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    • ssm90
    • By ssm90 15th Sep 18, 10:57 AM
    • 19Posts
    • 4Thanks
    ssm90
    No contents insurance, new flat - please help
    • #1
    • 15th Sep 18, 10:57 AM
    No contents insurance, new flat - please help 15th Sep 18 at 10:57 AM
    Good Morning all,

    I am a first time buyer and recently purchased a flat in a block of flats. The flat was bought for cash by my parents but I live there, so there is no mortgage etc.

    I've been here 2 months and have had a letter through the door saying the flat below is water damaged due to a leak from my flat. The leak isn't plumbing, rather it is through a crack in the tiles in the shower so the water gets behind the wall and down to the flat.

    When I moved into the flat, the estate agents, the previous owners nor the surveying company I used highlighted any issues with the flat for leaks or otherwise so I was completely unaware of this until the note was put through my door.

    As I dealt with the whole purchase and I'm a first time buyer, I'm not familiar with all aspects of the purchase. The flat below are wanting to claim new walls for them through my insurance. However, I have now come to realise that the insurance I pay for in my service charge is just buildings insurance and not contents insurance.

    What can I do here?
    Is contents insurance mandatory? Surely if it was, my solicitors would have made me buy it before getting the flat.
    Am I liable for paying for the flat below when really I wasn't even aware of the situation? Since being aware, I have already taken steps to dry out damp.
    I sympathise with the flat below but this is already going to cost me a lot.

    I imagine getting contents insurance today and claiming tomorrow is definitely a no no...

    Thanks for your help!
Page 1
    • societys child
    • By societys child 15th Sep 18, 11:50 AM
    • 5,509 Posts
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    societys child
    • #2
    • 15th Sep 18, 11:50 AM
    • #2
    • 15th Sep 18, 11:50 AM
    Buildings insurance should be in place, which should cover this. Contact the freeholder?

    • ssm90
    • By ssm90 15th Sep 18, 12:02 PM
    • 19 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    ssm90
    • #3
    • 15th Sep 18, 12:02 PM
    • #3
    • 15th Sep 18, 12:02 PM
    Hi Society,

    Thanks for your reply. Sorry I don't mean to question you but is that definitely right? I've come across conflicting information on this and I wan't to make sure before I respond back to them.

    They're claiming that I can claim a new bathroom through the insurance as well but my understanding is that the buildings insurance only covers external parts of the building and communal areas and not items within the flat.
    • societys child
    • By societys child 15th Sep 18, 5:49 PM
    • 5,509 Posts
    • 6,153 Thanks
    societys child
    • #4
    • 15th Sep 18, 5:49 PM
    • #4
    • 15th Sep 18, 5:49 PM
    Buildings insurance covers the building, including floors, ceilings, walls, doors, windows and anything else that wouldn't fall out if you tipped the building upside down and shook it (inc. bathrooms)
    Contents insurance covers anything that's removable, personal possessions etc.

    Things like kitchens, bathrooms are not regarded as removable and so are covered by buildings insurance, whereas things such as 3 piece suites etc, are removable and covered under contents insurance.


    The insurance you're paying for in the service charge should cover leaks etc, have you not been given a copy of the policy?
    Last edited by societys child; 15-09-2018 at 6:00 PM.

    • Aretnap
    • By Aretnap 15th Sep 18, 6:26 PM
    • 3,031 Posts
    • 2,553 Thanks
    Aretnap
    • #5
    • 15th Sep 18, 6:26 PM
    • #5
    • 15th Sep 18, 6:26 PM
    Your insurance, whether for buildings or contents, will not generally cover damage to your neighbour's property - it's there to protect you, not to protect him.


    The exception to this rule is where you are legally liable for damage to your neighbour's property, in which case it would be covered under the liability section of the policy (again - it's protecting you rather than the neighbour). However generally speaking you are only legally liable for damage if it results from your negligence, ie if you failed to take the care that would be expected of a reasonable person. The mere fact that the leak came from your flat doesn't mean that you were negligent - it would be a different story if you were aware of the leak and did nothing to fix it.



    Your neighbour's first port of call should be his own buildings insurance (either his own policy, or the one arranged through the management company).


    As an aside contents insurance is not compulsory, but it is cheap (probably less than a hundred quid a year for a flat, depending on your area) and is probably a good idea.
    • Tigsteroonie
    • By Tigsteroonie 15th Sep 18, 6:31 PM
    • 22,973 Posts
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    Tigsteroonie
    • #6
    • 15th Sep 18, 6:31 PM
    • #6
    • 15th Sep 18, 6:31 PM
    Your neighbour's first port of call should be his own buildings insurance (either his own policy, or the one arranged through the management company).
    Originally posted by Aretnap
    This ^^. His insurance will then liaise with yours if they think you are liable. As this is a buildings, not contents, matter and it sounds as though you have a communal buildings policy, it could all be very easy for his insurance to sort out.
    Mrs Marleyboy

    MSE: many of the benefits of a helpful family, without disadvantages like having to compete for the tv remote

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    • Chickenlips
    • By Chickenlips 23rd Sep 18, 9:19 PM
    • 76 Posts
    • 43 Thanks
    Chickenlips
    • #7
    • 23rd Sep 18, 9:19 PM
    • #7
    • 23rd Sep 18, 9:19 PM
    Check the terms of your lease to see what you are responsible to insure. Then check the policy for the buildings.

    The claim will be a buildings claim. Provided the lease doesn't state that the flat below has to insure everything in their flat (buildings) bar the bricks, they should be able to claim through the policy provided there is no exclusion for the type of escape of water claim they have suffered.

    The water will be migrating from the crack in the tile in to your neighbours flat. The damage should be minimal. If it isn't, insurers may argue that they did not take reasonable care as it would have been noticeable sooner.

    If they are expecting a new bathroom, they may want to lower their expectations. The policy will state what it covers: it is unlikely to replace the suite. Insurers would have a hard time believing a toilet, sink, bath, and/or shower were damaged by water.

    It'll likely be a replacement of plasterboard in both flats, replacement woodwork (if damaged), and replacement tiles if the affected wall is tiled. If the policy does not cover matching items, the insured will only have to pay 50% towards the undamaged tiles. The policy for buildings will likely be a commercial policy, meaning the terms are more strict and there will be far more exclusions.
    • Kynthia
    • By Kynthia 24th Sep 18, 8:58 AM
    • 5,343 Posts
    • 7,445 Thanks
    Kynthia
    • #8
    • 24th Sep 18, 8:58 AM
    • #8
    • 24th Sep 18, 8:58 AM
    In England flats tend to have one building insurer arranged by the freeholder, although not always. This is helpful as what affects one flat tends to affect others, so it stops multiple insurers being involved or arguing responsibility. Liaise with the freeholder who will contact the building insurer but check your lease incase your building is an exception in any way.
    Don't listen to me, I'm no expert!
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