As the Landlord of a house or flat you are responsible for several things including annual checks on gas installations and central heating by a qualified engineer. You must also make sure that any furnishings included in the letting are to an appropriate fire safety rating, that electrical connections and that appliances are installed to a satisfactory standard and comply with regulations. You are also likely to be responsible for the maintenance and repair of the structural fabric of the building including the roof and walls but also the plumbing, central heating and bathroom fittings.
As with your own home, it’s prudent to insure a property rented out to a third party against a variety of risks. But because your property is let out rather than owner occupied, you will need to let your insurer know. Given the difference in risk associated with a buy to let property, specialist insurance is likely to be necessary. Thankfully it is provided by a variety of household names.
Buy to Let insurance should cover buildings insurance for the usual risks such as fire, flood, etc but it’s also worth considering third party liability insurance (in case someone is injured at your property). If the property is damaged and the tenant refuses to pay rent, you may still have a liability to either house the tenant. Alternatively, the tenant may move and leave you with an unlettable property. Either way, you may want insurance to cover you for this eventuality. Alternatively, the tenant may damage your contents or fail to pay rent and thus involve you in a legal dispute. You can insure against this risk also.
In any event, your mortgagee will require proof that the property is insured for loss in the event of flood, fire or subsidence. Check your policy’s small print as most insurers exclude cover if the property remains empty for a period of time and you must inform them that you are leasing the property. It will also be necessary to properly maintain your property as a failure to maintain may invalidate a claim. Insuring your central heating system under a maintenance contract will remove a great deal of potential headaches. Tenants are unlikely to pay rent if they have a cold house with a broken boiler!