Significantly more must be done to protect landlords from rogue tenants, according to a couple who were left with a £10,000 clean-up bill after tenants trashed their property in South Tyneside.
Sylvia and John Purcell decided to rent out their three-bedroom house in Mortimer Road, South Shields, after moving to a new property.
But they say their investment plans turned sour when they had to take civil court action to regain possession of their house again and were left out of pocket because of rent arrears and repair bills, which they say amounted to £10,000.
Sylvia told The Shields Gazette that she and her husband had learned important lessons from their experience - but say the advice they received could have been better.
She said: “There was trouble from the first week. When we got the house back we were just stunned to see what it was like because it had been our home for eight years.
“I think there should be more protection for landlords, I think the court system is a joke. “If we were to do it again, we would do more vetting, we would do it differently.
“Yes, there should be help and protection for tenants, but it should be more balanced.”
This unfortunate tenancy highlights why it is so important that landlords properly vet prospective tenants by carrying out background checks on the people they let homes to by referencing tenants, as this is when many potential problems can be identified and ultimately avoided.
Tenant referencing provides all the background information on prospective tenants, helping landlords and agents make an educated choice about who they let properties to and importantly their ability to pay the rent on time each month.
But while measures such as credit checks and tenant referencing can minimise the chances of letting a property to bad tenants, there are no guarantees that what may appear to be a perfect occupant turns out to be a tenant from hell, and that is why the importance of landlord’s insurance should also not be underestimated.
Insurers offer a wide range of different property-related policies and so it is certainly not a case of one size fits all. But the only way landlords can properly protect themselves and their investment property against bad tenants is to take out appropriate landlords’ insurance that differs from standard home insurance.
Landlords’ insurance is a policy that covers a property owner from financial losses connected with rental properties. The policy generally covers the building, with the option of insuring any contents that belong to the landlord that are inside.
The policy will normally cover standard perils such as fire, lightning, explosion, earthquake, storm, floods, escape of water and oil, subsidence, theft and sometimes malicious damage by the tenant. Additional coverage might include accidental damage, terrorism, alternative accommodation costs, contents insurance, public, or landlord's liability cover, offering legal protection if tenants are injured, and crucially, rent guarantee and legal protection insurance.