Saturday 16 December 2017

Home Economics - Questions and answers

Sinead Ryan
Sinead Ryan
Sinead Ryan

Sinead Ryan

I am leaving the country on a two year work contract and will be renting out my house. I'm concerned about my home insurance – does this change because I become a landlord?

Becoming a landlord confers a number of responsibilities on you. You must register with the Private Residential Tenancies Board (prtb.ie), get a BER cert and declare your rental income for tax purposes. You are allowed certain allowances, e.g. part of the mortgage interest and repairs and maintenance etc., against this.

Regarding the insurance, Grainne Callaghan, of www.getcover.ie says, "Any fundamental change in the use of the property must be notified to your insurer immediately. Because the risk of loss is significantly higher in rented properties, the terms offered may be affected.

Most insurers will only insure properties rented out to families, couples, professionals or retired persons. This pretty much excludes student rentals which are only covered by a few companies. Also in most cases the property must be rented out as one unit with one person being responsible for the rental agreement. There may also be a limit on the number of tenants.

You may be under a warranty (promise) that where the property has been unoccupied / untenanted for a period of time, cover is restricted and you must comply with a number of specific conditions to protect it. These will be clearly stated in your insurance documentation.

You must have a written tenancy agreement in place to produce to your insurer in the event of a claim. Also be aware that each time the property changes tenant all of the conditions need to be reconsidered".

I paid my property tax (LPT) for 2013. However, in September the house was very badly damaged by fire and I have had to move into temporary accommodation while repairs are underway. I won't be able to return until at least Easter. Am I liable to tax for 2014?

I'm sorry for your circumstances and hope you will be able to return soon. Revenue says that "Where your property has been substantially damaged and is no longer suitable for occupation as a dwelling on 1 November 2013 you will not be liable to pay LPT for 2014.

"You should write to the Revenue Commissioners, LPT Branch, P.O. Box 1, Limerick, providing proof as to why your property is no longer habitable and therefore not liable for the tax".

Ideally you should have done this by November 7, but I daresay Revenue will make allowances for you given the situation. Do send evidence (e.g. from your insurance company) regarding the damage. If the house is habitable by 1 November 2014, you will be liable for 2015 tax.

Irish Independent

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