Friday 22 August 2014

Final call on bank holiday weekend insurance

The England and Wales bank holiday weekend is here and many people will be off on their holidays.

Are you ready? Case packed, tickets arranged and of course your insurance.

It is not too late to to arrange your travel insurance, however you will find with most travel insurance companies you must take out the policy before you leave your own country. No good doing this when you have arrived in Marbella as it won't work. 

Take a look at the advertisers at the jml-insurance travel insurance page here.

There is a great selection of companies including financial failure as well.

You could of course be hiring a car or motorhome (or staying at home and doing a lot of shopping, moving or going to a sporting occasion and hiring a van or minibus). Remember buying your excess waiver insurance from an independent insurance company will save you a lot of money rather than buying it from the vehicle hire company in the majority of cases. Find out more Here

This means you will have more money to spend on your holiday, travel, day trip or those large items of furniture you need to move from your local Ikea.

The jml Insurance site advertises a vast number of products, Holiday home insurance, Main residence property insurance, Landlord and Tenant insurance, commercial insurance, car and motor vehicle insurance, student insurance, mobile phone insurance and specialist areas for ex-offenders + Find out more today at the 24/7 insurance site Here  

Have a great bank holiday weekend.

Thursday 7 August 2014

Renting and Letting in Scotland what could happen next?

With the vote on independence on the 18th September not far away, various landlord magazines are full of articles on Scotland and the Scottish rental market.

One observation I cannot find anything about yet is the tax situation. Presumably if the "Yes" vote wins and Scotland becomes an independent country next March them any landlord living in Scotland who owns a property in what is left of the UK will be treated by HMRC Customs and Revenue as an "Overseas Landlord". The effect being that unless the landlord obtains a NRL8 approval under the FICO system then any agent (or tenant if rental is paid to the landlord direct) will have to withhold an amount for tax.

No doubt a similar arrangement will be in place in an independent Scotland with the landlord who lives in Scotland owns a property in England, Wales or Northern Ireland. It would be interesting if HMRC has already been making plans.

Flicking through the July / August 14 edition of the NLAs "UK Landlord" magazine I see that New electrical safety requirements are due to be introduced now that the Scottish Parliament has given its support for the "Housing (Scotland) Bill". Landlords with properties in Scotland will have a duty to ensure regular electrical safety inspections and also under gas regulations must fit carbon monoxide detectors in their properties.

RENT CAPS: - Members of the Scottish Parliament have voted against a move to introduce rent caps that had been proposed by the Scottish Labour Party.

However once the "Housing (Scotland) Bill" has received the Royal Assent later this year, it will introduce a mandatory register of letting agents together with a letting agent code of practice. 

Since 2006 all landlords who let out property have to be registered with the local authority in which the property is situated in. It is an offence not to be registered and the registration lasts for three years.

Tenant fees are no longer charged by letting agents in Scotland and it would be interesting to know if rents have increased so that landlords can cover the cost of the agent taking up professional referencing.

Finally a dedicated PRS - Private Rented Sector Champion will take forward the findings of a specialist project looking at how new sources of housing investment can be attracted to Scotland to help expand the country's growing rented sector. 

The Scottish Government is supporting the appointment by industry body Homes for Scotland in order to spearhead the growth of new rental developments to help meet the country’s diverse housing needs.

The announcement follows major research, led by Homes for Scotland and undertaken by experts in housing finance from the world-renowned Cambridge Centre for Housing & Planning Research and LSE London, which called for the two year funding of a “champion” to deliver on the recommendations contained within the project report.

These focus on improving information on the opportunities that exist, smoothing the path for development, matching institutional investment and management.

Reporting directly to Homes for Scotland, the PRS Champion will chair a Working Party with the objective of identifying and facilitating viable projects. More on this here

What will happen with Landlord and Tenant insurance products if the "Yes" vote wins next month is another question. Presumably as most of the companies involved already operate in Scotland it will be business as usual, but with adjustments to policies. Companies like Barbon's Letsure have been based in Scotland for years.

In the meantime if you own a property in Scotland or rent one and are looking for insurance take a look at this page. If you own a holiday home then take a look here


Yorkshire Cat Rescue urges Landlords to rethink on no-pets policy

The Yorkshire Cat rescue Charity that houses homeless cats and kittens in the Yorkshire area is urging property landlords to rethink their ‘No Pets Policy’, after seeing a recent increase in the amount of animals surrendered because their owners were denied keeping them in rented accommodation.

Yorkshire Cat Rescue, which was founded over 20 years ago, has witnessed an alarming increase in the number of calls from distressed owners who have been forced to move or even been threatened with an eviction notice for keeping pets.

Sara Atkinson, founder of the charity, said: “Last year we took in 688 cats compared with 546 in 2011 and these figures don’t even tell the full story. Had we been able to accommodate more animals, we could have filled the centre three times over with the true number of homeless cats – some of which may instead have been abandoned or put to sleep. A significant proportion of the increase has come as a result of people moving into rented accommodation, often following the repossession of their home, and found that a strict No Pets Policy forces them to chose between a much-loved pet and a roof over their head.

“Many landlords implement a No Pets Policy as standard to avoid the scenario of having to replace fixtures and furniture that may have been damaged by teeth and claws. But in doing so, they are losing out on loyal tenants who often become long term customers specifically because their pets are allowed.

“Most people understand that having a cat or a dog comes with additional obligations. Few tenants would object to a dedicated pet deposit or to sign a contract which states that they must pay for any damage their animal has caused. Another alternative is to allow merely a small number of animals, such as a single cat, to avoid housing entire families of cats or dogs.”

Sara says considering applications on an individual basis instead if implementing a blanket ban would make all the difference. “An elderly couple with a single cat would for many be considered the perfect tenants and, we know, would be forever grateful if they were allowed to keep their pet. Older cats can be hard to re-home and the benefits to both are substantial.

“By speaking to prospective tenants about their pets – asking how long they have owned it for, if it has any health or behavioural problems and who will look after it when they are not home – landlords can make fair and informed decisions about whether or not to allow them, rather than simply saying outright ‘no’.”  Source and more information at

Remember of course that as a tenant you should be able to take out insurance in case you spill wine on the landlord's carpet or your pet damages the property. See the list of insurance companies Here who might be able to cover you.

Tuesday 5 August 2014

Is your holiday rental properly insured?

Images courtesy of
Whether you let out your holiday rental or just use it yourself for weekend breaks and holidays it must be properly insured.

It could be an apartment, villa cottage, condo or farmhouse and whatever it is the contents and structure must be fully insured.

At this time of year many property owners are relaxing at their holiday home, however what happens if someone else is there who should not be and the place has been broken into and the insurance has lapsed, or it is under insured?

You do need to ensure that you have proper cover and agree terms and conditions with your insurance company when you take the insurance out.

Are there restrictions? Water has to be turned off, gas and electricity has to be cut off? Someone has to check it every few weeks?

It is most important if your holiday home is in a non English speaking country and that your insurance details are written in clear English, unless of course you are fluent in the country's language.

A few years ago this would have been a major problem, however today it is straightforward since companies like Intasure, Andrew Copeland International and Staysure entered the market.

Back in the UK, Rentguard will insure your property and of course these companies will often insure your main residence in the UK or outside the UK in other parts of Europe as well.

To find out more about these companies follow this link

Don't under value your insurance levels either.