Landlords Liability Insurance – do flat owners need it?

by Readers Question

8:59 AM, 30th November 2012
About 8 years ago

Landlords Liability Insurance – do flat owners need it?

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Landlords Liability Insurance – do flat owners need it?

Landlords liability InsuranceWe have received a “Readers Question” from a landlord called Cissie asking whether her friend ought to purchase landlords liability insurance for his flat even though the freeholder insures the buildings.

Cissie wrote:- 

“Good morning mark,

I was asked by a friend as he has a let flat in a big block which has the building insurance covered by the freehold company included in service charge. He was asking if he needs to buy separate insurance to cover  landlord’s liability as the agent asked him to do so.  I personally haven’t purchased extra insurance for the same situation but I would like to hear your advice on this issue.

Many thanks and best regards

Cissie”

Reply from Mark Alexander

Hi Cissie

This is a very interesting question, thank you for raising it.

It’s not a legal requirement for landlords to purchase landlords liability insurance for flats but I do so myself and strongly recommend it.

Many landlords make the mistake in thinking that the freeholders insurance will cover their landlords liability. This is rarely the case.

We have all seen the adverts from no win no fee claims companies on the TV with slogans such as “if there is blame there is a claim”. Let me give you some examples of what could go wrong.

  • Tenant or even a visitor to the tenants home trips and injures themselves of a carpet you didn’t even know was loose.
  • A contractor falls off his ladder whilst working in the property for you and claims it was due to the wet floor
  • Tenants property is flood or fire damaged and claims that you should pay for alternative accommodation as well as replacing carpets, curtains etc. even though the accident was their fault

The list goes on.

The other thing that landlords rarely consider is the cost of defending claims. You may well have done nothing wrong but if you find yourself on the wrong end of a No Win No Fee lawyer you may well feel the need to get a lawyer of your own. If you have landlords liability insurance you are covered for that. If not, where is the money going to come from to pay for your legal advice?

I always purchase £10,000 of contents cover, even on unfurnished leasehold properties and bolt landlords liability insurance on to that policy. It’s so cheap it’s not worth taking the risk, I’d rather pay the premiums than risk paying the price if a claim ever did arise. I’ve not had a claim in over 20 years of being a landlord but one big accident claim could wipe me out so I’m not about to take the risk.

If you are not aware of the landlords buying group I set up to get a better deal on landlords insurance please check out this article >>> http://www.property118.com/index.php/landlords-buying-group/32083/

Comments

cissie Zheng

19:26 PM, 30th November 2012
About 8 years ago

Mark, thank you very much for your answer and its very helpful.

Cissie

1:59 AM, 1st December 2012
About 8 years ago

I would normally agree completely with the response above but I would say definnitely check your block insurance policy. Recently I reviewed all mine, and in one block discovered that the buildings insurance arrange with the freeholder included subletting and also included property and public liability insurance for the leaseholder. No doubt we are paying extra for this inclusion but it did occur to me that this would be a good addition for those who own just the one property they are renting, and may not have considered landlord insurance. It is also important to know what your block insurance covers you for, as if you buy landlord insurance and you are also covered with the block insurance for the same area of cover, it might make any claim more complicated to resolve as only one will pay out.

Joe Bloggs

10:52 AM, 1st December 2012
About 8 years ago

all the scenarios listed above would have excellent defences to any potential claim. if the carpet defect was not reported/known then the landlord is not liable. the contractors fail was due to contributory negligence, as was the the flood or fire (and alternative accommodation cover is in the building policy, not liability policy!)

cissie Zheng

13:01 PM, 1st December 2012
About 8 years ago

Thanks Yvette, very good suggestion.!

Mark Alexander

15:11 PM, 1st December 2012
About 8 years ago

Exactly the point I was trying to make, who would pay to defend the incoming litigation? I'm sure you can think of other examples where the landlord would have no basis for defence too?

Mark Alexander

16:15 PM, 1st December 2012
About 8 years ago

Hi Yvette

I can see how the freeholder could claim on the Public Liability to defend spurious claims and also where he has no defence but I can't see how you could claim on the freeholders policy where the tenant is litigating against you.

Joe Bloggs

8:51 AM, 4th December 2012
About 8 years ago

personally i would defend such scurrilous claims myself as i hold the legal profession in low regard generally. in fact i have done and when presented with a robust defence it went away. solicitors do have a conflict of interest to drag out rather than strike out. im sure there are better scenarios, but if the management is good these are very rare IMO.

8:46 AM, 4th April 2013
About 8 years ago

I already asked this too to a lawyer friend. Yes, it is not required to get landlords liability insurance but just to get prepared you also have to purchase one for yourself.

Mary Latham

11:01 AM, 5th April 2013
About 8 years ago

I always take out additional landlords cover on my flats and this includes public liability - which in my opinion is THE most important insurance a landlord can have. I pay £53 a year per flat for this cover and I hope I waste every penny but I would not be without it.

An on-going case where a child who visited a tenant fell on a stair case is a lesson to us all. The landlord is being sued for loss of earnings and care for the rest of the poor childs life. The landlord is insured and the Insurance company expect to pay over £100k in legalk fees alone and I don't want to think how many millions for the rest

Follow me on Twitter@landlordtweets

Colin McNulty

15:15 PM, 13th November 2015
About 5 years ago

Having just bought my first flat, it's always nice to search the net for an answer to a question, only to find that property118 has already asked and answered it! Thanks Mark.


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