual EPC will only be valid for a period of ten years. If major works were to be undertaken during this period, building owners may choose to update the certificate, however, this is not mandatory.
Legislation for Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) for all new buildings was introduced in Scotland on 1 May 2007. For existing buildings, an EPC will be required when the property is sold or rented out to new tenants. Once in place an EPC is valid for 10 years.

Who can Produce an EPC?
In Scotland, there is no specified qualification for energy assessors.The Scottish Government has entered into protocol with professional organisations/institutions whose members already have an understanding of the building/energy sectors. Only members of protocol organisations may produce EPCs for existing buildings. The Scottish Building Standards (SBS) has entered into protocols with The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers, Scotland (CIBSE Scotland), The Association of Building Engineers (ABE), The Energy Institute (EI), The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), The Heating and Ventilation Contractors Association (HVCA), Building Research Establishment (BRE), National Energy Services (NES) and Elmhurst to deliver services in relation to Energy Performance Certificates.

Northern Ireland: Energy Performance Certificates will be required for all property sales and rentals by the end of December 2008. Homes and commercial - when sold, built or rented will need an energy performance certificate (EPC). Public buildings will also need to display a display energy performance certificate (DEC). This initiative is the result of European legislation - the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive - which all member states must adopt.

This law for Energy Performance Certificates in domestic rental properties came into effect in England and Wales in October 2008.

A similar scheme applies in the Republic of Ireland from the 1st January 2009 and their certificates are called Building Energy Rating - Certificates (BER).

If you are a tenant who is about to move into a property on or after the 1st January 2009, make sure you are provided with a copy of the appropriate certificate. If you are a Landlord make sure that you have the certificate and let your letting agent or tenant have a copy for all new lets with new tenants as otherwise you could be fined for breaking the law.

Insurance is one essential you can't afford to be without today

2009 is just around the next corner and what a year 2008 has been. The year has seen major changes in the economies of countries worldwide.

Many countries have gone into recession or are going into it and economists predict a "rough" time ahead for a few years.

At a time like this many people have to cut costs and unlike earlier recessions there are more "essentials" that they want to retain, for example mobile phones, satellite/cable TV and broadband internet access.

One "essential" that can be overlooked is their insurance policies.

Some insurance cover is mandatory under the law of the country for example motor vehicle insurance. If someone has a mortgage the mortgage company will usually insit as part of the mortgage deed that Building Insurance has to be taken.

Other types of insurance are also compulsory, however if you are renting or letting a property, going on holiday, are a home owner, in business you need to keep up the insurance payments. If you're not insured you could be risking losing your belongings. You might decide to stop your household insurance contents. What happens if there is burglary at your propert? No insurance no insurance pay out.
Many tenants forget their insurance. They sppend a small fortune on personal items like clothing, computers and bikes and then don't insure them. Companies like Endsleigh and HomeLet offer competitive policies.

Many companies have monthly payment schemes; however always read the "small print" if you stop paying the premium, the cover usually stops. and therefore no insurance payout.

If you are the owner of a holiday home in Spain, France Portugal and have difficulty with the language, did you know that you can get the policy written in English. are introduction agents for two providers. Intasure and Andrew Copeland Insurance Consultants who offer such policies. Insurance policy wording can be rather complicated in your natural language, but even more so in a language you are not too familiar with.
Don't forget your pets either. The ABI issued a press release just before Christmas entitled "Insurance for your pet could be the best present you buy this Christmas"
They carried out some reasearch on the subject of giving pets at Christmas and the results said that nearly a third of people would consider giving a pet as a Christmas present. Yet worryingly, many pet owners may not realise how expensive vets' bills can be should their pet have an accident or become ill.
Responsible pet ownership means looking after your animals in every way, and that includes having insurance in place. Anyone giving or receiving a pet this Christmas should look at taking out pet insurance in case the worst happens and their pet need veterinary care

Don't cut back on insurance. You never know when you might have to make a claim

Is your main residence adequately covered when you're at your holiday home?

This is what many holiday home owners were concerned about when they took their two month vacation at their second home.

The insurance provider Intasure came up with a great idea for their customers with UK main residences. Having successfully insured tens of thousands of holiday homes and second homes, many of their clients have asked if they could insure their main residence in the UK.

This product is special; firstly, because of the good quality of their overseas business, they are able to offer exceptionally competitive rates.

In addition, unlike most resident policies, there are no restictions in leaving your home unoccupied beyond the standard 30 days. This is very good for those clients who could be retired and want to spend a couple of months in their holiday home in Spain or Portugal.

What is more, the policy is extremely comprehensive; you can rent out your main residence and still be covered.

jml Insurance has been introducing the Intasure Overseas property insurance for many months now and the new product should be of great value to advertisers on their holiday homes website
Do remember with 2009 just around the corner to keep your property insured. Insurance is one essential you can't afford to be without today

Friday 19 December 2008


Cover is placed with the leading UK insurers and Lloyds of London

Rather than just approaching one insurer we will approach the whole market

Nil excess Except £250 for malicious damage by tenants

No subsidence excess

Risks in flood affected areas accepted

Underpinned properties accepted

Legal expenses free of charge

Full Accidental Damage cover

No issues with previous claims or criminal convictions

Upto £5m Public/Property Owners Liability

No risk is refused

Employers liability included when needed

Automatic loss of rent/alternate accommodation cover

Automatic uplift on larger blocks
Enhanced rates for statutory inspection cover for boilers and lifts etc


This sounds like a good idea from Neil if you want some more information contact him via this link


Monday 15 December 2008

Keep that rental property insured as economic downturn continues

The slowdown in the economy is causing the cost of living and unemployment to rise and this means that an increasing number of tenants are falling on harder times and are becoming unable to meet their financial commitments.

According to HomeLet one of the UK's major Landlord and Tenant insurance providers, in 2007 HomeLet paid out £2.7 million in Rent Guarantee claims and they are anticipating a higher figure for 2008.

Landlords who don’t take out comprehensive insurance policies to protect their rental income run the risk of incurring rental arrears and even legal fees.

Another insurance provider Let Insurance Services has also recently said that the fear that the credit crunch will lead to higher premiums may deter some landlords from covering themselves against the risk of defaulting tenants even though possession claims on rented homes are rising.

This could prove to be a false economy as the lettings market has increased, but there is rising unemployment and falling rents in some areas.

