Study reveals extent of tenant emergencies in private rented sector
Emergencies such as flood, fires and pests have resulted in rental properties in the UK being evacuated almost nine million times in the last five years, new research shows, the equivalent of 1.7 million homes every year.
Tenants spend an average of 8.5 days out of their home while repair works are completed
Overall, landlords have had to shell out £4.5 billion on emergency contractors in the last year alone, according to the study from Direct Line for Business.
Emergencies including floods, fires and pest infestations have forced tenants to evacuate their rental properties almost nine million times in the last five years reveals new research from Direct Line for Business1. This is the equivalent of 1.7 million evacuated rental properties every year.
In the last 12 months more than half, some 53%, of landlords have had to call an emergency contractor to visit one of their properties. On average, they have called out a contractor once every three months, which amounts to 4.7 million calls to contractors every year, or 13,000 each day.
Tenants forced to move out of a property as a result of an emergency, for such issues as fire or storm damage, were left unable to access their home for 8.5 days on average while repairs were completed.
The most common emergencies are plumbing related, with 365,000 rental homes evacuated because of these issues each year. The second most common issue forcing renters to leave their homes are faults with electrical or gas supplies with 293,000 evacuated, followed by escape of water at 267,000 and pest infestations at 195,000.
Overall, landlords have had to pay out £4.5 billion on emergency contractors in the last year alone. This amounts to an average cost of £764 per callout, or £2,141 per year for every landlord in the UK.
Fire is the most expensive emergency faced by landlords with an average claim cost of £17,000. Other high cost but low frequency claims include damage caused by lightning and flooding, both £14,000. Despite emergencies costing landlords as much as two and a half times’ the average monthly UK rent, 56% admitted they do not have suitable insurance to cover lost rental income or the cost of alternative accommodation.
The true cost of correcting an issue goes far beyond the physical repair work. While structural damage racks up the highest bill, costing an average £2,325 per callout, this accounts for 41% of the overall cost for landlords. Rehoming tenants is responsible for 31% of the final cost, while loss of rent accounts for 28%.
‘Landlords are reacting immediately to tenants’ emergencies calling in contractors to resolve issues day or night. When tenants flag an issue early it can be resolved quickly preventing excess damage to the building and the tenants’ contents,’ said Sarah Larkin, landlord product manager at Direct Line for Business.
‘The true cost of an emergency is unknown until all the work is complete and tenants are safely back in the property. It is essential that landlords have the right insurance cover in place to cope with the incident and avoid added stress,’ she explained.
‘No landlord wants their tenant to be inconvenienced, but equally they want them to be safe. We have developed our emergency cover to give some control back to both the landlord and tenant when an issue arises. Being able to get in touch with a certified contractor will give peace of mind and have a positive impact on the landlord and tenant relationship,’ she added.