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)