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    • Pagw
    • By Pagw 16th Apr 18, 9:13 PM
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    Pagw
    Sharing partners/friends and buildings insurance in flats
    • #1
    • 16th Apr 18, 9:13 PM
    Sharing partners/friends and buildings insurance in flats 16th Apr 18 at 9:13 PM
    Hello, I own a leasehold flat and I was checking the block buildings insurance cover. I noticed it had the following term, which I understand to mean that the flat can only be let as an Assured Shorthold Tenancy/Short Assured Tenancy as single units:

    "It is a condition precedent to the liability of the COMPANY that Flats being single self-contained portions of the BUILDINGS occupied solely for residential purposes shall only be let subject to written agreements made on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy or Short Assured Tenancy (Scotland) and where the initial agreement is for a minimum of three months duration".

    My impression is that this is a standard clause to have in block insurance policies.

    This made me wonder what if I would like my partner to move in in future and pay some "rent"? Would that constitute a let that did not satisfy this agreement and invalidated the insurance? But that is surely a fairly common living arrangement nowadays.

    My understanding is that the clause does not allow flat owners to have lodgers. Would having a friend share the flat and pay rent also not be allowed? But then on what legal grounds could letting a non-marital partner stay be fine but not a friend?

    Thanks in advance for helping me figure out where the line gets drawn, and why!
Page 1
    • Pixie5740
    • By Pixie5740 16th Apr 18, 9:26 PM
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    Pixie5740
    • #2
    • 16th Apr 18, 9:26 PM
    • #2
    • 16th Apr 18, 9:26 PM
    If a leaseholder has a lodger then the leaseholder would only be letting a room in the flat not the whole flat itself so it would be fine and not invalidate the insurance policy. However, the leaseholder would need to check the terms of the mortgage to see if lodgers are allowed.
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 16th Apr 18, 9:30 PM
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    davidmcn
    • #3
    • 16th Apr 18, 9:30 PM
    • #3
    • 16th Apr 18, 9:30 PM
    But then on what legal grounds could letting a non-marital partner stay be fine but not a friend?
    Originally posted by Pagw
    Because you don't normally share a bed with your lodger.
    • Pagw
    • By Pagw 17th Apr 18, 8:05 AM
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    Pagw
    • #4
    • 17th Apr 18, 8:05 AM
    • #4
    • 17th Apr 18, 8:05 AM
    Thanks for the replies.

    If a leaseholder has a lodger then the leaseholder would only be letting a room in the flat not the whole flat itself so it would be fine and not invalidate the insurance policy.
    OK, it sounds reasonable, but I feel it's different to what I've read elsewhere, but I can't remember the source now. And yes of course the mortgage agreement would need to be satisfied too.

    Because you don't normally share a bed with your lodger.
    What about romantic partners who don't share a bed (not unheard of e.g. if one has health issues that disturb the other, or if they just prefer it that way)? What about partners you sleep with sometimes, but not always, and otherwise lead separate lives from? There must be some legal precedent to show how the decision gets made.

    It would also seem quite discriminatory against single people not to allow them to share their flat with a friend whilst a romantic partner is fine. But then again discrimination against single people is quite common anyway...

    I'm just wondering now basically if I could ever have a friend come and live with me, if I wanted to.
    • Pixie5740
    • By Pixie5740 17th Apr 18, 8:14 AM
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    Pixie5740
    • #5
    • 17th Apr 18, 8:14 AM
    • #5
    • 17th Apr 18, 8:14 AM
    Why are you trying to make something very simple so complicated? I can't see any discrimination against single people choosing to live with a friend.

    As for whether you could ever have a friend come to live with you, you will need to read the terms of your lease and the terms of your mortgage neither of which I can read from here.
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 17th Apr 18, 8:49 AM
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    AdrianC
    • #6
    • 17th Apr 18, 8:49 AM
    • #6
    • 17th Apr 18, 8:49 AM
    I read the thread title, and wondered if one of the two questions would be better in the relationships forum.
    • eddddy
    • By eddddy 17th Apr 18, 9:20 AM
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    eddddy
    • #7
    • 17th Apr 18, 9:20 AM
    • #7
    • 17th Apr 18, 9:20 AM
    Is it important to you that you have some formal/legal agreement with your partner before letting them move in?

    Can't they just give you some money as a gift each month, instead of paying you rent?