Philip Suter of has been saying for some time "Insurance is one essential you can't afford to be without today. Whether you are a Landlord or Tenant you must make sure your possessions are properly covered and you need to go to a specialist rental insurance provider for this".

Many Landlords and Tenants insurance policies can be arranged on line and costs for a landlord work out on average between 1.5 per cent to 3 per cent of the monthly rental income.

What a lot of Landlords don't realise of course is the fact that insurance expenditure can be offset against their income tax liability for the rental property.Many tenants of course go out and by expensive computers, ipods, cameras and televisions and might consider taking out an extended warranty, but completely forget to actually insure them and their other possessions thinking no one will ever break and steal their belongings.With some policies, a tenant can even take out cover against damage to the landlord's property so if they accidentally spill coffee or wine on the carpet or settee they can claim for this instead of loosing a large junk of their deposit at the end of the tenancy.

One provider, HomeLet also has a "Landlords Portfolio" policy. This means as there are more and more landlords with several properties, they can gain advantage of having their portfolio covered at more advantageous premium.

Sunday 14 December 2008

Lettings in South Bucks Still going strong

December 15th 2008
Although many local estate agents in South Bucks are finding business very slow on the sales side, those with Residential letting offices or our stand alone lettings agents are very busy.
From my work in a local agent in High Wycombe, I have noticed that the telephone lines are very busy, people keep on coming in through the door to look for rentals or to sign up to a letting and this is good news.
Employment levels are still good and those that could be tempted to buy are finding they are having to wait longer to save up for a mortgage as a result of the credit cruch. This means that they have to find a higher deposit than they would have done earlier in the year and need to rent till they can afford to buy.
Others are waiting to see if sale prices are going to continue to drop before going ahead to buy.
As long as property owners are asking the rental prices that an agent suggests they should let ok. In High Wycombe, Bucks like neighbouring Slough in Berks there are a lot of new build devopments and many buy-to-let investors have opted for these.
This means there is an excellent choice, however many investors decide not to furnish a property so a prospective tenant has to consider purchasing furniture. This can add to a tenant's costs as they will also have to rent a vehicle to move their belongings in an out.
As long as employment stays high then the rental market will remain strong, however as each day the media is reporting x number being made reduntant here or there then there will be a knock on effect.
In the late 1980's and early 1990's the housing market was bad as well. The negative equity situation was dramatic and many people could not sell and kept their studio apartments and small flats instead. They often let them out to cover the mortgage costs and in that era interest rates were very high unlike in 2008 where we have the lowest interest rates for over fifty years in the UK.
There was always a good market for the smaller properties as there appears to be today and it is important that Landlords who own older style property keep them modernised and up to date. Tenants quite often want to view several properties and if it is a choice between new build or one that has seen better days, when there is a large choice of property then a renter will naturally go for the better property.
At times like these both Landlords and Tenants will often want to save costs and the one cost they should never cut down on is the rental insurance for the property. For the landlord, this can usually be offeset against a tax liability on the rental and the tenant can have peace of mind (providing they take the corect policy) knowing that if they spill theit wine or coffee on the landlord's carpet they are covered.
Although the economic outlook is not good for 2009, the rental market outlook in the south Bucks area of England still is good.

Friday 12 December 2008

HomeLet Landlord & Tenant Insurance Sponsors Negotiator Award
Major UK Landlord and Tenant insurer sponsored Lettings Agency of the Year award in London.
The 2008 awards from The Negotiator Magazine took place at the London Hilton Hotel on the 11th November.

They were presented by comedian Rory Bremner who is very well known for him impersonations of politicians. The Negotiator Magazine is fortnightly magazine for estate and letting agents in the UK.

There were nine sponsors and one of them was HomeLet Insurance, a company that has been acting as an agent for since 2002 introducing their Landlord and Tenant insurance products on line.

HomeLet sponsored the "Lettings Agency of the Year" and the lettings agency category was open to firms that had a recognised lettings department, or stand alone lettings firms. The winner was Parkheath of Rickmansworth, Herts. The Parkheath team led by Jane Gardner opened seven years ago who said after the award ceremony "We are very proud of this award - and see it as a benchmark and will continue to try and better ourselves".
HomeLet's Managing Director John Boyle commented "We are delighted to support the 2008 Negotiator Awards, as it honoured the top property agents in the UK and I'm even more pleased that three of our agents were named amongst the best in the country!"

HomeLet has now built a significant business and work in partnership with over 5,000 agents across the UK. They are part of the Barbon Insurance Group.

Martin & Co another HomeLet agent collected an award as Franchisor of the year.
The event raised over £2,500 for the UK Housing charity Shelter.

Philip Suter of jml-property-insurance who has been involved with the residential letting business in the UK for over 30 years said"It is very reassuring that there is a very high standard of agents operating in the UK these days. Some of them have not been established too long, but are 100 per cent in the way they carry out their business. By using HomeLet referencing and insurance products they are looking after their clients very well".

Philip Suter is a Director of JML Property Services and is a very experienced property consultant with over 30 years work in the Residential letting business and served in the national council of ARLA. He is a Fellow of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) and a Member of The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA)

Tuesday 2 December 2008

Direct Travel Insurance and Cuba

I was rather taken aback to read Simon Calder's column in Saturday 22nd November 08 Independent Traveller.

He was writing about the fact that according to Direct Travel Insurance Services, that there are now four nations that are so dangerous that they are no longer covered. The four are quoted Afghanistan, Sudan and Liberia. The fourth "dangerous country" is Cuba!

Looking into this further it would appear that Direct Travel is now owned by the US insurer AIG and consequently as far as the present the US Admiistration is concerned Cuba one of its closest neighbours is "a no go area". Trade restrictions have been in place for over 50 years now and hopefully with President Obama taking over in January 2009 things will improve.

I have just taken a look at the Foreign and Commonwealth website. They mention the "dangers" in their travel summary page (Full information here)

  • The hurricane season - "It runs from June to November. Hurricanes Gustav and Ike struck Cuba in August and September 2008 respectively causing considerable damage to tourism infrastructure and resulting in food shortages in many areas."

  • "Most visits to Cuba are trouble free. 255 British nationals required consular assistance in Cuba in 2006-07. The main types of incident for which they required consular assistance were for replacing lost or stolen passports (51 cases); dealing with deaths (4 cases); and hospitalisations (22 cases); dealing with arrests, for a variety of reasons (5 cases); and difficulties using debit/credit/cashpoint cards and exchanging money as US dollars are no longer legal tender in Cuba"

  • "In view of serious accidents that have involved tourists, you should not use mopeds or three-wheel Coco-Taxis when travelling around Cuba."

