Firstly, if you own a property that you are planning to let, take the following elements into consideration:
- In Flanders and Wallonia, tenants have been obliged to take out a home insurance policy or a rental liability policy since 2019 and 2018 respectively.
- In Brussels, the tenant is not obliged to take out home insurance but, in most cases, the landlord’s lease will require the tenant to take out home insurance or tenants' liability insurance.
As a reminder, as a property owner, you are not legally obliged to take out home insurance except de facto in the context of a mortgage. Nevertheless, we strongly advise you to protect your property with a home insurance policy, even if your tenant has their own home insurance, i.e., tenants’ liability insurance.
This is because both the landlord's home insurance and the tenant's home insurance insure different risks with a different value. Let us explain.
Homeowners’ insurance protects your building against various risks and your liability towards third parties. The tenant's home insurance only covers their liability for damage they may have caused to your home or to third parties such as neighbours through their 'fault'.
This means that the tenant will have to pay if the damage is a direct result of their actions. This is not always the case, however. Imagine that a tree falls on your property following a storm, or flooding damages your building, or lighting causes a fire in your building. As these are not the tenant’s fault, you will need to pay to repair the damage. However, if you have home insurance, the insurance will cover the repair costs and you will not need to pay from your own pocket.
Furthermore, as the owner, it is in your own interest to insure your building for its ‘replacement value’ (or reconstruction value) as, in the case of a claim, your goal will be to repair your property or rebuild it. The tenant, on the other hand, who is obliged to return the property in its original state is likely to take out home insurance for the ‘real value’ (taking wear and tear of the building into account). Having your own owner’s fire policy will compensate this loss in value.