9:10 AM, 26th April 2016, About 5 years ago 9
I thought I would share a recent experience. I wrongly assumed that all types of laminate flooring is covered under landlord’s building insurance and that my insurance would cover everything other than the tenants’ contents. Naïve? Probably.
My rental property had a major flood from a leak under the kitchen floor. It has saturated the concrete and ruined the 18 month old Click and Fit laminate floor.
My British Gas Homecare policy was as useful as a chocolate fireguard. Dynoplumbing came out, assessed the situation and said a specialist leak detection engineer was required but that he was on holiday for 11 days and no room in his diary until 3 days after that. The nearest back up was 5 hours away and he was also fully booked. I had to find my own leak detection company the following morning.
The lady handling my claim has told me that Click and Fit is not covered under buildings insurance as it is can be easily taken up and transported – like carpets. It never occurred to me – I saw it as a permanent fixture and filed it under buildings contents without checking. The skirtings have to be removed before the floor will come up so I have argued that it is not easily removed. So far they have not acknowledged my point of view.
They have also said that they will only cover the trace and access of the leak not the actual repair even though it was cheaper to re-run the hot and cold pipework rather than dig up the floor to find the leak which is what we did.
They have not provided a Flood Restoration company who would normally lift the laminate, dry out the concrete properly and issue a certificate to say it was ready for the new flooring. They have told me to find a company myself and they will only cover the cost of the drying out, not the lifting and disposal of the laminate.
The tenants have 2 dogs and could not find temporary accommodation in the area that would take dogs so they had to stay put and use neighbouring washing and laundering facilities for 2 weeks.
I was told by the lady handling my claim that temporary accommodation would not have been covered so we didn’t continue with our search for other accommodation.
I have also been told that they may not cover loss of rent due to the fact that the tenants stayed put which meant the property was habitable! They have asked for a copy of my AST which I supplied but I have heard nothing back.
The tenants pay quarterly and have withheld 2 months of rent (£1500) without prior consultation. Apart from initially being quite rude to my agent who does not handle the maintenance of the property (I had to apologise to the lad in the office), they have been very good in helping to sort out engineer visits and flooring quotes but maybe not £1500 worth of help?? It will likely be 2 months of inconvenience by the time the floor has dried sufficiently for the new laminate to go down. How much would I be expected to give them in compensation and to cover any consequential losses which the insurance company probably won’t cover either?
To top it all, it has turned out that the leak may be down to faulty workmanship and my policy would not apply under those circumstances.
I have contacted the builder who carried out the refurb 18 months ago and he has refused to accept liability or reply to my emails. He did however agree to take the damaged laminate away this weekend after I appealed to his conscience but he only did it because he is a friend of my mother’s and texted to say it was a gesture of goodwill only and he could not accept liability for the leak.
Br Gas are considering paying me the repair part of the bill after I made a complaint under breach of contract. Still waiting to hear – n surprise there.
I didn’t receive a copy of the insurance policy wording with my insurance docs last June so requested it from my broker (who said I had already received it but I have nothing on file). That’s when I learnt last week that loss of rent may not be covered and faulty workmanship wasn’t covered either.
Do I have to tell the insurance company straight away about the possibility of it being faulty workmanship or do I have it out with the builder first?
So far I have paid out £1800 for the re-routing of the pipes and lost £1500 in rent. I have provided a dehumidifier for the tenants and the laminate is going to be around £800 to supply and fit. Skirting removal, refit and redecoration is extra.
I trolled the internet and discover that Loss Adjuster work for the individual as well as the insurance companies but I couldn’t find anyone to take on my case. The insurance company didn’t assigned their own Loss Adjuster and no-one has been out to look at the floor. It has all been done with photographs.
I’m not a professional landlady and am wondering whether investing in property rather than a pension is worth the hassle especially as Clause 24 will also effect me. Feeling quite overwhelmed by the whole thing to be honest and very disheartened by the fight one has with the insurance company at a time when you just need to get things sorted. It’s like a game of sparring until one gives in from the stress and walks away with a bill you shouldn’t in theory have to pay. After all, what is insurance there for?
Any helpful comments to raise my fighting spirit would be much appreciated.
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