  • "Dengue Fever is endemic to Latin America and the Caribbean and can occur throughout the year. "

  • "There is a low threat from terrorism."

  • "We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for all the activities you want to undertake."

Interesting no mention of the dangers like you would find in the other 3 countries on the list.

I have had annual travel insurance from Direct Travel for many years now (long before they were taken over by AIG) and in fact was off to Cuba last November. I did not cancel the trip because of the article as in fact it came out a day after we should have returned, but because we could not get a car rental for the period in question

It was probably fortunate that we did not go as had we had a claim they probably would not have paid out because we had gone to such a dangerous place! Saying that of course Cuba has thousands of European tourists visiting the country every year. If I do go in 2009, I will have to get my travel insurance from another provider.

Monday 1 December 2008

Personal safety for Letting Agent and Estate Agents

People within the industry and outside will know the stories of Suzy Lamplugh and Stephanie Slater two Estate Agents in the UK who showed the "wrong applicant around" a property.

Unforunately people who who have only joined the lettings and sales industry in the UK over the last few years are not fully aware of the risks of "meeting strangers"

Suzy Lamplugh In 1986 estate agent Suzy Lamplugh, a 25 year old estate agent disappeared after she went to meet an unknown client. So far her body has not been found. However, she has been presumed murdered and legally declared dead. Her parents, Paul and Diana Lamplugh, believed that Suzy, like most people at that time - and even now - was simply unaware of the possible dangers that individuals can face in society.

Paul and Diana founded the Trust to highlight the risks people face and to offer advice, action and support to minimise those risks. I was privilidged to hear her mother Diana speak at a meeting of ARLA The Association of Residential Letting Agents at Pall Mall. London.It was a very moving talk and memorable.

Stephanie Slater On 22nd January 1992 whilst working as an estate agent in the Great Barr area of Birmingham, UK Stephanie Slater was showing a 'prospective buyer' around a house in Turnberry Road. Unknown to her, this simple part of her day to day work would now horrifically change the rest of her life forever. Her 'client', it transpired, wasn't interested in buying the property at all; he was a murderer, kidnapper and extortionist who held her for 8 days in a coffin sealed inside a wheelie bin whilst he negotiated a ransom of £175,000 from her employers. She survived to tell her story.

After being in the business for over 25 years I know that people cut corners. They need the let or sale. They might be on commission or have targets to meet and it is all to easy to immediately go off with an applicant who has just walked into your office.It does not matter whether you are Female or Male....the same rules must apply.

Listed below are some basic ground rules

  • Arranging an appointment for an applicant to view a property - (Either accompanied viewing by agency staff or by the property owner or tenant) - Record the applicants name and address in a proper viewing record book. Take his/her contact telephone number (usually these days they will offer a mobile, but try and get a home number and work number as well). If the applicant refuses to give an address, politely explain that this is your agency's security policy and they will probably find the same situation at other agents. You are not allowed to set up an appointment without that information.
  • You should phone the applicant back to confirm the appointment.
  • Although some agents will offer to take an applicant to the property, this can be unwise. If the situation is diplomatically put - Your car is not covered by insurance for this is usually a good reason. If the applicant has come into your office, say you will go in separate cars. Take a note of the applicant's car registration number. Consider always locking your car doors when you are driving. People have often had handbags snatched at traffic lights for example.
  • If it is a member of your agency's staff that is meeting an applicant (and the applicant's telephone number) always write details in the office diary or if you run your own independent office diary (either in a physical diary book or on computer). Although details will have been recorded in a proper viewing record book they must be recorded in diary so that other members of staff are aware of the appointment.
  • Tell another colleague where you are going. If you don't return, they can at least inform the right people.
  • Think very carefully before giving out your personal mobile phone number or your home phone number.
  • If you are showing more than one applicant a property, every applicant's details must be recorded together with the time of the appointment.
  • If you are showing the same applicant more than one property all those details must be recorded in proper viewing record book and diary.
  • At the property - Put yourself in an alert frame of mind and if you have a personal alarm (a wise investment that does not cost a lot) keep it at hand in a pocket. Always let the applicant go into each room first ahead of you and where possible keep yourself between the door and the applicant (this applies at the entrance door to the property as well). Always keep your line of escape open. If you feel the applicant's behaviour appears suspicious leave the property immediately, telephone your office and if necessary the police. If you are delayed (traffic problems - applicant turning up late etc) phone into your office. Always keep car keys to hand so you can make a fast escape.
  • Because of the business you are in often involves "out of hours" appointments, it could be that there will be no one at the office. In that case try and let a colleague know the appointment is over (practically everyone now has a mobile phone) and if you can't do that let a friend, relative, partner know. Take extra care when there is no daylight and if the lighting does not work at a property do not attempt to show anyone around. Explain to the applicant if he/she says they have a torch that it is breaking Health and Safety regulations.
  • Arranging a sales or rental valuation - Ensure that all details have been recorded. You should check to see if the Owner (Vendor - Landlord) actually lives at the property. Details should be recorded in a diary. You should then follow the same guidelines as in section above.

The property world is very competitive these days, a lot more than in the 1980's and 1990's, however those working in it must always be vigilant on their account and others they working with or working for be it an employer or client. Many people in the sales side of estate agents have lost their jobs or are about to, however you should not take risks and remember the rules of personal safety. Philip Suter

Concerns about insurance for ex-offenders

In Mid November UNLOCK The National Association of Reformed Offenders issued a press statement about the problems of ex-offenders with criminal conviction and their families obtaining insurance. Philip Suter of jml Insurance (who is wrting this blog) has been acting as an introducer for Delite Insurance for several months has concerns about restrictions insurance companies appear to impose on ex offenders.
Following the UNLOCK release in November Delite Insurance Agency listed several scenarios that they had been involved in for ex offenders and their families.
Examples are: Some specialist brokers decline some former offenders on home insurance
I am currently serving an extended licence. When I was released from prison I looked for 'sympathetic' insurers. When I rang round, there was only one broker who would quote for insurance for my offence type. The others refused to state why.

The premium was about 10 times more than my premium was before conviction (over £1000!). Since I have no mortgage, I am able to choose not to have home insurance, but would obviously prefer to be insured if possible.

