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Landlords insurance for student tenants

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Before you know it, the new academic year will be starting in September and hundreds of thousands of students from home and abroad are once again going to be looking for accommodation to rent.

If you are a landlord to student tenants, are you ready for this year’s influx?

The market

For any landlord in the private rented sector, student numbers make for a potentially valuable market.

Statistics published by Universities UK show that during the previous academic year, there were well over 2 million students (at publicly-funded institutions of higher education) studying in the UK.

1.7 million of these were undergraduates and a further half a million or so, more mature postgraduate students. The overwhelming majority (more than 1.8 million) were from the UK and a further 440,000 from the EU or elsewhere.

Even these very significant numbers exclude the many more students attending the 371 colleges of further education in England and Wales, where a further 2.7 million are enrolled – according to figures published by the Association of Colleges.

Some of these millions of students are likely to continue to live at home with their parents – especially those attending colleges of further education. But the numbers of those attending institutions of higher education and opting to live at home are relatively small – only 328,000 of them, according to a story published in the Independent newspaper on the 1st of February 2017

Landlords insurance for student tenants

As you prepare your buy to let property to take advantage of this huge influx of potential new tenants, one of the important considerations is your landlords insurance for student tenants – without it, or without the specialist protection you are likely to need when letting to this type of tenant, your property may be at risk and the business you are running as a landlord stands to suffer considerable losses. 

Here are some of the questions you might need to ask yourself:

Does your insurer allow it? 

  • the fundamental issue is whether your landlord’s insurance extends to student tenants – by no means all policies do so;
  • insurers are in the business of assessing risks, and, for many, those risks are increased when the targeted tenant market comprises students (or other groups such as those on benefits, the unemployed, or asylum seekers) – and this may lead to some insurers excluding such tenants under the terms of your landlord insurance;

Are the risks covered?

  • are you satisfied that your insurance provides the protection you need against possible loss or damage to the structure and fabric of the building and its contents; 
  • if you are worried about the possibility of malicious damage caused by your student tenants, for example, some policies provide such cover;

HMOs

  • if yours is a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) – where two or more tenants, forming more than one household, share facilities such as a bathroom and toilet or kitchen – remember that you have responsibilities and obligations as a landlord;
  • as we have discussed elsewhere, these are changing all of the time and it is up to you, as the landlord, to make sure you continue to comply and maintain the appropriate type of insurance for an HMO;

Landlord liability insurance

  • are you confident that your landlord liability insurance – typically offering a minimum of £1 million of cover – remains sufficient for your needs in meeting claims from your tenants, their visitors or members of the public who may have been injured or had their own property damaged through some connection with your let accommodation. 

This autumn’s influx of student numbers brings with it valuable opportunities for landlords – you might want to make sure you re fully prepared.

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