Landlord Indemnity Insurance

by Readers Question

8:25 AM, 29th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Landlord Indemnity Insurance

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Landlord Indemnity Insurance

I just recently read an article which stated that landlords could be sued by tenants for failing to repair surrounding areas of a property (access to the property, i.e. broken footpath etc.) before it had been reported as an issue by the tenant. This got me thinking as it also stated that common areas in a HMO for example would also fall under such jurisdiction. I know a landlord needs to be responsible and take due care and attention to make sure his property is safe for the tenants but what if an issue occurs between inspections etc.

I quote the article directly ‘

A new Court of Appeal decision has switched the focus on who is responsible for repairs to letting property.

In Edwards v Kumarasamy, the tenant rented a flat in a block from the landlord, and after tripping on a damaged path to the block, made a claim for compensation to the landlord.

The court allowed the appeal, overturning the traditional view of landlords and letting agents that they are only liable to repairs once reported by the tenant and if they are on the land belonging to the landlord.

The judgment extends that liability to any area the landlord has an ‘estate or interest ‘in.

As the paths, gardens, parking and other common areas around a letting property offer access, even if a landlord does not own the freehold, the landlord has an obligation to keep them under repair, the court ruled.

The court also found that as landlords and letting agents do not need permission from tenants to access common areas, the notion that the tenant should report when a repair is needed does not apply to these areas.’

With this in mind it got me thinking if landlords insurance covers such scenarios? If not then what are other landlords doing. Are they obtaining some kind of professional indemnity insurance for landlords?

Appreciate your input.

Cheers
RajLandlords Insurance for HMO's, Student lets and tenants claiming benefits



Comments

Neil Patterson

8:31 AM, 29th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi Raj,

I will get our P118 insurance expert Jason to make his observations for you as well, but this is exactly why everyone needs Landlords Insurance.

I have seen many people say they don't need it because they self insure or that they still have normal home insurance (this will not cover rented property).

If a tenant or someone visiting does injure themselves it is only responsible to make sure you are covered. Plus if you have a BTL mortgage you are in breach of contract without the correct insurance.

Please see our insurance page >> http://www.property118.com/landlords-insurance-landlords-buying-group-2/

It is so cheap to buy these days you can't afford not to have it.

Barbara Gwyer

10:20 AM, 29th May 2015
About 4 years ago

I have to say I was quite shocked by the judge's decision in the Edwards v Kumarasamy case. Obviously if you own a property where it is in the landlord's power to do so then it is the landlord's responsibility to keep outside and common areas under repair, but in a block of flats where service charges are payable then surely it is the freeholders' responsibility.

Some of my properties are ex-local flats, and whilst I can report concerns about the condition of the common areas, one of the London boroughs I deal with in particular is very lax indeed in taking action no matter how many times I draw the particular concern to their attention.

This is especially true if the issue is emanating from someone else's property and that renter/owner has not reported/acknowledged it. An example that comes to mind is when the boiler of a neighbours' flat was constantly dripping and, over time, caused a patch of green slime on the external gangway that my tenants used for access to my flat. This became very slippy when wet and my tenants were concerned. Despite reporting this over and over, nothing was done for almost a year because my neighbour, a social housing tenant, wouldn't accept there was a problem and the council refused to send someone to fix the boiler until that tenant reported it..

So am I correct in my understanding of this that although I have no power whatsoever to make the repair to, say for example, a cracked paving stone,. were my tenants to trip over that paving stone it would be me that is in the firing line rather than the council despite the fact that I might have reported that cracked paving stone over and over again?

Ditto, if my tenants trip because the managing agents have failed to get round to replacing a light bulb in the communal hall of a block despite repeated requests, would that be deemed my responsibility too?

Gary Nock

18:18 PM, 29th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Well on blocks of flats the Freeholder or RTM or RMC insures the block and communal grounds. I remember Mark on a post many months or even years ago saying to take out a miminal contents insurance on flats to get a public liability insurance. So then the two insurance companies have to fight it out to see
who pays up.

Jason McClean

11:09 AM, 1st June 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi Raj

Good landlords insurance will have public liability insurance attached to it so if someone injures themselves while on your property you can claim from the policy, providing you have not been negligent.

Agreed, if it is not your freehold, then the freeholder should have the insurance and responsibility. For in your own property though, you can still get liability cover if you buy a landlord contents insurance policy if you wish.

We will all be asked to check every property daily or hourly soon, otherwise it'll be our fault if anything goes wrong. Makes me wonder how theses decisions can flaunt logic and reasonable common sense so much...

Raj Kirpalani

13:32 PM, 1st June 2015
About 4 years ago

I have Landlords Insurance for all my rentals. I actually phoned my insurance company over the weekend to double check the scenarios that were highlighted in the article. They confirmed what you said Jason.


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