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Business Protection Bulletin

Habitational Insurance And Empty Apartments

By September 6, 2016No Comments

bb-sept2016-4Something many a landlord has pondered: Do I need to buy habitational insurance if I don’t actually have any renters living in my apartment and condominium complexes right now? If you’re doing renovations, if you’re just sitting on the property right now and not actually leasing it out, do you need habitational coverage, or is there some other policy that will protect your property until you’re ready to start looking for renters? After all, doesn’t “habitational” mean that someone’s living in it?

Habitational policies are there to cover you against general liability claims should a renter suffer injury or damages while on the premises, so it stands to reason that that protection isn’t really necessary for an empty complex.

The short answer: Habitational insurance is only required when you are actually renting to people, but you’ll want to make sure it’s in place before you start looking for tenants. Until you’re actually looking for renters and filing your taxes as a landlord, an apartment complex is kind of just a really, really big house. You can cover an apartment complex under various policies including general liability, property insurance and vacant housing insurance.

The real question is whether or not that’s more hassle than it’s worth.

It’s unlikely that you’re going to be sitting on a vacant apartment complex for any longer than absolutely necessary. The upkeep on an apartment or condo complex is a lot more time, effort and money than it’s worth if you’re not making a return on your investment by renting your units out. If your renovations are finished on the 7th, you might find yourself waiting a few weeks, unable to rent to any new tenants until your habitational policy kicks in at the end of the month.

Ultimately it comes down to whether you’re saving enough to be worth the extra work of creating a whole new insurance package and spending any amount of time without a habitational policy in place. Obviously if you’re building a complex from scratch, you don’t need to worry about habitational insurance until you’re putting the finishing touches on the building. If you’re only going to be out of business for the week or two that it takes to fix a gas leak, then switching your policy up is going to be a lot of extra headaches for no good reason.

So no, you probably don’t need habitational insurance if you’re not renting to any tenants at the moment, but you’ll want to take a moment to think about it before you cancel your coverage.