If you own an investment property, it may be time to review your insurance cover. Is the property used for commercial purposes? Is that business trading during current COVID-19 restrictions or is it vacant?
As landlord, you need to protect your investment and so you should have insurance cover for material damage to the building and your fixtures and fittings. If you provide furnishings or other contents, you may need cover for these also. Importantly, don’t forget about accident cover. Who is responsible is someone has an accident on your property? You can protect your liability.
Always have a Tenancy Agreement and make sure that insurance is a term of the agreement so that both you and your tenant fully understand who is responsible for each type of insurance requirement.
A property owners policy can also provide you with financial protection in the event of loss of rent. Policies typically cover only losses arising from physical damage due to fire or flood, for example. A property owners policy doesn’t usually cover loss of rent due to business closure because of COVID-19.
For residential lettings, an eviction ban was introduced in October 2020 for any period when people’s movements are limited to 5 kilometres from their home as part of COVID-19 restrictions. However, evictions can take place in limited circumstances, for example, for anti-social behaviour.
There are also rental laws to protect tenants affected by COVID-19, who have fallen into rent arrears and are at risk of losing their tenancy. These protections include a rent freeze and a 90-day notice period when ending a tenancy. The protections run until 12 April 2021.
These laws provide protection and some solace for tenants but as a landlord, where does this leave you?
Terms vary from policy to policy so discuss your policy with your insurer and make sure you know what’s covered.