Is the insurance valid?

Is the insurance valid?

10:44 AM, 9th March 2021, About 5 months ago 13

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I own a first-floor leasehold flat in a converted detached building containing 2 x 2-bed s/c flats. The freeholder owns and lets the ground floor flat and is responsible for the Buildings Insurance for which I am obliged to pay 50%

For the past 20 years, I have had issues with the Insurance (the first 13 years the building was insured as a 4 bedroom detached house) – The building was originally built as a shop with accommodation on the first floor.

Other than the freeholders own assurances that the Building is correctly Insured, the policies I have been able to see do not mention Freehold/Landlord Insurance

Can anyone tell me if there is a specific type of Insurance the freeholder should provide as I am concerned that the policy has not been valid?

The policy appears to be a standard domestic residential policy.

Many thanks

Terri



Comments

by Jason McClean

11:03 AM, 9th March 2021, About 5 months ago

Hi Terri

It sounds like a detached house converted into a block of flats.

The freeholder would normally insure this as a block of flats. That is a specific policy that recognises the two addresses and offers benefits such as contents in common cover.

Normally a standard home insurance policy would not be applicable. Indeed, if ever a claim is made and the property has not been disclosed correctly, then you may expect the claim to be declined - that could be financially ruinous for you and the freeholder.

Block of Flats Insurance is not something to fear. It will cost more than the cheap standard home insurance policies, but usually not by much and having the correct cover in place is vital.

If we can help any further, do call on 01832-735388 and ask for Jason, happy to assist however I can.

by Steve Collier

11:51 AM, 9th March 2021, About 5 months ago

As Jason says the policy should be specific for a block so that it protects both the freeholder and leaseholder. However, the law was changed in 2002 so that the leaseholder could elect to look after the insurance themselves by lodging a simple notice to the freeholder. The insurance still has to be specific to protect both sides, but in my experience policies can be much cheaper than the freeholder gets, as they commonly get commission for arranging it, which increases the cost. See the attached link to the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 which explains it and gives the notice pro forma.

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2002/15/section/164/notes#:~:text=Section%20164%20provides%20new%20rights,provided%20certain%20conditions%20are%20met

Hope that helps !

Steve

by Lindsay Keith

11:54 AM, 9th March 2021, About 5 months ago

Follow Jason's excellent advice.

Do you know who are the building insurers? If so, contact them preferably in writing so everything is recorded. Explain who you are and that you are paying half the premium to their insured freeholder customer. Ask for confirmation that the correct insurance is in place. Ask for your 'interest' to be noted on the policy. Ask for a copy of the policy and full wording. If you are not trained in contractual 'small print', I would suggest you take legal advice to confirm all is correct and that your interest is fully covered. It may be well worth the fee! Don't forget, if everything goes horribly wrong and the solicitor failed to spot any problems (gave negligent advice), you have the added protection of their compulsory professional indemnity insurance.

by DGM

13:22 PM, 9th March 2021, About 5 months ago

Hi Terri
Yes you need specific Freeholder insurance that your landlord should supply, it isn't that expensive actually. I bought the freehold of the converted flats - I own one and now charge this across the 3 flats and service charge for common parts electric etc. I send them a copy of the insurance each year as proof.

I have a query though regarding this, does the freeholder legally have to insure the building and if they do, how to prove?

I have 2 flats in a converted block of four and the freeholder does no maintenance and expects me to do it, which I do if it materially affects my tenants.

I have asked for copies of insurance repeatedly and get ignored and they will not discuss, only for them to say you haven't paid service charge for years - they do no maintenance, how is a service charge due. The main issue there is they have not sent me any bills despite me asking, I agree I owe the Ground rent, when I ask them, I am again talking to a different Ltd company owned by the freeholder (No. 3 now). How do find out if the building is insured.

Am I better to insure each flat individually or can I do some sort of insurance as I own two out of the four in the converted block?

by

13:58 PM, 9th March 2021, About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Jason McClean at 09/03/2021 - 11:03
Thank you for the information. The property was originally a shop with first floor accommodation, converted to 2 X s/c flats in mid 1980s. There are no shared internal spaces. On several occasions in the past, the building has been insured as a detached 4 bed house. When I questioned this, the freeholder assured me that the building was correctly insured. I have only had two opportunities to have sight of the 'Statement of Facts' supplied to the Insurers, on both occasions the information was incorrect as the information only applied to the ground floor, owned by the freeholder. I was effectively 'airbrushed' out of the property! I have requested a copy of the full policy + Statement of Facts before I pay my 50% of the premium for this year and think I will ask my solicitor to look through it to put my mind at rest. This, unfortunately is not the only area of concern I have with my freeholder and have issues with the accounts, maintenance and my rights to parking. I have never received a summary of my rights and responsibilities in the 20 years I have held my lease!

by

14:00 PM, 9th March 2021, About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Lindsay Keith at 09/03/2021 - 11:54
Thank you for advice. I have tried contacting the Insurers, but as the policy is not in my name, they could not help me

by Puzzler

16:22 PM, 9th March 2021, About 5 months ago

"Leaseholders are entitled under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 for information about buildings insurance. A leaseholder may write at any time to the Freeholder or Managing Agent for information about the insurance.

The leaseholder may request either:

a summary of the insurance policy including the name of the insurer, the sum insured and the insured risks.
to go to the office of the Freeholder or Managing Agent and inspect the policy and related documents including proof of payment and to take copies
copies of the policy and related documents to be sent to the leaseholder or be made available for collection
For any of these written requests the Freeholder or Managing Agent has 21 days from receipt of the letter to comply. The agent can charge for copies but not for inspecting.

Where a Freeholder or Managing Agent fails without reasonable excuse to comply with either a request for insurance details or to inspect or have copies of the relevant policy or associated documents, they commit a summary offence and are liable for a fine of up to £2,500 (level 4 on the standard scale) on conviction. Any prosecution must be presented to a magistrate within 6 months of the commission of the offence."

You can also challenge for reasonableness at the FTT under S19(1) of the LTA 1985

by terry sullivan

19:27 PM, 9th March 2021, About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Terri at 09/03/2021 - 14:00
they can help you--gdpr does not preclude--try ico?

by DGM

22:04 PM, 9th March 2021, About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Puzzler at 09/03/2021 - 16:22
So if the freeholder fails to provide (which he will) how do I sue as you say a magistrate, which is criminal as opposed to County Court which is Civil, How do I bring about a criminal magistrate case against the freeholder, I thought only Councils and Police can do this

by terry sullivan

23:22 PM, 9th March 2021, About 5 months ago

go to mag court and speak to duty solicitor--may be helpful

i used it to issue against travellers on land causing nuisance--no cost to me--and local council took over

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