As a property owner it is essential to protect yourself from the potential legal claims that could be made by tenants, contractors and members of the public who are injured whilst living in or visiting your property.
All landlords are at risk of being sued if found to be negligent or in breach of their duty of care. For example if a tenant were to trip and fall on a broken step, they would be able to sue the landlord for damages and in the age of 'no-win no-fee' legal cases, this type of action is becoming increasingly popular.
Minimise the risk
The best way to avoid legal action is to try and minimise the risk. Essentially it is up to the landlord to ensure that the property is as safe as possible. This includes fixing broken steps, shelves and cupboards, testing electrics and reducing fire hazards.
However, this does not eliminate risk completely and the last line of defence should be liability insurance.
Property owners' liability insurance
Liability insurance enables the landlord to meet any costs or damages awarded to a member of the public if they suffer an injury following an accident on or from the owner's property.
Often specialist landlord's insurance providers will provide liability insurance as part of the main package, but it is a good idea to check your policy to ensure that you are covered.
If you are not covered, you may want to consider taking out liability cover or changing to a new policy that includes this cover.
Don Suter is Managing Editor of the UK Property Portal (http://www.ukpropertyportal.co.uk), an online directory and magazine for UK property sales, rental, surveyors, mortgages, conveyancing, property insurance, removals, news, investment and development
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