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August 2018 – Renters Insurance

Only 41 Percent Of Renters Carry Renters Insurance

Only 41 percent of renters carry renters insurance, a substantial difference from 95 percent of homeowners who carry homeowner’s insurance policies, according to a new poll from the Insurance Information Institute.

The number of renters has reached a near all-time high of 43 million according to the current population survey/housing vacancy survey at the U.S. Census Bureau.

“Many renters underestimate both the value and affordability of renters insurance,”  Mendi Riddle, vice president of product and pricing for Nationwide’s personal lines, said in a release.

“Not only does renters insurance provide coverage for belongings inside the residence should those items be stolen, destroyed or damaged, but the coverage may also extend to personal items renters keep inside their vehicle. Additionally, renters insurance helps pay for covered damage or bodily injury to others caused by an accident that may occur at their residence,” she said in the release.

3 myths about renters insurance

  • Myth: A landlord’s insurance policy will cover a renter’s personal belongings in the event of fire or theft.
    Truth: While a landlord’s insurance policy will likely cover the dwelling and infrastructure of that dwelling, that coverage typically does not extend to the possessions owned by the renter.
  • Myth: Renters insurance is expensive.
    Truth: On average, renters insurance costs less than $20 per month.
  • Myth: Renters insurance coverage is limited.
    Truth: A renters insurance policy typically provides coverage for the loss or destruction of personal belongings in the event of a covered peril.

What a renters insurance policy typically covers

  • Theft
  • Fire
  • Lightning
  • Windstorm
  • Hail
  • Frozen plumbing system
  • Vandalism

Renters insurance may also provide coverage if:

  • A renter is forced to temporarily move out of their home due to a covered loss.
  • A person is injured in the renter’s apartment or home and requires medical attention.
  • Items a renter keeps inside their vehicle are damaged or lost.

Based on Nationwide claims data, the following were the most common renters insurance claims submitted by its members in 2017:

  • Theft (from dwelling or vehicle)
  • Water damage (non-weather related)
  • Fire and smoke damage
  • Liability
  • Wind related

“Having to replace possessions such as clothing, furniture and electronics can be very expensive should they be suddenly lost due to a fire or other tragic event,” Riddle said in the relase.

“Renters insurance provides peace of mind allowing renters to keep their lives on track should a major setback occur.”

Expenditures homeowners and renters insurance

The average homeowners insurance premium rose by 3.6 percent in 2015, following a 3.3 percent increase in 2014, according to a January 2018 study by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. The average renters insurance premium fell by 1.1 percent in 2015 after rising 1.1 percent in 2014, according to the Insurance Information Institute which provided the comparison.

About Nationwide
Nationwide, a Fortune 100 company based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest and strongest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the U.S. and is rated A+ by both A.M. Best and Standard & Poor’s. The company provides a full range of insurance and financial services, including auto, commercial, homeowners, farm and life insurance; public and private sector retirement plans, annuities and mutual funds; banking and mortgages; excess & surplus, specialty and surety; pet, motorcycle and boat insurance. For more information, visit www.nationwide.com.

 

Article from: Rental Housing Journal, August 2018

July 2018 – New Tenant Source of Income Law

Tenants: New Legal Protection from Discrimination Based on Source of Income

 

Publication Provided by: Northwest Justice Project – June 2018

 

Intro

A new state law effective September 30, 2018 makes it illegal for landlords in Washington state to discriminate against tenants and would-be tenants based on their source of income.

 

What does “source of income” mean?

It includes:
  • Federal, state, and local public benefits, such as Social Security, Veteran’s benefits, retirement, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) or Aged, Blind and Disabled (ABD)
  • Rent subsidies from federal, state or local housing programs, such as the Section 8 voucher program, Share Aspire or Housing and Essential Needs (HEN)
  • Short-term rental assistance, for example from organizations like Catholic Community Services or Lutheran Community Services

 

I am looking for a place to rent. How does the new law protect me?  

A landlord cannot
  • Refuse to rent to you because of the source of your income.
  • Cannot charge you more rent than someone who does not get benefits.
  • Tell you the unit is not available when it is.
  • Advertise a property for rent only for tenants with certain types of income.

 

I am already renting a place. I just started getting public benefits. Does the new law protect me?

Yes. Your landlord cannot
  • End your lease or evict you just because you now get benefits.
  • Treat you differently than any tenant who does not get benefits, just because you are now getting benefits.

 

Does the new law apply to all landlords?

Starting September 30, 2018, it applies to all landlords as defined by the state Residential Landlord Tenant Act (RLTA). It does not apply in situations such as
  • Farmworkers living in employer-provided housing
  • People getting housing in exchange for work
  • People living in hotels or motels
See RCW 59.18.040 for the full list.

 

Can a landlord still turn down my application for other reasons?

Yes. The landlord can refuse to rent to you if all of these are true:
  • The property must pass inspection for you to keep your rental assistance.
  • It will cost more than $1,500 to make sure the property will pass that inspection.
  • The landlord cannot get the money to make the improvements.
*Tenant Screening: Your Rights has more about your rights when applying for a rental.

 

I have a section 8 voucher. I am applying for an apartment after September 30, 2018. The landlord requires me to have income two or three times more than the rent amount. Does the landlord count just my portion of the rent?

Yes. A landlord who uses the amount of your household income in deciding whether to rent to you can count only the portion of rent you are responsible for in determining if your income is enough.

Example: Jane applies for a unit renting for $1,000/month. Jane’s Section 8 Voucher will cover $600 of the rent.  The landlord requires all tenants to have a monthly income that is twice the rent amount. Before, Jane’s income would have to be $2,000 to qualify for the apartment. Under the new law, the landlord must subtract the voucher amount ($600) from the total rent ($1,000) before calculating if Jane’s income is enough.  In this case, Jane’s portion of the rent is $400. So 2x Jane’s portion of rent = $800.  Jane’s monthly income only needs to be $800 to qualify.

 

I think the landlord denied my rental application because of my income. What can I do?

You can take the landlord to court. If the judge agrees that the landlord illegally discriminated against you because of your source of income, you could win up to four and one-half times the amount of the monthly rent, plus costs and attorneys fees.

 

What else?

The law also offers help to landlords to recover costs for damages to the apartment. If you have a subsidy like Section 8, and your landlord claims you damaged the unit, your landlord may be able to get these damages, up to $5,000, paid for by the state.

 

Can I get legal help?

If you are low-income, you may apply online or call 1-888-201-1014 to speak with a free lawyer or paralegal at CLEAR.

 

Where can I read the law?

 

This publication provides general information concerning your rights and responsibilities. It is not intended as a substitute for specific legal advice.