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Bay Estate and Letting AgentsSwanseaMarinaMumbles

Posted on 4/30/2020 11:45:16 AM

By Bay Estate Agents

The restrictions enforced due to Covid-19 may have an increased impact on property owners, with some facing a prolonged period where their property may sit vacant. This may have already become an issue for some landlords.

It is important during this period to check the terms of your insurance policy, specifically, any unoccupancy conditions to ensure you are up to speed with any guidelines or terms.

Check with your insurer if you have any questions on their current stance related to unoccupancy limits (typically 30, 45, 60 days and may have been extended due to Covid-19).

ARLA Propertymark Industry Supplier, Gallagher Insurance has come up with the following best practice guidance:

Notify your Broker and Insurer

Firstly, it is vital that your insurer is informed that your property is now vacant or not being used due to the restrictions. As obvious as it may seem, almost all insurers see this as a material change in risk, and therefore have a requirement to be notified, and so that they can respond with any additional measures they would like to see implemented.

Secure your Premises

Unoccupied premises are significantly more vulnerable to unwelcome intruders such as squatters and various other groups of trespassers. Intruders lead to a greater risk of a huge number of perils, including fire, flood, theft and malicious damage.

Undertaking a thorough physical examination of all potential entry points to your property, as well as all perimeter fencing, and ensuring it is all suitably secured, is vital to minimising this risk.

Revise your checks and procedures

Whilst these will vary, appointing an agent or individual to be responsible for the premises, with a clearly outlined set of duties, is critical to risk mitigation.

This role could come with any number of responsibilities, including internal and external site inspections with a supporting written and photographic log, testing of any critical systems, reporting any issues through a clearly defined reporting process and generally ensuring the site appears cared for rather than vacant.

Storm, flood, utility leaks or fire damage can be costly even if a property is occupied, the risk and damage may increase further if a property is vacant.

Consider your Legal Liability

Property owners have a legal duty of care to third parties whilst on their premises, and this even extends to trespassers – which could include children using your site as an unofficial playground. Undertaking a review of your health and safety risk assessment at the earliest opportunity is vital to take into consideration the fact that your property is now unoccupied.

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