Pandemic Planning

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How can you prepare for any and every eventuality?

What a couple of years it has been! As the nights draw in, we are all looking towards Christmas – an extra special one this year, after the last-minute cancellation of festivities that capped a crazy 2020.

As boosters are made available to keep the strain off the NHS this winter, we are all hopeful that we’ll have a nice, normal (and safe!) Christmas. 

But if 2020 (and much of 2021, if we’re honest) has taught us anything, it’s that the best laid plans don’t always work out. Only this week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned that the NHS is under pressure and refused to rule out a Christmas 2021 lockdown.

While no one wants to consider the possibility of another lockdown, it is important to learn from the past and ensure that we are prepared for every eventuality. After all, no one would have predicted that we’d spend so much of 2020 and 2021 in government mandated lockdown!

How can you protect yourself?

A good first step is always finding a reliable tenant. While having a reliable tenant doesn’t protect you from them losing their job and being unable to pay their rent, it can protect you from renting your property to someone who has no intention of ever paying their rent.

Make sure that you get thorough references for your tenant, you can even check out our tenant referencing service to save doing it all yourself.

However, it is possible that even the most reliable tenant may fall on hard times. During the pandemic, a lot of landlords were in the unenviable position of finding their tenants had lost their jobs and were unable to make their rent payments. Very little was done to support tenants and landlords in this instance, as tenants were expected to pay their rent and bills out of furlough pay. Rent Guarantee Insurance really takes the weight of this worry off your shoulders. Our RGI covers you for up to £2,500 per month, if your tenant can’t pay their rent. That’s pretty brilliant insurance, even if we don’t face another pandemic!

Despite the old cliche that landlords are terrible people, looking to make fast cash, this isn’t the case in most instances! When a tenant falls on hard times, most landlords want to do all they can to help their tenant. After all, if you’ve got someone in your property who is usually reliable and takes great care of the place, you’d want them back on their feet, rather than find a new tenant.

RGI was off the market for months during the pandemic, so landlords who didn’t already have the cover couldn’t protect themselves during the crisis. Tenants had to find the rent out of their furlough payments, or face going into arrears and possible eviction. 

While we hope we don’t face another crisis like this, it’s worth learning the lesson and covering yourself, not just for global health emergencies, but for the smaller scale worries of tenants losing their jobs.  

How can you help your tenants?

Tenants and landlords are a team, so it’s in the landlords interest to make sure their tenant is happy and financially comfortable. 

Offering Deposit Replacement ensures that your tenants aren’t struggling at the beginning of their tenancy by having to scrape together a large deposit, usually before they get their previous deposit back. Most tenants will need to raid their savings or turn to the Bank of Mum and Dad, which they may have to pay back, alongside their rent to you.

We all know how difficult getting a deposit together can be, especially when you consider the costs of moving itself and potentially purchasing new items of furniture. So anything you can do to ease that bumpy transition is great.

Not only will this get your relationship with your tenant off the right foot, it’s also a weight off your mind knowing that they’re not hugely out of pocket, which might cause them to struggle down the road. 

Our Deposit Replacement Scheme is much easier on the pocket and is good for both the landlord and the tenant. 

What else do you need to consider?

While you’re on the subject of future proofing, don’t forget that climate change is a very real thing! We’ve talked before about the damage the weather can wreak on your properties, so it’s worth preparing for the worst instead of hoping for the best.

Even without the extreme weather caused by climate change, winter is hard on homes and it’s the worst time of year to have to deal with issues because your tenants just want to be warm and cosy in their home. 

Our Home Emergency Insurance covers you for issues that you want to sort out quickly – especially in the winter! – lost keys, boiler breakdown, loss of water and electrical faults. Make sure you can take the very best care of your property and your tenants this winter and be prepared for any and every eventuality!

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