25 January 2012

Tenant’s rights – why it’s important all landlords understand them

Author: Alex Smith

Thankfully for all involved, the days of landlords being allowed to leave their tenants in unsuitable, badly maintained accommodation are largely over in the UK. This is because tenants are protected by a raft of rules and regulations, aimed at ensuring fairness on both sides. These rights apply to all tenants, even if they’re not set out in the tenancy agreement signed at the start of the tenancy.

As a landlord, being aware of these rights isn’t enough – it’s a good idea to be prepared to act on them. Landlord insurance can be used to cover you in the event of problems with things like plumbing, electrical wiring or roof damage. This extra financial safety net could help to encourage you to get things fixed sooner rather than later.

As part of tenant’s rights, you must:

•    Give your tenants freedom to live undisturbed in the property
•    Make sure that the property is in a good state of repair
•    Allow your tenant to access details of their tenancy at any time
•    Protect tenants from unfair eviction

The management of deposits also forms a large part of tenants’ rights. When a landlord takes a deposit from a tenant, it must be protected by a government-approved tenancy deposit scheme no more than 14 days after it was received. The tenant needs to be informed this has happened. Failure to comply with the legislation can have dire consequences – and may result in landlords being forced to refund the deposit plus three times the amount on top.

How can landlord insurance help?
While no good landlord would deliberately ignore their responsibilities, it’s possible that a combination of financial and time pressures could leave a landlord in danger of breaking housing codes. However, getting cheap landlord cover is one way of reducing the cost of carrying out certain repairs and checks. The insurance can be created to suit the individual landlord’s needs, with some covering essential boiler inspections and repairs, and others expending to plumbing and drains, electrical wiring and roof damage.

Why get landlords insurance?
Landlords insurance will not only offer financial protection against the worst, but also keep your tenants happy. If you’re new to the sector, gaining a reputation as a fair, conscientious landlord can do wonders for your business, especially in the age of social media and review sites, where disgruntled views can spread fast. Ultimately, it could save you money, help keep you on the right side of the law and boost your reputation – so why wouldn’t you get landlords insurance?

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