Saturday 21 December 2013

Cold winter ahead could cause havoc with rental properties

Landlord & Buy-to-Let magazine have an article warning that Britain is braced for the 'worst winter in decades'. This is in their November 2013 edition and hopefully it will not be too true. However there has been a great deal of heavy wind and rain about in Britain and Ireland over the past few days.

The say that many tenants, will be hoping to save some money on heating if they go away over Christmas, New Year or further into winter. The risk here is that if there is a freeze up and a thaw then there can easily be burst pipe activity. 

Many agents will send out a warning letter to tenants suggesting if they are going away they must either keep the heating on low, or have the water system professionally drained down. That basically does not mean turning the water off at the stop cock as there will still be water in the tanks and pipes throughout the property. A lot of tenancy agreements now have clauses in them with the tenants to ensure that the property is properly heated in cold periods. 

I have in my career been into rental properties, that tenants have left without heat before Christmas when it was mild and there was a freeze just after Christmas and then the ceilings were on the floor after the thaw.

The AIIC - The Association of Independent Inventory Clerks is urging landlords and agents to be vigilant about checking properties to ensure they are safe from potential water and fire damage.

The Chair of the AIIC - Pat Barber says "Water damage from frozen pipes can be devastating to a property. For example an eight inch crack in a pipe can spew out 250 gallons of water in a day"

The AIIC has compiled some winter guidelines for rental property.

  • Chimneys - Ensure they are swept once a year by a professional chimney seep, ideally before the tenant starts using fires.
  • Smoke alarms - check that smoke alarms are fitted in all properties and they are all working properly (In the Republic of Ireland it is obligatory to have mains wired alarms when letting out a property).
  • Insulation - Ensure water pipes and water tanks are properly lagged and insulated.
  • Heating - Advise tenants to keep their heating on if they are going away - on a minimum of 15 degrees centigrade. It is sensible to open the loft hatch also as this allows air to circulate and helps to prevent pipes freezing and bursting in the loft.
  • Boiler servicing - Ensure that gas and oil boilers are serviced every 12 months (you will need to do this anyway under the Gas safety regulations in the UK)
  • Empty property -If the property is to be empty for an extended period of time, it is sensible to have the water system fully drained down (see earlier part of this article) by a qualified contractor. (Info based on AIIC guidelines)  
Finally make sure the property is properly covered by insurance - For Landlords, companies like HomeLet, Rentguard, Endsleigh, Andrew Copeland and Intasure have a great choice of insurance policies - Find out More Here.

For Tenants, your  possessions (including your personal furniture and furnishings) will not be covered by your landlord's insurance so find out more about insurance from HomeLet, Rentguard, Endsleigh and Intasure  Here

Thursday 19 December 2013

Rentguard Insurance News - December 2013

Just received the December edition of Rentguard insurance News.

Rentguard are the company who offer a great selection of property insurance products - Non Standard Property Insurance for  those working or trading from home and in some cases, those with previous claims histories, histories of CCJs, bankruptcy and even criminal convictions.

Landlord and Tenant Insurance - Main home insurance in the UK, Holiday Homes in the UK, Commercial Property Insurance and more...  Find out more Here

The latest news reports that Rentguard are currently offering extremely competitive rates on purpose built flats. These policies can be quoted in-house without referral (up to a value of £2.5million) and can cover studios, apartments and whole blocks against all the standard perils.

Rentguard Insurance can provide instant quotations on individual or block policies to your customer for a wide range of let properties. This includes flats with wooden or concrete floors, 100% flat roofs and those let to people of independent means, students, asylum seekers, those receiving housing benefit and more. In addition to this, they also offer cover on HMOs and bedsits.

On a seasonal note Rentguard Insurance have produced a 2014 calendar in aid of the Stroke Unit at West Middlesex University Hospital (WMUH).

The calendar includes classic, stylish photos of the Rentguard team, with all proceeds going towards improving facilities at the hospital.
The staff at WMUH dedicate so much time and effort to provide the best support they can to help patients and their families, often through difficult and testing times.

