Prompted by all the rain the UK has been having, Richard Maby, head of Savills Henley lettings, offers
Prompted by all the rain the UK has been having, Richard Maby, head of Savills Henley lettings, offers advice for homeowners who may be in danger of seeing their properties flooded. New rental legislation is also on the way
WITH the high levels of rain we have been seeing in the UK, now is the time for homeowners to check their insurance policies and ensure they have adequate cover for flooding.
Check that the policy covers damages and losses to the property itself but also, critically, that there is enough budget allocated to adequately cover the cost of renting a property should you need to be rehoused.
Around Henley, this means a budget of up to £2,000 per calendar month for a three-bedroom house; up to £4,000 per calendar month for a four-bedroom house; and for larger homes, anywhere up to or in excess of £6,000 per calendar month.
If you have pets, the choice of accommodation on offer may be limited and you may have to pay a higher deposit.
We have come across applicants who have suffered as a result of flooding and have ended up in difficult battles with insurance companies because the standard or size of accommodation covered under their policy has not been adequate and, in some cases, they have had to bear the financial difference themselves.
If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of having been flooded, first and foremost contact your insurers and take your lead from them as they may not pay out if you stray from their advice. Most will have 24-hour emergency helplines.
If alternative accommodation is likely to be required, useful questions to ask include whether the policy includes a budget for temporary furnishing (most rental homes in the area come unfurnished) and whether the policy covers the cost of an agent’s tenancy set-up charges.
Who will be responsible for paying for the tenancy agreement and references, etc? Will the insurance company be handling everything, or do they expect you to? Who will be paying the deposit?
You may think it will take some time, but provided the right checks are in place and the property you are looking to move to is vacant and ready for occupation, you should be able to facilitate a prompt move within a matter of days.
For homeowners trying to find temporary accommodation, try to find a property close to the home you are leaving. While renovation works are being undertaken you will want to monitor progress and this is a lot easier when close by.
Generally, tenancy agreements offer a minimum term of six months. However, on occasion, some landlords are flexible and shorter terms can be negotiated.
Some insurers will pay rent in advance for the term of the tenancy and this tends to be looked on more favourably by landlords and can make all the difference if the need is for a shorter term tenancy.
With short turnaround times and with such little notice of the need for rented accommodation, ensure you rent through a reputable ARLA-licensed agent (Association of Residential Letting Agents).
Homeowners should review their insurance cover annually to ensure adequate cover is in place.
The other thing to watch out for is February 1, which is the date when all private landlords in England will have to check new tenants and lodgers have the right to be in the UK before renting out their property or risk being fined up to £3,000 per illegal tenant.
Under right to rent, landlords should check identity documents for all new tenants and take copies within 28 days before the start of a new tenancy. These checks must be made to ensure that anyone aged 18 or over living in the property, whether they are named on the tenancy agreement or not, is legally able to be in the property.
Acceptable forms of identification include passport and biometric residence permits. The documents need to be original, belong to the tenant, and be in date. Landlords will need to ensure copies are kept for the duration of the tenancy and for up to one year afterwards.
A further check may be necessary if the time your tenant is able to stay in the UK is limited. Failure to do so can result in a civil penalty fine.
Luckily at Savills, we undertake these checks as part of the service we offer our landlords.