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Ask Joshua Your Own Question
Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 25481
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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We live in a house that has been converted into three separate

Resolved Question:

We live in a house that has been converted into three separate flats, one of the flat owners owns the lease and he arranges the building insurance yearly and we then pay our 3rd towards it. The problem is he puts the insurance in his name, we have asked him to advise the insurance company to add our names to the insurance, which they have said is easy to do but be refuses? We now have had a leak in our flat and had to wait two days for him to call them, he now what's to deal with them when it's our property? Can you advise me if he is legally allowed to keep the policy in his name?
Thank you
Sharon kett
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 3 years ago.

Joshua :

Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.

Joshua :

May I clarify who owns the freehold please - is it all three of you or just him?

Customer: He owns the leasehold, we have 75 years left on the lease.
Joshua :

Thanks. Do you know who owns the freehold title - i.e. the title to the building excluding the leasehold interests? This may be all of you jointly or one of you or in deed a third party entirely?

Customer: Yes, we do myself and partner.
Joshua :

Thanks. Are you aware when the insurance requires renewing?

Customer: We have lived in our flat for 25 years, we are lease holders only. David who owns one of the other flats purchased the lease a few years ago for the whole house making him the freeholder.
Customer: It was renewed in July and we paid our 3rd of the costs.
Joshua :

The position is that is is the freeholder(s) that is responsible for insuring the building under the provisions of almost all leases. This being the case here then the insurance should be in the freeholder(s) sole name(s) and not those of the leaseholders. The leaseholders can require the landlord to repair the building and make claims as necessary against the insurance on their behalf.

Joshua :

If the freeholder refuses to play ball then any leaseholder can force his hand if necessary by making an application to the leasehold valuation tribunal

Customer: He is not our landlord? We own our own property so don't think it's unreasonable to ask him to add our names to the policy so any further problems that may arise in the future will at least enable us to discuss problems direct with the insurance company? We don't want to control the policy just have the ability to talk to them at least?
Joshua :

The terms can be a little confusing but if he owns the freehold for the block in which you live as a leaseholder (tenant) the freehold owner is termed your landlord - he is entitled to charge ground rent under the lease (this may be a peppercorn or a minor sum) and charge contributions for maintenance. This is not the same as someone who rents their property - here you own a lease of your property but the terms leaseholder and tenant are used interchangeably as are freeholder and landlord. I hope that makes sense?

Customer: Are we being unreasonable in expecting our names to be added to the policy? When the insurance company would be happy to add it on? What's the point of us paying if we can't talk to anyone, David is often out of the country what are we expected to do then?
Joshua :

It is not unreasonable as a basic request but in law if he is the sole freeholder then reasonable or not he is within his rights to refuse and strictly correct in insisting the policy is in the sole name of the freeholder I regret. However there is nothing stopping him naming you jointly on the policy with him for convenience if you can agree the same on the basis for example of expedience

Customer: Thank you for your help.
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