Finding the right landlord insurance for New South Wales doesn't need to be a chore.
If you're a landlord, wading through policies to find the right cover for your property can be a daunting task. Whether it's an apartment in Bondi or a historic building in Katoomba, getting the right cover for you can depend on a number of factors. Find the cover you need with our guide to landlord insurance in NSW.
Need landlord insurance for NSW?
What does landlord insurance 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.
Is there anything different about being a landlord in New South Wales?
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.
Is landlord insurance compulsory in NSW?
While it is 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 is not required at a state level, some local councils require a level of legal liability, which is included with any level of landlord insurance.
How do I choose a landlord insurance policy?
Before you start looking through policies, you should ask yourself a few questions to help you find the right cover. First, what level of cover do you need? Do you want to only protect the building, its contents or do you want total protection. How much are you willing to pay for cover? The more protection you have, the higher your premiums go.
Are you in a city like Sydney, Newcastle or Parramatta? Then you'll probably want to make sure you have adequate protection from theft and vandalism. Are you in a country area like Bathurst, Dubbo or Broken Hill? Then you'll want protection against natural events like fire, flood and storms. Once you've answered these questions, choosing the right policy will be easier.
Who offers landlord insurance in New South Wales?
Landlord insurance providers in Australia are not state-specific, meaning you can get the same benefits from cover as a landlord in Queensland. Some insurers offering landlord cover in NSW include the following:
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.
What about my rights as a landlord?
A landlord has the right to evict a tenant, provided you have either provided adequate notice or have a legitimate reason and proof that a tenant has broken the conditions of the lease. You also have the right to increase rent or the length of the lease, provided you have given adequate notice and offer a mutual termination of the lease if the tenant disagrees with the new terms. If, after your tenant has left the premises, you require repairs, maintenance or cleaning service as a result of their living standards or habits, you can withhold the bond until these issues have been sorted or recoup costs against it if the tenant does not comply.