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Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 26070
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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My mother is a protected tenant and has lived in a flat for

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my mother is a protected tenant and has lived in a flat for 40 years in City of Westminster, London. She is suddenly being asked to pay £600 in building insurance by the landlord. Is she legally required to pay this?
Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practising lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.

May I ask if she is renting from a private landlord please?
If so I assume from the dates you provide that she is a "Rent Act" Regulated Tenant?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Dear *****:

She is renting from a private landlord. She used to have a lease (1968-1988) but it lapsed and she became a protected tenant. On her old lease, she was only required to pay half (i.e. 50%) of the insurance. Is this still valid? Or has the law changed and she is required to pay the full amount?

I called the VOA and they said they thought she shouldn't be charged at all but to check with a lawyer. Hence, this email to AnswerUK.

Many thanks.

Many thanks. Does she have a written tenancy agreement or was nothing ever put in writing following the lapsing of the lease?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Dear *****:

Nothing was ever put in writing following the lapse of the lease. She has been getting a rent assessment and subsequent reduction in quarterly rental from the VOA. In the Rent Officer's last assessment of a Fair Rent in 2014, there is a line which says:

Other terms of tenancy taken into consideration in determining fair rent:

Registered rent does not include Tenant's insurance contribution.

I just looked at the original lease which lists the building insurance as one of the landlord's requirements.

So now I'm not clear as to what her financial obligation is.

thank you. Ordinarily, the landlord is responsible for buildings insurance on his property and the tenant has no responsibility for this. However, your mother's situation is slightly unusual in that she did not enter the property initially as a secure tenants but rather from what you say, began renting the property on a long-term lease. If she did not move out at the end of that lease and then begin letting the property on a new tenancy or alternatively if she and the landlord did not agree a new tenancy following the end of her lease, then the lease simply continues on something known as a periodic tenancy - month to month or year to year - on otherwise the same terms as the original lease.therefore, your mother's problem is that her original lease provides that she is responsible for half of the insurance for the property. Therefore, in the absence of her moving out and re-entering or her negotiating a new tenancy as referred to above, that insurance provision still remains in force and the landlord can demand a 50% contribution towards the insurance costs for the building from her.however, a £600 contribution towards insurance policies seems suspiciously high. the landlord can only claim 50% of the insurance costs and may not make a profit from the insurance contribition. Therefore your mother mayy ask him for a copy of the insurance schedule to confirm the premium and go further and ask him for confirmation from the broker or insurer that the landlord did not receive any commission or other incentive for taking out the policy.Even where this was not the case if she can show that the policy is significantly above normal market costs for insurance for that building she can seek to restrict the landlord to a lower cost policy. the landlord is not under an obligation to use the very cheapest policy available but any policy he does select should be in line with market norms. if the landlord refuses to cooperate with your mother, in the first instance she can ask the fair rent officer to assist.I hope the above is of assistance? If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to click to rate my service to you today or just reply back to let me know if the above is helpful. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me I'd be very grateful
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Dear *****:

I just checked the original lease which is actually dated 1969 and this specifies that the landlord will provide insurance. Can I then assume that she has no requirement to pay the insurance or does the Rent Officer's comment about the Fair Rent excluding insurance apply? If she is required to pay insurance, per the Rent Officer's comment dated 2014, can I still require them to provide the policy and request a reduction in cost?

Unless the landlord has a written agreement making your mother liable to pay buildings insruance, be it in a lease or tenancy agreement then the landlord is liable to pay the cost of buildings insurance because he is the legal owner of the property. It could be worth checking with the Rent Officer to ascertain that he is not in possession of some other document in which your mother has agreed to be responsible for insurance but in the assumption no such other document exists, the landlord can be asked for evidence that your mother is responsible for insurance failing which she may consider declining to pay it.I hope the above is helpful? Can I help you with anything else or has the above answered your questions satisfactorily? If you could drop me a quick message to let me know I'd be very grateful.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Many thanks for your help.

A pleasure. I hope your mother is able to resolve the matter with the minimum of fuss. Best wishes
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