As a company based nearby in Isleworth,Middlesex, Rentguard Insurance hope to do something positive to help them and the local community.

“By purchasing the calendar, you will be helping Rentguard Insurance give the hospital a helping hand,” says Rentguard Customer Service Agent Dayna Woodcock, who has been the driving force behind the calendar. 

The money raised will go directly towards funding foot stools, feeding pumps, drip stands, two manual blood pressure monitors and eating aids for use in the unit.

The RLA and FLS have both very kindly donated £250 towards the cause. Can you match it? Or perhaps do even better?

To find out more and reserve your copy of the calendar, please visit: 

UK rents at lowest amount since May 2013 according to latest HomeLet Insurance Rental Index

The November 2013 HomeLet Landlord and Tenant insurance Rental Index is now out.

It says that despite being 3.9% higher than last year, the average cost of renting a home in the UK is at its lowest amount since May 2013, according to new research.

New data from the November HomeLet Rental Index shows the UK's average rental amount now stands at £806 per month after lowering by 1.1% during November. This is the lowest amount recorded since May 2013, when UK tenants were paying an average of £787 per month to live in a rented home.

Other headlines from this month's report show:
•    The North West was home to the largest monthly and annual increases of 4.1% and 6.6% respectively. It now costs an average of £658 per month to rent a home in this region
•    Greater London saw a second consecutive monthly decrease in rental amounts. After lowering by 1.6%, it now costs an average of £1,263 per month to rent a home in the capital
•    There's been a 1.5% decrease in the percentage of employed tenants moving into a new rented home in the UK
•    The average age of tenants in the UK has increased for two consecutive years to 34.4 years

To see the the latest information Click on this Link

To find out more about the HomeLet Tenant rental products for the property you are renting or letting out, follow this Link Here

Tuesday 17 December 2013

Do not forget to take out your Questor Insurance products - Travel & Excess for Christmas & New Year

The Christmas holidays start next week, unless you are at school  or Uni and they either started last weekend or this weekend. 

There is still time to buy your Travel insurance or range of excess insurance products from Questor Insurance.

They offer the following insurance products:

Car Hire Excess Insurance  - Motor Home  Hire Excess Insurance - Camper Van Hire Excess InsuranceMinibus Hire Excess Insurance Van Hire Excess Insurance Car Club Excess InsuranceLifeStyle-Lite Excess Insurance Motor Excess Insurance - Golfing Travel InsuranceStandard Travel Insurance Winter Sports Travel InsuranceBack Packers Travel Insurance

So if you are off on your travels for Christmas or planning a trip in 2014 now is the time to arrange your insurance from Questor Insurance Services. You make all the arrangements direct with them on line...easy.

Find out more Here  

Tuesday 10 December 2013

Intasure holiday home Insurance

Just been looking at the Intasure Insurance web site to see what countries they offer insurance for holiday homes.

It is possibly the time of year when the insurance for your holiday home is due and you might not have heard. They do do say "insurance that speaks your language" - Assuming your natural language is English.

Anyway the list of countries and flags on the left is extentisive to say the least - t  extensive to say the least - Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cape Verde, Croatia, Cyprus,Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, 
Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Romania,
Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, UAE,
and the United Kingdom - that looks like most of Europe plus parts of Africa. 

So there must be a lot of holiday homes out there needing  insurance. They say that "Intasure has years of experience in the insurance industry and an enviable track record in creating pioneering new products to meet the needs of specialist markets"

They are building a significant international brand by offering a range of innovative insurance products and services that combine locally-tailored cover with the highest standards of UK knowledge and support. 

Intasure's insurance products combine flexiblility with comprehensive cover. All their policy documents are in English and a client can talk directly to a UK based English speaking support team. 

Intasure holiday home insurance policies are designed around the needs of property owners abroad and in the UK and combine locally tailored cover with the reassurance of English language documents and UK back-office service and support. This information came from Intasure, but you can find out more about them and get a quote today for your holiday home by following this link

By the way apart from Holiday Homes Insurance Intasure Insurance now offer Main residence insurance, Business insurance, buy to let, tenants and landlords insurance. Find out more Here