    It sounds like you're trying to make things unnecessarily complex.
    • Pagw
    • By Pagw 17th Apr 18, 1:00 PM
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    Pagw
    • #8
    • 17th Apr 18, 1:00 PM
    • #8
    • 17th Apr 18, 1:00 PM
    I agree that it should seem simple - it would seem unreasonable for anyone to object to you having a partner live with you and pay some rent. But that doesn't mean an insurance company wouldn't object if it meant they could avoid paying out - it's not uncommon for people to be caught out by clauses in policies. If cohabiting with a partner is fine, they are probably more likely to object to you having a lodger. If Pixie5740 is right, then there is no problem. But here's one site that says taking a lodger can invalidate home insurance, for example, and I guess the same could apply to flats' building insurance. But there seems to be a whole continuum in between a partner and a lodger, from someone you've met a couple of times who needs a place to stay for a while to your best friend for the past 10 years, and I'm just wondering when is the line probably crossed from the legal point of view? I don't want to do something that I think is reasonable and then find myself in legal trouble later.

    If couples can cohabit but not friends, I meant this seemed discriminatory in the sense that single people would then be forced to buy whole flats alone without being able to rent out any part, so their accommodation expense is higher per person than for the couple (unless they were willing to share a mortgage with a friend, which won't be that often). This seems unfair, but that doesn't mean it's not the legal situation with regard to these insurance policies. I just wondered if it's possible to say for definite, and if so is there a precise definition somewhere of what's OK?

    I asked first about only the insurance to try and keep it simple. My lease says the flat should be used as "a private residence in single occupation", and none of those terms are precisely defined as far as I can see. I've read elsewhere that freeholders have used such clauses to tell leaseholders they can't have a lodger, but I don't know if that is actually legally justified. If anyone knows where the line is normally drawn with regard to the continuum above, then it would be interesting to know.

    I'm fortunately mortgage-free so I can't give an example of how a relevant mortgage clause might look. I was thinking in general terms when I said "the mortgage agreement would need to be satisfied too".

    I thought that extracting some clarity on these questions could be generally helpful for people who own flats and have space for another person. If the situation is just that it's legally murky, then so be it, but I thought someone here might know with more certainty.
    Last edited by Pagw; 17-04-2018 at 1:10 PM.
    • hazyjo
    • By hazyjo 17th Apr 18, 1:47 PM
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    hazyjo
    • #9
    • 17th Apr 18, 1:47 PM
    • #9
    • 17th Apr 18, 1:47 PM

    If couples can cohabit but not friends, I meant this seemed discriminatory in the sense that single people would then be forced to buy whole flats alone without being able to rent out any part, so their accommodation expense is higher per person than for the couple (unless they were willing to share a mortgage with a friend, which won't be that often). This seems unfair...
    Originally posted by Pagw
    Presumably they'll take money from their partner towards bills, etc (not usually the mortgage). If they rented a room out, it would probably be a similar amount anyway.


    If they have a 2+ bed flat, they can still rent out a room. Or are you saying couples can't rent out rooms, only single people?


    If it's a one bed flat, they'd not be renting out a second room anyway... Can't see how it's discriminatory - unless you're discriminating against couples renting out a spare room?
    2018 wins: Single Malt Whisky; theatre tickets; festival tickets; year of gin!
    • Pagw
    • By Pagw 19th Apr 18, 7:51 PM
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    Pagw
    Well the point I was getting at was that there's not a clear legal distinction to me between letting a lodger or friend pay rent to stay in your flat and letting a cohabiting non-married partner stay. So if letting a room to a lodger can void home insurance (see the link in my post above), why wouldn't having a cohabiting partner staying and paying rent do so too? Would there be differences between how a court treats someone who is denied an insurance claim on the basis that they had a partner, friend or lodger paying rent to them, and what would the legal basis for any difference be? It seems quite important to me to understand the legal situation, as many people could have such living arrangements without updating their insurance.
    • mrsammyp
    • By mrsammyp 19th Apr 18, 8:48 PM
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    mrsammyp
    Id certainly be challenging this clause with whoever arranges the building insurance, its not standard and I wouldnt want it on my policy.

    You cant control what the other leaseholders do; if they rented out to an AirBnb and the tenant burnt the block down, insurers could refuse the whole claim.
    • Pixie5740
    • By Pixie5740 19th Apr 18, 8:52 PM
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    Pixie5740
    I cannot see anything that you've copied from the policy that would mean it is invalidated if you let a room in the property to an excluded occupier.
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