Covid-19 Response

We appreciate that our landlord customers may be feeling unsettled during this time.

Through the COVID-19 Protection Framework (traffic lights) the purpose of this page is to:

  • Assure you that it’s business as usual for initio. Our fully digital website and platform will run as normal. You can do everything online including making policy changes, adding new cover, and lodging claims.
  • Let you know that we’re here to help. Depending on the traffic light, our team may be working remotely, but this does not affect our ability to assist you.
  • Provide clarity on how Covid-19 affects your house insurance cover.

Property Inspections (Landlords)  Loss of Rental Income (Landlords)   Common Questions

Property inspections (Landlords)

Property inspections to continue 

The Government has advised that inspections are possible at all traffic light colours. Inspections can be carried out in person with contract tracing records; physical distancing and masks are recommended.

However, if a tenant is unwell or self isolating in the rental property, you should:

  • Contact the tenant by phone-call or email leading up to the scheduled inspection, and
  • defer the inspection until the tenant is well.

You and your tenants health is an absolute priority. If you’re concerned then do not risk your safety or that of others.

See our FAQ’s for tips on how you can still keep any eye on your property.

Background: Property Inspections & Insurance  

Our landlord insurance policy provides a ‘Landlords Protection’ benefit which covers deliberate damage by tenants, meth contamination and loss of rents.

A condition of this cover is that you meet the ‘Landlord Obligations’. These include three-monthly  inspections (or four-monthly for NZPIF members).

We are taking a pragmatic approach. If a landlord or their property manager cannot perform an inspection because of Government restrictions, or it’s unsafe to do so, then the inspection should be deferred.

We are here to pay claims. Please be rest assured that if there’s a pattern of property inspections leading up to the deferment and a claim later arises (e.g. for tenant damage), we will honour the  claim – provided other policy conditions are met.

Last updated: 8 December 2021

Loss of Rental Income (Landlords)

Landlord insurance policies like ours include cover for a specific amount of Loss of Rent cover. For example, $20,000 loss of rents for up to 12 months.

Please note this cover is only triggered by a physical loss to the house that means it can no longer be rented (e.g. a large fire). It is designed to cover the rent you would have otherwise received while your house is rebuilt or repaired.

Covid-19 does not cause any physical damage, so loss of rents cover does not apply (even if the effects of Covid-19 have reduced our rental income).

What about non payment of rent, am I covered?

Our landlord insurance cover includes an additional benefit for:

  • Loss of rent following tenant vacating without giving the required notice
    Up to 6 weeks rent, less any amount recoverable by you from rent you received in advance.
  • Loss of rent following tenant eviction for non-payment of rent
    Up to 6 weeks rent, less any amount recoverable by you from rent you received in advance.

We realise that it may be impractical (and socially discouraged) to work through an eviction process with tenants during these tough times. We strongly encourage landlords to communicate with tenants who are suffering difficulties, and continue to get advice from property managers, your local Property Investors Association, or Tenancy Services

I couldn’t get tenants into my property because of the lockdown?

You may have lost rent because of the unfortunate timing of a lockdown. The two common scenarios are:

  • No tenant arranged to move in: Your previous tenants moved out before a lockdown and you were unable to have it re-tenanted during a lockdown.

If you did not have signed tenancy agreement ready, there unfortunately is no cover. The prevention of access (caused by lockdown) has not caused your tenants to stop paying rent – as there are was not actual tenant arranged to move into the property.

  • Tenant was confirmed to move in: You had tenants due to move in during a lockdown period, but they were unable to because of restrictions, and had to stay in their exiting house.

These tenants won’t want to pay rent at two houses, and you’ll likely be out of pocket for the rent you were expecting.

In this circumstance it’s likely the prevention of access clause will provide cover.  Each situation is different and we encourage you to contact us for advice or make a claim through your dashboard so that we can consider cover.

What if I own an Airbnb type property?

If you own an Airbnb or Bookabach style property for short stay guests, please see our blog.

Forfurther general information about loss of rents, please see our loss of rents guide.

Last updated: 22 September 2021 

Tenancy Services Covid Page has some useful information for Landlords.

Common Covid-19 Insurance Questions

Short answer is no. The loss of rents cover needs to be triggered by physical damage to the property, e.g. a fire or flood.

However, if you evict your tenant due to non-payment of rent, or if your tenant departs without notice there is six weeks of rents cover under the initio policy. The excess does not apply to this cover. See the landlord policy wording for full details of cover.

Unfortunately the loss of rents (income) cover needs to be triggered by physical damage to the property.

We have a ‘short term guests’ blog specifically about income losses from Covid-19. Learn more here.

Unfortunately, no. The alternative accommodation cover is for when your home has suffered physical damage (e.g. a fire), and you can no longer safely live in the property.

No, your initio house insurance policy will respond as usual. There is no cover related to Covid-19, and Covid-19 does not deplete any existing cover.

No, we do not consider there to by any physical damage to the property, it simply requires a clean.  Unfortunately you will have to wear this cost yourself.

No, a house insurance policy is not a medical or income protection policy.

New Zealand has a robust and free healthcare system, please seek medical advice if you have symptoms.

Learn more from the Ministry of Health.

It does not appear that there is support for landlords who suffer rental income losses. However, there does appear to be support for tenants who have to take leave or self isolate.

Learn more here.

Yes. Refer to the top of this information page for full details.

We realise that many landlords want to continue to keep an eye on their properties.

Here are a few ways you could still find out what’s happening at your property:

  1. Have an open line of communication with your tenant. Ask them questions about the property
  2. Ask if there is any maintenance.
  3. Video call your tenant and do a walk through with them.
  4. Inspect the outside of the property, or do a drive-by.
  5. Arrange to inspect the property when the tenant is not home (this may not be feasible).