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Landlords liability if property is unsafe

DS lives in a rented flat where the roof has leaked for 6 months damaging part of the ceiling.  After repeatedly reporting it and eventually getting the council involved a builder has been out and said the chimney is unsafe.  There are plans to take down the chimney and scaffolding has been put up but work is moving slowly.

DSs flat is on the top floor of the four storey property.  His bedroom and bed are next to the chimney breast.  The builder even suggested that it might be an idea to not sleep on the side of the bed next to the wall until the chimney is made safe.

DS does not have contents insurance as he lives with a friend rather than family member or partner and found it difficult to get a quote for shared insurance.  We are trying to help him with this.

I believe that the landlords insurance only covers damage to the building.  Does anyone know if this still the case if the property is in a poor state of repair and the landlord has been slow to resolve this?  Would DS have any rights to claim if the ceiling came down and damaged his belongings? 


  • GDB2222
    GDB2222 Posts: 24,328
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary
    The builder should have liability insurance. 
    No reliance should be placed on the above! Absolutely none, do you hear?
  • user1977
    user1977 Posts: 13,297
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    If it’s really that hazardous he ought to be asking the council building control dept to have a look - they can order repairs (or organise it themselves in an emergency).

    contents insurers will ask whether the property is currently in good repair, which it obviously isn’t. So no, he can’t now arrange insurance when there’s already a likely problem.
  • Mr.Generous
    Mr.Generous Posts: 3,260
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    Landlord insurance covers the building but can also include the landlords contents. The landlord would be liable for any damage, but if I thought a chimney was going to collapse I'd be more worried about injury or death than my belongings.
    YORKSHIRELASS Posts: 6,251
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    Thanks that is helpful.  Obviously DSs safety is our main concern but he doesn't have many options, we are too far away for him to stay with us while this gets sorted out and needs to be able to get to work.

    The City council have been very good and I think if it wasn't for them nothing would have been done. 
  • propertyrental
    propertyrental Posts: 2,182
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    Since the council are involved, go back to them and ask if it is safe to remain there during the works.

    If yes, stop worrying.
    If no, the LL will have to temporarily re-house DS. His insurance should cover that.
  • theartfullodger
    theartfullodger Posts: 14,366
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post
    There are more than a hundred Acts or regulations a landlord is liable to.  
    So in answer to your question, it's complicated...
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