How do you tackle squatters in your empty property and is it important to be a member of landlord organisations? In this month’s interview, Fiona Fullerton answers tricky landlord questions.
What different kinds of insurances would you recommended for first time landlords? With the Olympics in mind, will your house insurance cover room rental?
Building and contents insurance is the same as insuring your own property, but you must tell them it is a rental and remind tenants that they are responsible for insuring their personal possessions. If you let out your own home for the Olympics you always need to tell your insurers that the property is rented, otherwise the insurers may not pay out if you make a claim. Also make sure you cover your contents including carpets and furniture.
Would you consider it important to be a member/part of an organisation such as NLA?
NLA provides a good source of information on all kinds of issues from HMOs to how to deal with tenant rent arrears and crucially acts as a lobbying body for Landlords. For £85 per year if you join for 3 years, I recommend them.
What do you think about the Green Deal? How much should a landlord think about energy efficiency when buying and maintaining a property?
A good initiative but tenants are not generally put off by a low energy efficiency rating. However as a good landlord, I take a pragmatic view when buying, if a property scores low on efficiency, I will budget to improve the insulation and heating where it is possible.
What advice can you give if you have squatters in your empty property?
Inform the police and your local council immediately and commence legal action, which takes at least 3 weeks. Many squatters are savvy and know their legal rights. Hopefully your local police officers will look sympathetically on your plight and give the appropriate warnings to the squatters.
You can read more about the Green Deal here, it’s a government initiative which aims to make British properties more energy efficient. And if you need any tradesmen to help you with your rental properties, post your job for free on RatedPeople.com.