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Landlords are watching with concern as the number of job lay offs increase. All we can do is just hope that it is not one of our tenants. A period of unemployment means that many tenants will be unable to afford some of their largest outgoings. One of their biggest is undoubtedly rent, and this is where a landlord is likely to suffer the ‘fall out’ from the credit crunch.

What happens if the tenant becomes unemployed?

What happens to the tenant if they lose their job depends largely on the tenant’s financial position. It should have no direct impact on the tenancy as long as the tenant continues to pay their rent. However, the sudden loss of employment frequently results in financial hardship for the tenant.

Something has to give, and this often means that the tenant stops paying their rent. Where an unemployed tenant wants to stay in a rental property and where a landlord is happy to retain them, this could mean a period of rental voids whilst the tenant applies for the local housing allowance.

The safe route for a landlord would be to serve the tenant with a Section 21 Notice or Section 8 Notice if it is that the tenant is more than 2 months behind on rent , seeking possession of their buy-to-let property. Once a landlord has possession of their buy-to-let property they can re-let to an employed tenant.

Can landlords take precautions?

A landlord is not completely powerless against the prevailing harsh economic climate. One solution for landlords is to take out rent guarantee insurance. Alan Boswell insurance has recently launched such a policy, which combines rent guarantee insurance and legal protection.

The policy offers:-

  • Lost rent up to £25,000 over 12 months (subject to a 1 month rent excess)
  • Up to £50,000 in legal advice

The cover costs £7.80 per property with a minimum premium of £126. The proviso is that each tenant / guarantor is referenced and awarded a PASS by Keysafe (UK) Ltd. This costs £30 a time.

FREE* rent guarantee and legal advice for portfolio landlords (
only availiable to landlords with over 15 properties or £1 million worth of cover and whose insurance is arranged through Alan Boswell Insurance Brokers. Tel – 0845 6180298 Ref. propertyhawk)

Property Hawk has teamed up with Alan Boswell insurance to offer this insurance package FREE to our portfolio landlords. This means that professional landlords can now protect their portfolio against tenant unemployment and legal advice costs for a full 12 months for FREE.

For more advice and information call the Alan Boswell Insurance landlord helpline on 0845 6180298

Other policies worth checking out

Rent guarantee insurance is becoming increasingly available to landlords and is often offered to a landlord by the company that carries out the tenant referencing. Landlord insurance companies frequently offer a rent guarantee as an additional package. There are numerous companies that offer tenant rent guarantee insurance including UK Insurance Net.

How much should it cost?

I recently sorted out a quote for tenant insurance on one of my properties. The cost for 12 months of cover using Endsleigh tenant guarantee insurance on a property with a monthly rent of £500 was £99. This equates to 3.3% of the gross rent. In my view, not bad value for money if a landlord is genuinely worried about receiving their rent.

What does a landlord get?

• Protection against rent arrears whilst Endsleigh handle the claim
• Legal cover – defence and prosecution
• Covers all types of tenants who have successfully completed the referencing
• Cover 50% of lost rent for 3 months in between a successful eviction and finding new tenants

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