Advice needed re insurance cover and freehold managing agents

by Readers Question

15:45 PM, 8th April 2013
About 6 years ago

Advice needed re insurance cover and freehold managing agents

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Advice needed re insurance cover and freehold managing agents

Advice needed re insurance cover and freehold managing agentsThere is a leak in my ground floor 2 bed flat which is in a block of 17 flats.

The water is emanating from under the floor and I have duly contacted the Insurance providers who are arranging for loss adjustors to diagnose the cause of the leak.

The insurers have advised me that costs in respect of the repair to the cause of the water damage are not covered under this policy.

On speaking with the managing agents I am being told that the cause is most likely from one of my pipes in the screed of the floor and is my responsibility.

Is this indeed the case? as other landlords are suggesting it is why I pay service charges and ground rent and is the freeholders responsibilty. Has anyone out there had a similar scenario?

All advice would be most welcome.

Thanks

Simon Buksh



Comments

Annette Stone

16:08 PM, 8th April 2013
About 6 years ago

The position is that whilst damage resulting from an insured risk is normally covered under the terms of the insurance policy the actual repair i.e. to a damaged pipe is not covered. Therefore, if there is a leak from an upstairs washing machine any residual damage to your flat would be covered but any repair to the actual plumbing would be the responsibility of the owner of the upstairs flat.

Where damage results as a result of a communal problem ie a communal pipe then the service charges paid for the actual repair and the insurance pays for any residual damage to flats and/or communal areas

Where damage is caused by a heating or water pipe serving only your flat then the flat owner is responsible for the actual repair and insurance should pick up the cost of any residual damage.

Where a buildings' insurance policy has a "trace and access" clause then the cost of tracing any leak (ie where floors have to be dug up) should also be covered by insurers up to the limit of the trace and access cover but you will still need to pay for the actual repair/replacement of pipes whatever the cost.

The freeholder's obligations and the lessees' responsibility to pay for repairs only extends to communal issues which should be covered by the service charges that you pay. If there is a managing agent and you pay service charges then they should have contacted insurers and arranged for a loss adjustor to visit although normally this is done only when a leak is hard to trace unless the terms of the insurance require a loss adjustor to be appointed to deal with every claim.

16:12 PM, 8th April 2013
About 6 years ago

To determine the cause you will need a competent person who is a specialist in this area. The managing agent cannot diagnose the problem over the phone so the assumption could be correct or not. If the pipework happened to be communal piping, it would be the responsibility of the managing agent. However a real investigation needs to take place to determine the cause and then you can decide who is responsible. If it was your pipework, it would not be the managing agents role to fix it rather yours. I hope this helps. The managing agent may take the view that if they send a contracter to investigate and it turns out to be your problem, you are liable for the call out costs.

Annette Stone

17:28 PM, 8th April 2013
About 6 years ago

No professional managing agent would refuse to send one of their regular specialist trades people to look at a leak. They would then base their recommendation on whether this was communal issue and the need to involve insurers via a trace and access claim (if the source of the leak was not immediately ascertainable) or whether it was indeed a matter for the lessee of the flat to fix. Either way the end result is the same that insurance covers only the residual damage and any necessary trace and access work (if cover is provided) but the actual repair costs.

The other point, of course, is once insurers are involved although the service charge would pay any excess if the matter is a communal one there might be a liability on the lessee if the matter remained solely within the flat. You would need to take your managing agents view on this point

14:09 PM, 9th April 2013
About 6 years ago

Dear All,

Thank you for your advice and comments - all much appreciated.

Simon

Joe Bloggs

9:14 AM, 12th April 2013
About 6 years ago

READ THE POLICY!!!! there is no substitute for this. this will tell you whether you have trace and access cover and whether this is for all pipes or just communal. the actual cost of repairing the pipe is usually negligible, compared to finding, exposing and reinstating. pipes buried in concrete are bad design. not only have you the problem of access but the cement attacks copper if there is no protection. should have floor ducts instead or surface mounted pipes.


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