Your website states that most of your brokers have no exclusions. Could you please confirm that they will accept me and could you please send me a list of contact details? Thank you for providing a much needed service.
Mother rejected by insurer after 22 years, forsupporting her son after prison
My son served 2 years in prison following a sentence of 4 years and since March 2007 has been living with me. The company which manages my buildings insurance contacted me to ask if I wanted a quote for contents insurance and as I was interested they asked me some questions regarding my existing building insurance, one of which was 'has anyone living in your household been convicted of a criminal offence'.

I answered honestly and they then asked for details. I refused as I did not see the relevance but they insisted and said that they would report the conversation to their superiors.

Two days later I received a letter asking me for details of my son's conviction as it was a condition of my insurance policy. I complied and received a letter this week cancelling my insurance from 1st January 2008.

I have been paying insurance for my house with the same company since I took out my mortgage 22 years ago and have only made two small claims in all that time. My son lived with me until he was 20, he is now 24 and his conviction was his first offence but the insurance company are not concerned with the details. They have a policy and are just implementing it.
The above are just two cases. I was very concerned when I looked at some of the situations illustrated. The fact that someone with a minor criminal conviction living at his / her parent’s house could suddenly find that come the time the parent went to renew their insurance an insurance company could after many years might no longer want to cover them because of the family member.
At Delite Insurance Agency Neil Cook has commented We are here to help those gain insurance cover through our contacts when many providers cannot help at premiums that can be far lower than you would expect

Neil has gone onto say “We treat every client as a individual and can offer cover no matter what problems they have including those who live in Northern Ireland, this makes our service truly unique.

We have helped thousands of people with convictions get their lives back together not just by arranging cover after disclosure but also with positive support and advice. No longer do you have take cover after avoiding mentioning the convictions then praying nothing goes wrong.”
More information is Here

Sunday 30 November 2008

Why do I need Let Property Household Insurance?

Most standard household insurance policies will not protect let property. Shifts in legislation require landlords to be more aware of the risks, particularly with regard to public liability and appliance safety.

The following are the main risks covered:

  • Fire, lightning, explosion
  • Riot, civil commotion
  • Collision
  • Storm, flood, Escape of water
  • Malicious damage
  • Subsidence
  • Theft
  • Falling radio TV aerials etc
  • Falling trees
  • Accidental damage to mirrors and glass
  • Loss of metered water
  • Loss of rent following an insured event
  • Damage for which a tenant is legally liable
  • Public liability insurance

Fact: The majority of Uk landlords are exposed to unnecessary risk... ARE YOU?

Fact: Landlords need to manage risks and costs and if cost management is your priority.....WHAT ARE YOU DOING ABOUT IT?

Fact: 62% of claims occur when a property is unoccupied.... IS YOUR PROPERTY INSURED?

Fact: The average time it takes to deal with an emergency without Landlords Emergency Assistance cover is 48hrs.... ARE YOU COVERED?

Fact: 85% of private UK Landlords have mortgages supporting their investment. The interest still has to be paid, even when the rent isn't.....ARE YOU COVERED?

Fact: Evicting tenants is a very difficult, emotional and expensive processs....DO YOU HAVE LANDLORDS LEGAL EXPENSES INSURANCE?

Not having Landlords insurance is rather like riding a bike downhill without brakes!

Landlord Insurance

You have just spent a lot of money buying a property - either it is your home and you are going to work overseas for a while or in a different part of the country. It might be an investment property a "buy - to let". You might just have inherited the property or decided to move into your partner's property. For any of those reasons you must make sure the property is insured. If you are buying just one property purely to let out, you must treat it as a business - keeping proper records for tax authorities etc and like running any business - you need to run this in a professional manner and this means having adequate insurance.

If you don't what happens if the roof blows off - a tenant falls down stairs and breaks a leg - the pipes burst. Some of these might well be covered if you own an apartment that has includes insurance with the block management - maintenance - ground rent charges. Most apartment blocks have this, however they might not cover theft, or water damage to fixtures and fittings in the event of a burst pipe. It is not a legal requirement to have Landlord Insurance, but if your tenant fell down stairs you could be facing a high claim at the local law court.

If you own a house or bungalow then you will not have this type of insurance. You will have to make your own arrangements. When a there is a mortgage on a property the lender will naturally insist that the building is insured as part of the mortgage deed. The property owner will often have to use the lenders insurer, however like the insurance situation with an apartment, it would normally be very rare for the insurance to cover an contents. 85% of private UK Landlords have mortgages supporting their investment. The interest still has to be paid even when the rent isn't.

When you let out your property you must let the insurance company know. (If the property is mortgaged then the lender should be advised and you should get their agreement in writing). You could have a situation whereby there is a claim for your property, the insurance company will not honour this because it was not the owner and immediate family living there….it was let out. If the property is your normal domestic home and you and your family are moving to Italy to work for a couple of years and you are letting it out, you must get the insurance changed.

You might also find that your insurance company is not interested in insuring the property when it is rented out (even if you have been living there and you are moving out for a year or so for work reasons).

For many years many insurers did not want to take on this type of business, particularly when a property could be empty for periods when it was not let. I remember at the start of my career over 30 years ago it was difficult to take out insurance for Besdit properties - called HMOSs (Houses in Multiple Occupation).

A couple of companies in the UK get involved in this as they saw it was a real problem for property owners and although the UK buy - to -let business has really grown since the 90's before that there were many investors in residential property either owning "long term protected lets" and after the introduction of the Protected Shorthold Tenancy from the 1980 Housing Act, similar types of properties as today were then being bought and let out.

In the early 1990's Thomas Winter Insurance Brokers arranged a new product Homesure that was later to become Letsure with the merger of Winter Richmond and then came along a competitor Homelet. Letsure and Homelet are the major companies involved in the UK rental property insurance market.

If something goes wrong with the property, failure to insure could leave the owner with nothing to show for the money that has been invested.

Insurance premium will vary from area to area in the UK. Your post code can effect the premium you pay. You will pay more in areas will be in area that has higher crime statistics, or where a property is located in an area that is liable to flooding for example.

There is not a lot you can do about this as your rental return might just be just the same as in a property 5 miles away that is in a different postcode. One note of consolation is that subject to the Inland Revenue's agreement, you can deduct insurance expenses from the profit you make on a letting, so a higher premium will mean you can deduct a higher expense.

Level of Cover: Insurers will only pay as much as the building is insured for so if it is not sufficiently covered and the roof suffers storm damage you could end up paying a lot yourself. You will often have to pay an excess on a claim, but the amount depends on the policy purchased.

