Are fitted carpets landlord fitting or content?

by Readers Question

3 months ago

Are fitted carpets landlord fitting or content?

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Are fitted carpets landlord fitting or content?

We’ve just had a neighbour’s drain backup cause flooding in our lower ground floor flat bedroom. Luckily flat is between tenancies.

However, our block of flats landlord insurance company is refusing to cover our fitted carpet replacement, stating it’s content and as such not covered.

Our policy states under covered items: “Wide definition of buildings including: landlords’ fixtures and fittings, outbuildings, roads, garden machinery, garden furniture, trees and plants.” Insurer said if the carpet was glued down, it would be considered a fitting (who glues carpets down?). Out of curiosity, we asked if our wooden floors were covered – answer was yes, because they are “not easy to take up and move elsewhere”.

And a fitted carpet is?

I am not seeing the logic and the agent had a hard time explaining the discrepancy. Does anyone have any similar experience?

Is there any way of challenging this?

It’s in my view very misleading wording in the policy.

Thank you

Gabriela



Comments

Jason McClean

3 months ago

Hi Gabriela

This can vary from insurer to insurer and you need to read the wording to each policy.

However, carpets are generally taken as contents insurance rather than buildings, even if fixed.

Not the answer you may want, sorry!

Jason

AA

3 months ago

Block policies normally cover the building, walls, ceilings, floors, roofs etc.
I have 2 policies on the 1 property for this reason alone. Block policy requirement is in the articles but does not cover my needs.

Ian Narbeth

3 months ago

You might have a claim against your neighbour under Rylands v Fletcher but the cost and hassle of a claim is probably not worth it. However, see if your household insurance includes legal expenses insurance and talk to your broker if you have one.

Ian Cognito

3 months ago

When selling a property, fitted carpets are no more likely to be removed than hard flooring or a fitted kitchen. As such, I would expect fitted carpets to be covered under buildings insurance unless explicitly excluded.

But that's just my opinion.

Jerry Stone

3 months ago

Just had the same experience. Interestingly however laminate flooring is no and is classified as part of the building.

Howard Michaels

3 months ago

Gabriella
There are several factors. First do you have contents insurance for the flat? If so the damage will be covered by that. Second, if it was a drain, who was responsible for keeping it clear? If it was the block landlord it should be covered under the landlord insurance Third Party section OR it might fall under the managing agents Professional Indemnity Cover. If it is a drain that only serves your neighbour's flat, then if they have insurance separate from the block insurance [ie contents cover] it is likely their insurance will cover for Third Party liability.

AA

3 months ago

Why are you claiming ? Your insurance premium is going to increase for the next 5-10 years.

Paul Fay

3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Ian Narbeth at 16/03/2018 - 10:13
@ Ian Narbeth
There is no liability on the 3rd party unless they have been negligent in some way or there are unreasonable repeat occurrences.

Clint

3 months ago

I have come across this claim several times with different insurance companies.

It is accepted in terms of insurance that if the carpet is stuck down it is part of the building however, if it is fitted, it is part of the contents.

I think this is due to the case in the past in the 1970s and before when people sold properties they generally sold them without the carpets and generally negotiated the price of the carpets although, very few actually took away the carpets.

These days, you will find there are two types of carpets the felt backed ones and the hessian backed ones.

The felt backed ones are generally stuck down and widely used these days especially in rented properties as it is very cheap in comparison to the hessian ones which requires to be fitted and can be quite expensive.

I would argue the point with your insurance company that the carpets in question i.e. the fitted ones are part of the building and not contents as no one takes it away to fit in another property and raise this as a complaint if they are insisting that it is contents and continue by asking for a final decision.

After you get a final decision, you can take it to the financial ombudsman where an adjudicator will look at it and make a decision. The insurance company will then be bound by the decision and if lucky, you may have the carpets covered.

Referring to the ombudsman does not cost you anything so worth a try. Doing all this by email is all quite simple and should not take much time.

I was successful with an insurance company once by just asking them for a final decision where they knew that the complaint was going to go to the ombudsman and at that point agreed to pay for the carpet as often, besides the cost of the carpet, they have to pay compensation.

Hope the above is of help.

GabS

3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Howard Michaels at 16/03/2018 - 17:39
Thank you all for your comments. Howard Michaels, my husband and I own the block (5 flats) and have a block & landlord insurance package. We don’t have content insurance as flats are let unfurnished and when I specifically asked about flooring and kitchens etc being insured when we took out our policy, I was told yes. This is a couple of years ago and sadly I can’t prove what I was told. The policy wording isn’t specific enough to include fitted carpets, but nor does it specifically exclude them. The drain is owned and serves our neighbour only.

Someone asked about why we are claiming. The repairs will cost over a thousand pounds, one wall was soaked and plaster needed chipping off etc etc. The damage is extensive. Surely that’s what insurance is for.

The neighbour’s drain manhole is in the very corner of his garden and adjacent to our basement flat. Once the water company pumped out all the mess that was up to the brim, we discovered a hole in the side which explains the ingress into our walls. He said he’s had problems before with drains backing up. He promised to fix the manhole, but essentially we have little control of what or how he does it.
Any tips if there is anything further we can do at this stage to protect our building in the future?

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