CONTRIBUTORSElite AgentEPM: Case Studies

Little Real Estate delves into devastating insurance claims 

Some landlords believe that insurance is just one more unnecessary expense in a long list of things that cost too much money.

But it’s there for a reason — to help landlords recoup losses when things go wrong.

And believe us, things do go wrong… horribly wrong.  

As an agent, we are sure you have had to manage some devastating insurance claims.

From tenants not paying their rent to furry friends chewing through walls.

From natural disasters blowing off roofs to vehicles colliding with lounge rooms.

From intruders taking off with valuable items to rooms being converted into grow-houses.  

Of course, all landlords hope it won’t happen to them.

In fact, many believe it wholeheartedly won’t happen to them.

However, life can be unpredictable.

That is where insurance steps in.

Insurance is ultimately in the business of the unpredictable.

Anne Crarey, Little Real Estate (LRE) Executive General Manager – Property Services, knows this reality all too well.

She has spent close to two decades in the property sector, carving out a reputation both locally and internationally.

Having witnessed the transition that some rental properties experience – from a ‘good littler earner’ to a ‘financial nightmare’ – Anne and the Little Real Estate team have partnered with landlord insurance specialist EBM RentCover to help their landlords recover losses when things go wrong.  

And, the partnership has paid off, with Litte Real Estate submitting more than 850 claims to EBM RentCover in the past five years.

During that same period, more than $4.5 million has been paid out to Little Real Estate’s clients in need. 

“We, at all times, want to offer our landlords the best possible solutions for their properties, so in addition to our core service of property management, we leverage our scale to seek suitable partners that can deliver tailored property-related services that benefit our landlords – including landlord insurance,” Anne says.

EBM RentCover stands out to LRE as they offer such a wide range of coverage.

“They are so quick in the turn-around with insurance claims and this puts our landlords at ease knowing we are doing what we say we are doing.

“In addition, the training offered to new starters, and refresher training for our existing team, arms property managers with information that assists our landlords.”

To showcase the ongoing value of landlord insurance, this month, EBM RentCover chats to Anne about a few real-life claim stories – stories that started out as a bit of a horror, but quickly turned into stories of good fortune.

Three claims in one…

Sometimes, it isn’t just one single event that leads to an insurance claim.

Take this one, for example – it involved malicious acts due to an intruder, loss of rent and accidental tenant damage. 

The claim for malicious acts was lodged first.

Several intruders broke into the property, stealing an array of items.

EBM RentCover stepped in and paid out $3603.80 to the landlord to recover the losses for the stolen items.

Then, the tenants vacated the property.

While an exit condition report was carried out, it was later discovered that there was a leak in the kitchen causing damage to the flooring.

An assessor was appointed to determine the extent of the damage and more than $8100 was paid out to repair kitchen cabinets and flooring.

While works were being carried out to fix the leak, the property was unable to be re-tenanted and three weeks loss of rent was covered.

In total, the Little Real Estate landlord was able to claim about $12,500 through EBM RentCover for the damage and loss. 

It’s raining hail…

A number of storms passed through the South East Queensland region, encompassing large hail stones, strong winds and heavy rainfall.

The storms were widely reported in both local and national media, causing widespread damage throughout the region.

During the storm event, the tenant reported water ingress within the living area, garage and bedrooms, which subsequently collapsed.

After an assessor was appointed, it was discovered that about 200 concrete roof tiles to the main property roof were cracked due to the impact of hailstones.

More than $33,000 in repairs were needed to get the property back into shape.

In addition, because repairs were taking place, the tenant was unable to live in the property.

The Little Real Estate landlord was able to claim about 156 days of loss of rent equating to more than $7200.

In total, the landlord was able to claim $43,950 to restore the property and secure another tenant. 

A bad tenant and a bad dog…

To the shock of the property manager, a tenant vacated the property without undertaking any cleaning.

Another surprise was the fact a dog had been residing within the property.

Although it had never been evident at inspections, dog faeces were found in areas of the home along with urine-soaked carpets.

Thankfully, this Little Real Estate landlord was covered by an EBM RentCover policy, which offers up to $70,000 cover for pet-related damage.

On this occasion, EBM RentCover paid out more than $10,500 for pet damage to carpets and blinds, in addition to a further $1300 for tenant damage to a rangehood, walls (which needed re-painting), flyscreens and a vanity.

A further $643 was paid during the repair period to cover loss of rent. 

Claim four settled by EBM RentCover

When a car and house collide…

This was certainly a scary one for the tenant.

A third-party vehicle lost control from an adjacent road, which sits at a higher elevation, crashing through a perimeter fence and downwards impacting with the roof and external wall of the insured’s premises.

The inner leaf brickwork had been pushed in towards the property causing damage to the plasterboard wall within the wardrobe in one of the rear bedrooms.

Externally, there was damage to several bricks, fascia board had collapsed, roof sheeting and guttering had been damaged and a temporary make-safe was resurrected thanks to the real estate agent to make the property safe and watertight.

There was also a perimeter timber paling fence which was also wiped out along with concrete blocks serving the retaining wall.

As you can imagine, this was a significant claim for a significant amount of damage.

We haven’t even touched on the loss of rent aspect!

In total, the landlord was able to claim for $50,088 dollars to fix the damage and cover loss of rent while the property was uninhabitable and being repaired. 

Tenants defaulting on a rent is a common one…

One tenant fell behind in rent and was issued with a termination notice.

The tenant didn’t vacate by the required date, so the Little Real Estate property manager applied to the tribunal for possession.

At tribunal, it was decided that the tenant could stay in the property, but they had to go on a payment plan to pay off the outstanding rent.

The tenant failed to comply with the tribunal order, so the property manager once again applied to the tribunal and sought possession of the property.

The tenant was unhappy with this and submitted their own application to the tribunal to stay in the property, which was approved.

The tenant then again failed to pay rent, so the process started all over again with the property manager applying to the tribunal for possession.

Possession was granted, however the tenant refused to leave.

A Warrant of Possession was later granted.

Once the tenant was out of the property, EBM RentCover stepped in to cover loss of rent, paying out more than $9000.

An extra $2600 was paid for damage to carpets and doors.  

An upset fire sprinkler…

The property manager was told that a neighbour’s guest hung their clothes on a fire sprinkler.

This caused the sprinkler system to activate, causing water damage to a number of units, including the one of an EBM RentCover policyholder.

The tenant had to vacate as the property was uninhabitable for a period, which meant the landlord was not able to receive rent while the property was being restored.

As the property was an apartment, they submitted a claim to their body corporate insurer to cover some of the losses.

In addition, water extraction and carpet drying was needed.

The landlord was able to claim for about $6453 in loss and damage from EBM RentCover. 

The above claims highlight the value of insurance.

When things go wrong, it is good to have a financial safety net.

If, unlike Little Real Estate, you are not partnered with a specialist landlord insurance provider, this is your sign to add this task to your to-do list. Partner with EBM RentCover today here

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Kylie Dulhunty

Kylie Dulhunty is the Editor at Elite Agent.

Sharon Fox-Slater

Sharon Fox-Slater is the Managing Director of EBM RentCover, which protects more than 165,000 rental properties across Australia. For more info, visit