A lot of insurance companies will offer index link policies, but for a buildings policy it is most important to have the right cover from the start. You will normally have to provide the square footage and other details. What the building is constructed of, type of roof, number of storeys etc. Many insurance companies have major concerns over wooden structures.

Some companies now offer a low cost buildings policy that will also cover loss of rent and re-letting costs following insured damage. It can be worth while looking at alternative policies.
Internally for contents is often more simplified? A quick check through a retailer's catalogue or on the web will give you an indication of price for furniture and fittings and if you have recently purchased equipment for the property you should have kept the receipts (you should have them for your Tax Return anyway). Always make sure you have adequate contents cover.
A point often overlooked by Landlords is that they think why do I need contents insurance? The property is being let unfurnished. That might be the case; you however are most likely providing carpets, curtains, kitchen appliances etc. What happens if the ceiling collapses as a result of a burst pipe? The buildings insurance will normally pay for the repairs decoration….but not for replacing the carpets and soiled curtains. To overcome this problem, specialist rental insurers have introduced limited contents cover now.
Some companies now offer a low cost buildings policy that will also cover loss of rent and re-letting costs following insured damage.
Legal Expenses - Tenant won't pay the rent - Tenant needs evicting. Even when using a professional letting agent, problems with tenants can occur. They might have had first class credit and employers references at the tenancy start, however in many cases the tenants personal circumstances have changed during the term of the tenancy. Situations like loss of their job, failure of their business, a relationship break-up, accident or illness will effect the tenants ability to pay the rent or their inclination to move out at the end of the tenancy.
All these situations can be resolved but will usually involve a Court hearing and solicitors costs. Legal costs like solicitors/barristers fees, Court and bailiffs' costs can be expensive. It can cost £100 for less than 45 minutes of a specialist solicitors time on a normal fee paying basis. The "average" legal cost of a possession hearing in 2001 was £785, many cost well over £1,000. Legal expenses insurance will usually cover all of your legal costs. The average policy in 2005 costs £100.
Rent Guarantee Insurance -These policies are invaluable for many landlords. As a tax deductible premium this will guarantee you receive the rent you are expecting from your property regardless of your tenants personal circumstances, ability or willingness to pay the rent.
If you have a mortgage on the property or have calculated your rental income verses your outgoings this will ensure you do receive your rent. Most such policies will include the legal expenses, as detailed above. You will receive your rent and the legal fees to obtain vacant possession will be covered.
Policies will usually guarantee your rental for a fixed period, typically 6 or 12 months. Some policies will provide additional cover once you have obtained vacant possession until you are able to re-let your policy. The costs vary from a fixed cost policy or are commonly rated as a percentage of the annual rental figure, typically 3-4%.
Emergency Assistance Insurance - So something goes wrong - Failure of the electricity supply - Failure of the cooking facilities - Lost keys - Plumbing problems - Leaking roofs or guttering - Security of doors and windows. This type of cover will provide assistance for the landlord and the tenant in the event of an emergency at the property Policies will normally provide parts and labour cover up to a specified amount and either the landlord or the tenant can call a 24hr 365 day Helpline.
The Financial Service Authority (FSA) regulates British insurers. Their policies now must provide a policy summary or Key Facts for any available insurance they offer. They also have to state this on their documentation and web sites. UK web agents cannot now necessarily give advice on the phone or by email unless they are authorised to do this.
Landlords and Tenants make sure you keep your property and possessions insured.

We appear to be in recession in the UK – make sure rental properties are properly insured

Estate agents have reduced sales and have been laying off staff and in some cases as reported by a major Irish agent in the last ten days transferring staff to the buoyant lettings market. This has been happening a lot in the UK although only a small percentage of UK Estate Agents actually have lettings departments.
I have been in the letting business for over 30 years and in my career have been responsible for setting up the residential letting departments of Frank Farr & Sons in Iver,Uxbridge and Beaconsfield and The JNP Partnership in High Wycombe. All these have been located in the south east of England to the west of London.
I have also worked through the times when the sales market have been very good and very bad. In a recent press release I said "in the late 1980s and early 1990s there was negative equity problems, people could not sell so they turned to letting, however unemployment was not so good so quite often it was harder to let a property".

"This time round, fortunately unemployment figures are still very low and those thinking of buying are waiting for property prices to drop and consequently they will prefer to let instead of buy."

There are signs that unemployment may start to rise again and unlike the early 1990's the rental housing stock in the UK and Ireland has vastly increased fuelled by the "buy to let" market. In Ireland many developers have not been able to sell apartments so entire blocks have been added to letting market. The downside of over supply could mean that rental prices will not increase and could fall.

With the on going credit crunch, consumers tend to cut back, people will continue to require mobile phones, satellite TV, but when it comes to economies the question of insurance comes high on the agenda.

In my recent Press Release I warned that landlords and tenants must continue to insure their properties and contents. He has come across many landlords in his career who think that they will not take out limited contents insurance on an unfurnished property.

Often they think the tenant's will cover their carpets and curtains, which it won't and then there is a burst pipe. The buildings insurance covers the repairs to the ceiling, decoration and plumbing, but not replacement of carpets and curtains.

Many tenants simply do not bother with insuring their belongings. They think these are covered by the landlord's policy, which in the UK they cannot be. They might spend a lot of money on ipods, mobile phones, TVs and computers and either forget to get them insured or cut back as they think "insuring them is a waste of money and they could spend the money on entertainment instead!"

In the UK there are several specialist providers of Landlord and Tenant insurance products, Companies like HomeLet, Endsleigh and Devon Direct. Rental insurance providers normally offer Landlords policies for buildings, contents, emergency repairs, legal expenses costs and rental guarantees.

For tenants they usually offer contents insurance and can cover items like bicycles as well. With some companies the policies are portable, so if a tenant moves to another rental, the insurance cover moves as well. Students are not forgotten either. These types of specialist insurance company will allow Landlords and Tenants to pay monthly or annually and quite often credit card payments are accepted.

When paying monthly of course, if the Landlord or Tenant, does not make their payment, they will find that insurance cover will stop and in the event of a claim there will be no insurance, so it is imperative that payments are continually made.

