Landlords

It’s time to become a master of landlord protection

Hundreds of thousands of missing rent payments since March. It’s every landlord’s worst nightmare, right? Luckily there are a few ways that landlords can protect themselves – especially in the volatile times we’re living in today.

So what sort of options are there? Welcome to Landlord Protection 101 – here’s the lowdown…

Rent guarantee scheme

Willing to compromise profit for guaranteed rent payments? A rent guarantee scheme could be the answer. The idea is that landlords rent out their property to a letting agency at a fixed market value for a number of years, and the agent then pockets any profit if they can rent the place out at a higher value.

It’s a great way to take the stress and risk out of renting. Any repairs and admin is handled by the agents, and landlords get a fixed rental payment even between tenancies.

What to look out for…

It’s not all sunshine and roses. Rent guarantee schemes often mean long contracts, so if the market value of the property goes up, unfortunately, rental payments stay the same – so landlords could miss out on quite a lot of profit. It’s also worth bearing in mind that landlords won’t get much choice about who moves in. In a rent guarantee scheme, it’s usually the letting agent that decides, not the landlord.

Rent and legal protection

With rent and legal protection, landlords are covered if their tenants default on rent payments, and if they refuse to leave, the legal part helps with the costs of regaining possession – which can actually be quite costly (£355 for an eviction application on top of legal fees).

This type of protection usually includes a mediation service during the claims process, and covers up to five tenants in a property.

What to look out for…

It doesn’t cover damages, and if there are tenants unwilling to move out of the property, chances are they won’t have taken very good care of the place – so it might be left in a bit of a mess.

Landlord contents insurance

This does exactly what it says on the tin – contents insurance specifically for landlords. It usually covers the costs of repairing or replacing anything in a rental that belongs to the property owner. So what does it cover? Any furniture, appliances or furnishings that could be damaged or destroyed during a tenancy.

And even if you trust the tenants, the top three claims last year were for water leakage, storm damage and accidentals – so it’s something worth getting to cover all bases.

What to look out for…

Although the bulk of the costs will be covered, there is probably an excess charge on any claims made, although this might vary from company to company. You’ve also got to bear in mind that any accidental or water damage won’t be covered if the property isn’t occupied.

Security deposit

You’ll probably be a little more familiar with this one. Tenants pay up to five weeks of rent to a landlord or letting agency, which is held in a deposit protection scheme in case there’s any missing rent payments or damages to the property – like an unwelcome wall mural or some red wine stains on the carpet.

What to look out for…

A security deposit only covers five week’s protection, so if the damages are quite extensive, the deposit might not be enough to cover the costs. The end of tenancy process can also be quite slow and drawn out, and if there are ever any disputes with tenants, landlords might find themselves out of pocket for quite some time.

Boost

Ah, Boost – the new kid on the block. This is a flexible protection option that works alongside a traditional security deposit or alongside flatfair’s No Deposit solution. With Boost, landlords pay a small subscription fee to benefit from an extra six weeks of protection for any damages during a tenancy, and after all the end of tenancy charges are agreed, landlords get their money the next working day.

What to look out for…

Boost’s extra protection doesn’t cover any missing rent payments, it’s specifically designed for damage costs. The good news is that since Boost is used as a top-up tool, landlords can use the five week security deposit or the six weeks of protection that comes with No Deposit to cover missing rent, and then use the extra six weeks afforded by Boost to cover damage costs.

There you have it – five different ways landlords can protect themselves when renting out their property. And now that you’re all clued up on landlord protection, it’s time to swat up on the different types of deposit alternatives you can access in today’s rental market.

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