Landlord Insurance NSW
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What does landlord insurance in NSW cover me for?
Landlord insurance typically comes in three cover options.
- Home insurance. Home insurance, or building/building-only cover, offers cover for your home and other fixtures on your property against damage from fires, storms, theft and vandalism. Cover usually provides additional protection against loss of rent due to damage rendering the property uninhabitable or damage to shared areas such as pools and gardens.
- Contents insurance. Contents cover protects any of your household possessions and any other property you have on site against the same risks as home insurance. Additional options are usually available for communal items like pool equipment or outdoor furniture.
- Home and contents insurance. Offering total protection for your property and everything inside, this is the most comprehensive level of cover available to landlords, and includes optional cover for both rental default and damage or loss cause by tenants or their guests.
What should my landlord insurance NSW policy include?
Every property owner has different needs but if you live in NSW, here's a breakdown of what you should consider including in your landlord insurance policy.
Storms are common across NSW. This can cover your property if it's damaged or destroyed by one.
You can get cover for loss and damage caused by fire (including bushfires).
Furniture and furnishings
This can cover loss or damage to furniture, furnishings and carpet in your property.
This can cover you for stolen items and damage from theft and vandalism.
This can cover you for loss or damage caused by floods. It's often an add-on you'll need to pay extra for.
Loss of rent
If your tenant stops paying rent or leaves without giving you notice, landlord insurance can cover the costs, up to a certain amount.
What additional benefits can NSW landlord insurance cover?
As well as the items listed above, you might want to get cover for the following:
- Tax audit costs. Landlord insurance can cover the fees associated with a tax audit by the ATO.
- Legal liability cover. If you're accused of negligence or of hurting a tenant, legal liability can cover you for legal fees.
- Replacement of locks. If a tenant doesn't hand over the keys, this can pay to replace locks.
- Removal of tenant's possessions. Some policies can pay to remove the tenant's possessions from the property if you've made a claim for loss of rent.
Is landlord insurance compulsory in NSW?
No, while it's not compulsory to have landlord insurance in NSW, as a landlord you are responsible for any damage and public liability for injury or loss on your property. Landlord insurance can protect you against the financial burden you face should there be any damage to your building, loss of contents, rent default, or death or injury on your property. And while it isn't required at a state level, some local councils require a level of legal liability, which is included with any level of landlord insurance.
Is there anything different about being a landlord in NSW?
Landlord insurance is pretty much identical across the country. However, there are some differences between states around the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants and these could have an impact on insurance claims down the road.
Here's what's different in NSW:
- Bond and advance rent. As a landlord in NSW, you are allowed to collect four weeks bond and two weeks advance rent.
- Rent increases. If the lease is a fixed-term agreement of less than two years, you cannot increase the rent unless you've added a special term to the contract explaining exactly why the rent will increase and how the increase will be calculated. If it is a fixed-term agreement of more than two years, you can increase the rent at any time but only once every 12 months. In all cases, including periodic leases, you must give 60 days notice.
- Ending a tenancy. If you want to end a fixed-term lease, you have to wait until the lease is up and tell the tenant at least 14 days before that date. On a periodic lease (ie, month-to-month), you have to give your tenant a 90-day notice if you want them out. It's different if they breach the contract, in which case you only need to give them a 14-day advance warning regardless of what type of lease they are on.
- Pets. There are no laws saying tenants can't have pets, but as a landlord, you do have the right to ban pets as long as that is written into your rental agreement.
- Access for inspections. You're allowed to conduct four routine inspections every 12 months, but you'll need to give your tenant a written notice at least seven days in advance of the inspection.
What are a landlord's responsibilities?
Your responsibility as a landlord is essentially to provide a habitable apartment, house or property for a tenant. Habitable means the property is free of hazards and defects, is fit to live in and complies with all NSW state and local building and health codes. These responsibilities include the following:
- Maintaining structural components and a reasonably weather-protected unit
- Providing the necessary heat, electric and hot and cold water facilities
- Making any requested repairs promptly
- Inspecting the property each time it is leased to determine whether it meets safety and adequate living standards
- Giving notice before entering a rental unit, except in cases of emergency
- Abiding by all agreements made in the signed lease
- Providing 15 days written notice of any changes to a month-to-month agreement
- Adhering to the legal eviction process if evicting a tenant
- Advising your tenant of their legal rights and responsibilities when taking out a lease.
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