My company jml Property Services has been running jml - Insurance since 2002, this is an on line introduction service for Landlords and Tenants to obtain a quote on line and buy direct on line a policy from HomeLet, Endsleigh or Rentshield Direct. It is easy to think that insurance is costly, however the costs can be offset against tax for a Landlord and the costs of replacing an uninsured lap top computer are going to be much greater than a year's insurance premium on all a tenant's personal possessions.

Friday 28 November 2008

Is your Holiday Home Insurance Policy Written in a Language that you can Understand?

You have just purchased that dream holiday home property and one issue that needs to be sorted out prior to the completion is the property insurance.

Imagine if that property was in France, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Denmark, Germany or Italy. Do you speak the language well enough to understand the insurance in Portuguese for example?

Many insurance companies in European countries have advisers who speak English, however normally the policy will still be in the local language. Insurance policies are often difficult enough to understand in your mother tongue, but in a foreign language you probably wouldn’t know what was covered and what was not.

There is an answer now as several British based insurance companies are now covering overseas properties. The policy is written in English and you deal with someone who is experienced with insurance on holiday home properties in the country that your second home is located in.

There are now also many multinational insurance companies with familiar names in Britain that are becoming just as well known in France and Spain. Many of these can now help with your insurance, but careful research on the Internet or recommendation from friends is very important.

You do need to ensure that the property is covered for paying guests and when you are not in residence for several months a year. The other major considerations are: Theft, Malicious Damage, Fire, Flood, Burst, Pipes, Storm, Impact with road vehicles, Subsidence, Landslip, Heave and Earthquakes.

“Small print” in insurance documents is often hard enough to understand in your own language and very difficult in a foreign one, so never be afraid to ask for professional advice explaining anything that you are not happy with.

More information on Holiday Home insurance can be found at

Philip Suter is a Director of jml Property Services a UK based company offering Insurance products on line at and a holiday home advertising service and management training within the uk. He is a very experienced property consultant with over 30 years work in the Residential letting business in the UK and served on the National Council of ARLA. He is a Fellow of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) and a Member of The association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA)

You need insurance cover for whatever the weather

Adequate Buildings insurance Keep your home / investment protected

Whatever the time of year your property can be exposed to "weather" conditions. Most people immediately think of the winter when a property can freeze up, however remember storms and flooding can occur throughout the year. Listed below are some helpful tips on how to protect your property against bad weather conditions.

All Year - Safeguard against flooding:

Gutters: If your gutters are not clean and full of leaves and water can't drain away in the downpipes- clean them out and do this annually so that water does not penetrate under the eaves and rot timber.

Drains: Are your drains working properly. If they are not and there is heavy rainfall you can avoid flash flooding if they clear. Check them annually.

If you live in area that could have flooding make sure you are prepared with: Sandbags to block doors. Torches and spare batteries - Keep a radio that can be used on battery power so you can listen to information broadcasts. Keep your mobile phone is charged up. If you have to vacate your home - lock valuables away (upstairs). Move any essentials upstairs. Switch off electrical power supply to avoid electric shocks. Make sure you have some can of food and a small butane gas cooker. Ensure that you have plenty of candles.

All Year - Safeguard against storms

Roofs - Slates/tiles: Make sure that roofs and checked regularly. You can often spot a slipped tile or slate from looking at the property from outside and worn gulleys will not hold a lot of water. If there has just been a heavy storm this is when the damage can occur.

Trees: A decayed or partly decayed tree that is rotting can be hazardous (although in a violent storm any tree whatever its condition is vulnerable) so check that branches are trimmed and checked for rot and do not pose a danger to properties or overhead electrical lines.

Storm Warning: Are you prepared? Make sure you - Secure all doors, gates and windows.
If that garden fence that was not too secure has not been repaired - repair it.
Put away unsecured items in the garden.

Keep pets indoors.

Check that torches and batteries are working and that your mobile telephone is charged up.
When using candles - oil lamps / gas lights take great care.

Winter - Safeguard against the cold

Some years the colder weather comes earlier, some years later and some years can be much colder than others. Regardless you should ensure that your property is properly prepared.

Taps: Do they drip - If you need washers changed get these done. Apart from water now becoming a precious commodity, many properties are on meter so you pay for all the wastage.

These drips can freeze when the weather turns bad.

Pipes: Are the water pipes in your attic (and any other "exposed" areas properly lagged? If not get these attended to.If you have water tanks in the attic these must be well insulated.

Roofspace /Attics: Is this insulated. Apart from wasting a lot of money on energy "escaping through the roof and not effectively heating the house" insulation will help prevent the house from freezing. Make sure that you have an electric light in the attic for ease of checking pipes and tanks.

Mains water stop cock valve /tap: Make sure you know where this is located and any sub stop cocks.These are often located in the hall or kitchen (under the sink). If you have an outside tap they often have a sub stop cock tap inside and it is worthwhile to turn this off during the winter when the outside supply is not being used. Ensure that the stop cock valves work properly.If they do not get them repaired.

Heating: If it is really cold set the heating to come on for a while during the night or even keep it on low during the night. When the property is unoccupied leave this on at regular intervals.It might seem a waste of money, but it is a lot better than coming home to a frozen house!

If you are going away, alternatively you can turn everything off. Do not think that by turning off the main stop cock will help. In many properties there are radiators (filled with water that can freeze), pipes leading to them and of course hot and cold water tanks. These all need to be emptied and "drained down" and this can be quite a lengthly job that requires a plumber. If you do this yourself make sure that all electric tank are switched off and central heating boilers.

More information on insurance for properties at

Is Your Home Fully Protected Against Winter ?

In winter you should naturally take more precautions than in summer. Some years winter “hits harder” than others. Quite often people will go away on holiday and it is warm. They don’t leave their heating on (or if they do not very high) and think they will not have problems. A few days after the holiday has started the weather turns very bad at home, freezing conditions for example and upon their return from skiing or a winter break in the Caribbean they arrive home and the ceiling is on the floor and water is gushing out. This is bad enough on a house, but could even worse if you are in apartment below

What you should do: This applies just as much to a person renting as an owner occupier. First of all you can turn off the water supply whilst you are away and drain the system down, but this means it all has to be set up when you return and can take time. Instead people can keep the heat on at a low temperature and also put in a frost stat. These are not very expensive and if the temperature drops below four degrees centigrade, the frost stat will activate the heating system.

It is no good just turning the water off at the mains as there is still normally water in the property – pipes – radiators and internal tanks.

