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By Kieran Molloy

Commercial Manager, HomeLet


Understanding professional indemnity claims in letting agent services

Why professional indemnity claims are on the rise

In today's volatile economic landscape, the uncertainty faced by landlords and tenants has reached unprecedented levels. Letting agents, the essential bridge between these two parties, find themselves under immense pressure due to increased risks.

In particular, the surge in professional indemnity claims has become a critical challenge for letting agents. This year, a report found that professional indemnity claims are the most frequent type of insurance claim in the UK, now accounting for over a quarter (26%) of the annual total in the sector.


Now, more than ever, it's important for letting agents to ensure they have a professional indemnity insurance policy that is tailored to the unique needs of their business and the industry.

Negligence claims against letting agents

Letting agents carry Professional Indemnity Insurance because, despite their diligence and professionalism, mistakes can happen. Here are various examples of how letting agents can be caught out:

Breach of professional duty: Failing to fulfil their professional duty, which can include:

   - Neglecting to arrange the required Gas and Electrical Certificates, causing property damage

   - Inadequate tenant referencing leading to rent payment defaults or property damage

   - Failing to carry out property management services or repairs

Libel or slander: Engaging in negative interactions that cause financial losses, such as:

   - Posting or engaging with negative, offensive, or false social media content

   - Leaving negative online reviews

   - Making detrimental statements to the media

Unintentional breach of confidentiality: Accidentally disclosing sensitive information to the wrong recipient, which might include:

   - Private and personal data

   - Development plans

   - Planning permission details

Dishonesty of employees: Employee actions that can harm the business or clients, such as:

   - Stealing tenancy deposits

   - Forging accreditations or certificates

   - Omitting to disclose important information to manipulate property tenancies

Loss of or damage to documents: Claims related to the loss or damage of documents like:

   - Identification

   - Evidence of disrepair allegations or other disputes

   - Deeds or titles to residential properties

Unintentional infringement of intellectual property rights: Infringements, whether deliberate or accidental, related to intellectual property like:

   - Trademarks

   - Copyrights

   - Designs

Mistakes happen, but losing customers doesn't have to

Building a solid reputation and stable income as a letting agent takes years, but it can be dismantled quickly by just one disgruntled business or individual. Preventing these mistakes is the priority but given the ease with which an agency can be liable for errors, Professional Indemnity Insurance becomes a crucial element of a business's resilience.

Professional Indemnity Insurance isn't just a box to tick; without cover, or more specifically, the right type of cover, a letting agent’s business can close overnight.

What to look for in a Professional Indemnity Insurance provider

When it comes to Professional Indemnity Insurance for letting agents, it's not a question of why, but of who to choose. The right policy provider can protect letting agents from irreversible financial and reputational damage. Consider the following core elements when renewing your Professional Indemnity Insurance policy:

Find a policy tailored for letting agents: Seek insurance providers that understand the specific nature of the letting agent industry, its client expectations, challenges, and operations. A tailored policy ensures efficient dispute resolution while minimising operational downtime.

Assess resources: Online general Professional Indemnity Insurance policies can be laborious and time-consuming, potentially delaying settlements. Evaluate your policy provider's resources to manage claims efficiently, relieving you of bureaucratic burdens and allowing you to focus on business continuity and profitability.

Ensure value for money: Leading letting agents view Professional Indemnity Insurance as an investment rather than a mere obligation. Look for competitive premiums and tailored packages to provide the best value for your money and comprehensive protection for your assets and those of your clients in the event of a valid claim.

In the ever-evolving landscape of the letting agent industry, the surge in professional indemnity claims serves as a stark reminder of the need for vigilance and preparedness. The financial uncertainties faced by landlords and tenants are at an all-time high, and letting agents, who play a pivotal role in maintaining the equilibrium, must safeguard their businesses against the unexpected.

While mistakes can happen to even the most diligent professionals, the repercussions don't have to be devastating. The correct Professional Indemnity Insurance is a strategic investment in your business's resilience.

  • Nicholas  Grange-Bennett

    I am surprised at the source of this article. One of my Managing agent clients was sued, by Homelet, for negligence. This was after Homelet had declined a claim, on one of their landlord's Rental Warranty products. This erroneous declinature was subsequently over ruled by the FCA and Homelet ended up having to pay the Landlord. They then proceeded to pursue my client for negligence. Accordingly i advise my client how to defend the claim and, eventually, they realised the futility of their arguments. Other than this the article stands up to scrutiny.


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