Friday 20 April 2007 6.49am
You can buy home contents insurance, but if you are letting it can be very expensive. In any case your tenants will need to insure their own possessions.
You should be covered for quite a lot on the buildings insurance that the managing agent will carry. You should check but things like damage from a leaking roof, a front door broken in during a burglary etc.
If you want to insure your fixtures and fittings, you might be better off seeking some form of overall landlord insurance, which would cover you for non-payment of rent, eviction costs etc. (I think there is an Association of Residential Landlords which might be a starting point.) I dont bother, perhaps unwisely I assume that I am careful selecting tenants and always prefer a good quality tenant to one who would pay more, and that I would probably be subsidising those who take risks.
In terms of furnishings, it may be worth telling that agent that you can show some flexibility. Last year I furnished a three bedroom house with IKEA furniture for £1,000, less than a months rent. In this case it meant I had no down time, even though July is a horrible month to find tenants. The furniture looked fine and thenants were really pleased.
Some good tenants, perhaps coming to England to work, really cant be bothered organising furniture when they are also getting to grips with a new job. Others like mine (young but nice graduates), are cash stapped after paying the deposit, rent in advance and so on. Plus if you make this concession you can ask for concessions in return like a year fixed term, rather than the standard 6 months.