Before winter sets in check the condition of the roof. Make sure there is proper guttering and all tiles are secure and remember if you have a conservatory or area with a glass roof below to ensure the builder has installed good quality wire mesh to stop tiles slipping if they are loose and if they have snow on them, they would be much heavier.

Check the roof space inside – you should insulate the attic and if there are pipes and water tanks there they should be fully covered in a suitable insulation material. You could have a situation of a family in Ireland who went off on their winter holiday to the sun. They didn’t take any precautions for the house and when they returned found the water storage tank had burst and half the ceiling was on the floor. If you have not got a light in the loft, have one installed – helps so that you or your contractor can see properly for a close examination.

If you don’t make sure you have taken adequate precautions, you could possibly find that when you go to make an insurance claim, the claim is declined by the insurance company. It doesn’t cost a lot to prepare a property and even a relatively new property should be checked from time to time as insulation can wear out etc. The cost of keeping a property warm whilst it is unoccupied should not be too expensive. You don’t need the hot water to be on much and if for example it is rental or for sale property that is empty between tenancies – it is much more welcoming to walk into a warm place than one that is cold, damp and probably smells.

More information at

Philip Suter is a Director of JML Property Services, a UK based company offering Insurance products on line (and there is more information about insurance cover for whatever weather at ) a holiday home advertising service - and management training with in the uk. He is a very experienced property consultant with over 30 years work in the Residential letting business and served in the national council of ARLA. He is a Fellow of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) and a Member of The association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA)

Presenting your property for successful letting

Over the past few years many people have been turning to owning rented accommodation in the UK, Ireland and other countries as an addition to pension provisions and for other reasons. This has meant that there is a lot more choice for people wishing to rent and consequently as they have choice then the property owner has to ensure that they provide good quality accommodation that will attract Tenants.

Many investors have purchased brand new purpose built properties that naturally have an advantage over the older properties that require modernisation. If you have an older stile property or that one is in excess of 12 years old, consider replacing the kitchen, bathroom and generally updating.

DECORATION The quality of the interior decoration may substantially affect the level of rental achieved. Although it is not possible to redecorate your own personal home prior to letting it if you are leaving for work overseas for example, it is essential that you follow these guidelines if you are planning on letting an investment property. It is advisable to follow them as far as possible if you are a returning owner occupier. Carpets and walls should be neutral. Whites, creams and light pastel shades and these make a cleaner, fresher impression.

Paint finishes are much easier to maintain than wallpaper. Good quality curtains and carpets should be provided as they will have much longer life normally which is most important if you are planning on letting for several years. Magnolia has now become very dated and should be avoided if possible.

Kitchens should be well equipped and bathrooms should have high quality modern fittings, including a power shower whenever possible (overseas visitors will usually expect one), good lighting and tiled flooring. If you are refitting your bathrooms, white fittings never really go out of date.

Wood flooring is now very popular and gives the illusion of more space. Kitchens should be tiled or have vinyl covering and not carpets unless they form part of a kitchen /diner and the carpet is then suitable for the dining area. If you are installing wood flooring in an apartment, please check with the freeholder if it is a new development as they are not permitted in some developments because of the noise factor.

Lighting is very important for any let. Downlight spotlights in Kitchens, bathrooms and other areas help. In furnished properties, consider providing some table lamps. Don’t forget adequate lighting outdoors (often with the use of sensors) to have as a safety feature for the property.

If you have bought a property to let, make sure there are toilet roll holders, towel rails, mirror, bathroom cabinets or shelves in the bathroom.

When you are showing a prospective tenant around a property take a note of the following guidelines:

· The property is clean, there are no dirty washing up items about and if there are any unpleasant odours, open some windows and let some fresh air circulate. Bathroom areas should be clean and leave the toilet seat down. Beds should be covered.
· Although you might be concerned about people walking on your carpet, some tenants are not too happy about being asked to take off their shoes
· Lighting – even in summer we can have some very dull days, so turn the lights on first. Lights make a property welcoming. If the viewing takes place after dark, make sure your front door outside light is switched on.
· Curtains – If the curtains are pulled over during the day, pull them back. Just like ensuring sufficient artificial lighting, natural lighting is equally as important and can give the impression of more space particularly in smaller properties and rooms.
· Garden areas – Make sure the garden is tidy and inviting


UNFURNISHED Let with curtains, carpets and kitchen equipment – white goods. (N.B. some white goods e.g. washing machines can be rented)

PART FURNISHED Let with the above plus occasional furniture – some beds, settee or dining table and chairs etc.

FULLY FURNISHED Let with the above, but including all furniture, china, and crockery. & Cutlery etc. Do not leave the property with too much furniture as the appearance could be cluttered and rooms appear smaller than they are.

Basic Requirements for a Furnished Letting

Unless a let is in central London, Bedding, towels, TV’s, Videos are not included. However, you might be requested to allow the tenant to erect a satellite dish.

It is recommended that all items of sentimental or real value be removed as even the most careful of tenants have accidents. It is important (if we are managing the property) if possessions are stored in the roof or elsewhere.

The storage area should be secured and keys left at our offices, emergency access should not be denied to a tenant in respect of gas/electricity/water mains and storage cisterns. N.B. be careful how you store your belongings. Attic areas can become very hot in the summer and garages can become very damp in the winter.

Furnishings –Each room must have adequate furniture for the tenants’ need and we list below the minimum for an average 4 bedroom property. Some wall pictures can be included.

Lounge – Three piece suite, or two sofas, or four lounge chairs, coffee table. Occasional light.

Dining Room – Dining table, chairs sideboard/dresser/storage.

Kitchen – Modern cooker, fridge/freezer or separate units, washing machine, tumble dryer, (in an apartment consider a washer/dryer) Microwave – not essential, but becoming more popular.

Kitchen equipment – Crockery, cutlery, glasses, cooking knives, chopping board, saucepans, frying pan, wok, electric kettle, toaster, coffee/tea mugs/cups/saucers, colander, baking tins, bottle and can opener etc.

Bedrooms – Beds (complying to Fire and Furnishing regulations), with mattress protectors, wardrobe, bedside table, bedside lights, chair, chest of drawers/dressing table, adequate storage for the number of occupants.

Bathroom/shower room – Shaver point, wall cabinet, toilet roll holder and towel rail.
General Household equipment-Vacuum cleaner and tools, brushes, dustpan, ironing board & iron.

Garden equipment- Unless you are providing a gardening service, you should supply a lawn mower (that is capable of cutting long grass if the tenant misses some cuts), spade, fork, rake,shear, hoe, wheelbarrow, ladder etc. You might also like to consider supplying garden furniture.

