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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
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Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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I am an owner occupier in a block of flats and a neighbour

Resolved Question:

I am an owner occupier in a block of flats and a neighbour had just told be that the freeholder dropped flood cover from the buildings insurance as of April this year. Because of this the sale of his flat fell through. The managing agent seems unresponsive. What can I do and who should I contact? Our home values should not be able to be artificially deflated this way.
I should not think this way but I suspect foul play as the managing agent has started buying up some of the properties over the last couple of years.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 9 months ago.

Has it been dropped for a reason such as hefty premiums if the property has been flooded before?

Expert:  F E Smith replied 9 months ago.

Has it been dropped for a reason such as hefty premiums if the property has been flooded before?

The landlord will have covenanted in the lease to insure the property for a variety of risks which would usually include flood and would often be put down with words along the lines of “and all risks which a reasonable landlord would insure against”.

Check the wording in the lease which will usually be listed under Landlords Covenants. Once you have that, you then have something positive to approach the landlord with.

Provided this is not been dropped for some reason of extremely expensive premiums perhaps resulting from previous floods, if the property is in a flood prone area, then the landlord is in breach of the covenant to insure. However even if the premiums are really expensive, if there is an actual covenant to insure, he must insure it.

My suggestion would be to get as many leaseholders as you can to write to the landlord threatening a joint action if he refuses to reinstate the flood insurance. Your action would be for an injunction to make him take out flood insurance.

A solicitors letter on behalf of all the leaseholders would carry even more weight.

Can I clarify anything for you?

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Best wishes

FES.

F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 8986
Experience: I have been practising for 30 years.
F E Smith and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
The Landlord's insurance company, RSA, have dropped flood cover across the board on all their policies. We are in a flood risk area according to the Environment Agency but that does not take into account the flood defences of which there are many here in London. There has also not been a flood in this area as far as anyone here of long standing can remember, so no recent event should have triggered this.
The lease covenant states the at all times must be insured against comprehensive risks including fire damage, and all other risks usually described as Property Owners liability and such other risks as the lessor and his Agents may think fit.
I fear many mortgages may have been invalidated as a result of this. I need to check mine without raising alarm. The management company have responded and say they have proposed and alternative policy but are not getting very far.
I will inform as many of the residents (There are 52 flats affected) as I can and see if it is possible to get a coordinated response if the managing agent fails.
The landlord is fully responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the building structure and exterior appearance and I feel he would be in breach of his lease obligations if he were not to provide adequate cover for this.
How long should I give the management company to try and succeed (I assume that they have had 3 months already) before trying to instigate legal action?

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