For the sake of auld lang syne

Start as you mean to go on in 2019 with these New Year resolutions.

It’s a new year, with new leaks to fix, new tenants to screen, new rental agreements to sign up, and new legislation to come to grips with!

January is a great time to review your plans – and insurances – to make sure you set yourself up for a productive and profitable 12 months.

Why not get off to a great start with these six New Year resolutions for landlords and agents?

Resolution 1: I will review my insurance cover
Whether your policies are due for renewal or not, the start of the year is an opportune time to check that your insurance covers are up-to-date. For property covers (RentCover products, Commercial Landlords Insurance Policy (CLIP) and OfficeCover), make sure to review the sum insured so your cover is adequate.

Landlords should check that they have the right type of policy for the way they are leasing their rental (different policies are needed for fixed-term tenancies and short-term leases). While agents should ensure that their Professional Indemnity cover is current.  You should speak with your insurance broker to ensure that your business is adequately covered for the unique risks operating within the real estate sector poses too.

It’s also a good time to remind tenants that they need renters’ contents insurance, like TenantCover, as landlord’s insurance won’t cover a tenant’s personal belongings if they get damaged or lost from a range of insured events like theft, fire and storm.

Resolution 2: I will keep up with maintenance
Repairs, urgent and otherwise, need to be attended to in a timely manner. Make sure you adhere to your obligations under the law.

Adequately maintaining the property is a requirement for insurance cover and failing to do so could render the policy void. So keep on top of regular upkeep with an effective scheduling system – it will not only keep tenants on side, but also safeguard the property’s insurance cover.

It’s important that both landlord and agent understand any obligations that are part of insurance coverage. For example, the requirement to help mitigate further loss by taking swift action if the property suffers damage.

Resolution 3: I will update my little black book of trades
Having trusted, reliable and quality tradies and contractors on speed dial is a must. Check that those already on your list are still available (it’s been a bit of a topsy turvy time for trades and many have moved on or ceased trading), licensed, insured and have current police clearances.

Cultivate a preferred vendors list and make sure to check their references.

Resolution 4: I will find and keep the best tenants
If the New Year sees a changeover in tenancies, carefully vet any prospective new renters. Don’t scrimp on the checks – references, employment, credit – even if it has been difficult to lease the property. While some may think it’s better to have any tenant than no tenant at all, having the wrong tenant can be costly if they fail to pay rent or damage the property. Adopt a thorough and consistent screening process – and apply it each time.

Resolution 5: I will protect the personal data I hold
Cyberattacks and data breaches are frighteningly common – and as you hold private data about your tenants etc., you need to look after it. Make sure to have a sound cyber security strategy and measures in place to protect the information you hold – two-factor authentication, strong passwords, updated software, protocols and processes for data management, and best-practice procedures for payments. Cyber Liability insurance cover will help protect your business.

Resolution 6: I will know what I need to know
Real estate is constantly evolving and you need to stay on top of new rules and requirements, like reforms to tenancy legislation or tax regimes. Much like licensing or law, when it comes to insurance, ignorance is no excuse for not doing what is required. Make sure you understand what your insurance policies do and don’t cover and what you need to do to meet your obligations under the policy.

 

Despite research from the Statistic Brain Research Institute, which suggests that just nine per cent of people keep their New Year’s resolutions, these six should be a lot easier to stick to than those old chestnuts of “I will get fit”, “I will lose weight” and “I will save money”. In fact, if you have the right insurances in place, you will be a lot closer to being financially fit, alleviating the weight of worry about ‘what ifs’ and ultimately save money by protecting your assets!