General: Make sure there are sufficient TV& telephone sockets around the property

Almost all types of property are letable, provided they are in good condition and well presented particularly those:
- close to good rail and road communications
- If there is a large garden, it is maintained
- The rental price is suitable to market requirements
- There is parking with the property or very close by
- There are not too many landlord restrictions.
© jml Property Services August 2004

More information at

Buy To Let - Beware Of The Extra Costs That You Have Not Budgeted For

I have been involved with the property business in England for nearly thirty years. I had been part of that sector of the community that owned investment residential property before it was fashionable and it was interesting to try out the reality in 2006 of “Buy to Let”.

The plan was to purchase a one bedroom apartment in an area with plenty of employment, close to good communications and that would not need too much capital expenditure on it. Being involved with the residential letting market in the south of England, I know that a lot of areas are being too well developed. Numerous blocks of apartments are being built and investors contact the agents and say they will buy three or four apartments in the same development.

They then wonder why they are not let quickly and often discover that in a development of say 100 apartments, only 20% are owner occupied and the remaining 80% have been bought by investors.

The prospective tenant is spoilt for choice although many investors do not want to go to the expense of furnishing a property. They need maximum return on their investment and will often approach local letting agents wanting their fees cut.

My search was therefore in a more established area, an older property that would let well and not as expensive as a brand new slightly more modern property.

Most of the research was done on the Internet and eventually a couple of suitable properties to look at found. A decision was taken immediately and as the finance had been agreed within a week the Mortgage Lender’s surveyor had inspected the property.

We had found a property that had wood laminate floors, would need decorating and some updating in the bathroom and had been let out for the past couple of years.

The process started early in August and by November the deal was completed. The decorating contractors moved in. The extra expenditure also started. On closer examination the kitchen flooring had to be replaced, the small number of tiles on the kitchen walls had seen better days and had to be replaced.

The good news was the local letting agent had found a tenant (whilst the work was going on, although we had not instructed them too early as tenants normally like to see the finished product) and this person wanted to move in before Christmas that was just around the corner.

The property looked good; the tenant moved in – a complaint within a few hours – no water pressure. There is a shower mixer tap in the bath, but although it looked good, did not really work.

I asked the contractor to take a look at it. There was no point in putting in a pump as the hot water tank was too small and the cold water feeder tank equally small. The property was built in the late 1980’s and it would take hours to fill a bath!

There was only one alternative – a new water system. Unfortunately this could not be fitted till after Christmas as it had to be ordered and with the annual Christmas closedown in the UK our tenant was not going to be able to have a proper bath or shower. Fortunately this person was going home overseas for Christmas.

In early January the job was completed. Some £1,500 of additional expenditure that was not budgeted for.

Remember Always add on an amount to your budget for additional building work or repairs that you thought would not be needed.

Allow for that fact the Mortgage interest rates seem go up more frequently than come down.
There can be void periods before or after a tenancy when bills still have to be paid.

Be flexible regarding furniture. A lot of people simply do not have furniture so check out local market conditions. You can do this by talking to a local letting agent or viewing properties on the web. In the UK there are a lot of property portals offering rental property.

Finally make sure that you take out the appropriate Landlord’s insurances.
Philip Suter is a Director of jml Property Services; a UK based company offering Insurance products on line at and a holiday home advertising service and management training within the uk. He a travel writer and is a very experienced property consultant with over 30 years work in the Residential letting business in the UK and served on the National Council of ARLA. He is a Fellow of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) and a Member of The association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA)

The Cheapest Letting Rental Agent May Not Be The Best For Value

For the property owner who is letting out their home or investment property the maximum return on investment is very important. This applies on the amount of commission that you pay to your letting agent.

Many people carry out a fair bit of research before choosing their letting agent covering the following criteria. How long have they been established - do they belong to a professional organisation – how do they market a rental property – do they have qualified staff – what are their costs for letting? Over the past fifteen years in the UK there has been a tremendous growth within the residential letting business. This is as a result of improved rental laws, growth in the Buy to let market, etc. This similar situation has happened in Ireland, France and other European countries.

In the UK at 2006 anyone can set up business as a “Letting Agent”. This is quite a worrying situation whereby they can be collecting rent and deposits, not setting up designated “client bank ” accounts to put these funds in and go off with the proceeds. Although there are now numerous agents who are members of ARLA (The Association of Residential Letting Agents), NALS (National Approved Letting Scheme) NAEA (National Association of Estate Agents) and RICS (The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) anyone can be in business without belonging to such a professional organisation.

An agent who joins one (or more) of those listed Professional organisations must have staff working for them who have experience in the letting industry, they must have Professional Indemnity insurance, have audited client bank accounts and run their business from proper offices, All of these standards cost a lot of money and have to be taken into account with the agents fees.

There are of course many long established agents out there in the UK who choose not to belong to such an organisation (Until the Government brings in Licensing regulation they can still continue like that) and run very successful business, holding client bank accounts, having professional indemnity insurance and getting their staff properly trained.

Do choose your letting agent with care, remember many work on a no let no fee basis and it can be very costly marketing a property for an agent that you actually don’t let. The other important consideration is to always let an agent you instruct know if you are instructing more than one agent. There is nothing more embarrassing for an agent or a new tenant when suddenly the door of the rental property opens and in walks another agent with prospective renters and the owner had never notified the first agent that they let it via another agent. There are of course many long established agents out there in the UK who choose not to belong to such an organisation (Until the Government brings in Licensing regulation they can still continue like that) and run very successful business, holding client bank accounts, having professional indemnity insurance and getting their staff properly trained.

Do choose your letting agent with care, remember many work on a no let no fee basis and it can be very costly marketing a property for an agent that you actually don’t let. The other important consideration is to always let an agent you instruct know if you are instructing more than one agent. There is nothing more embarrassing for an agent or a new tenant when suddenly the door of the rental property opens and in walks another agent with prospective renters and the owner had never notified the first agent that they let it via another agent.

If you do instruct more than one agent, make sure you are not breaking any sole agency agreements or having different rental prices with different agents.

Philip Suter is a Director of JML Property Services a UK based company offering Insurance products on line at and a holiday home advertising service management training within the uk. He is a very experienced property consultant with over 30 years work in the Residential letting business in the UK and served on the National Council of ARLA. He is a Fellow of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) and a Member of The association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA)