Are you aware that if your landlord client fails to maintain their property, they could be left out in the cold when it comes time to claim?
There’s a condition found in practically every building insurance policy that requires the policyholder to take reasonable care to protect and maintain the premises. Failing to maintain the property is not only a sure-fire way to make your tenants unhappy, but it’s also a financial risk. If an insurer learns that the policyholder contributed to a loss by neglecting maintenance, they can refuse to pay a claim.
It’s worth making sure that your landlord clients are aware of this often misunderstood, neglected or ignored policy requirement.
With winter fast-approaching, it might be time for an inspection so you can arrange repairs and general maintenance work before the cold and wet sets in.
During your inspection, pay particular attention to:
• Gutters and drains
Leaves and other debris can quickly clog gutters, downpipes and drains, increasing the risk of leaks and flooding.
A leaking roof can lead to expensive repair bills.
• Gas appliances
Faulty gas appliances pose a real risk for occupants and liability issues for landlords.
A lack of heating in winter means unhappy tenants.
A build-up of condensation can lead to mould, peeling paintwork, bubbling wallpaper, and warped doors and window frames.
Some landlords may grumble about the costs of repairs and maintenance, but it can make a difference to the bottom line. A bit of preventative maintenance can help prolong the life of the property and expensive systems, like heating and cooling, is generally tax deductible. Maintenance keeps tenants happy and ensures compliance with the requirements in landlords’ insurance policies.
Sharon Fox-Slater is the managing director of RentCover, a division of EBM, which insures 120,000 investment properties around Australia. With over 20 years’ experience in landlord insurance, Sharon’s top priority is customer service and positive customer comments are her biggest marker of success. Despite leaving school at 15, Sharon has forged a ground-breaking career – she was the first woman to become a fellow of the National Insurance Brokers Association. Sharon was honoured to have been included in Insurance Business magazine’s Elite Brokers 2013 list.