View Full Version : Liability for damage to outside of building
10-06-2005, 12:23 PM
I rent out a 1-bed flat in Surrey. As I live abroad I have a full contract with a letting agent to deal with any problems arising at the property. In April the letting agent informed me that he had paid for a repair to a water tank which had caused the overflow to leak. He has sent me an e-mail today saying that the Management Agents for the building want me to pay for damage caused to the exterior wall as a result of the leak in April. I have asked my agent to explain why the damage has occured (ie did the tenant not inform him of the problem or was it not repaired in a timely manner). I have buildings insurance with the Management company and as far as I am concerned I should be covered by this for any water damage (there is an excess of 250 pounds sterling). I am worried as they say scaffolding will have to be erected as my flat is on the top floor and this could be expensive. I don't think I have been negligent in any way as I have always acted swiftly to rectify problems at the flat. Has anyone else had this kind of problem or can anyone out there give me a steer as to whether I might be liable (and not covered by buildings insurance) for this kind of repair work.
10-06-2005, 15:44 PM
Your insurance policy should definitely cover this. What surprises me is that the management company arrange the insurance with a £250 excess which is extremely high. £50 is far more reasonable. Also if they "force" you to take this policy they have vicarious liability to ensure that you are covered under such circumstances. If they say you're not I would be asking searching questions as to their suitability to manage! The cost of the erection of scaffolding should also be covered by the insurance policy. By the way, have you ever been given a copy of the policy as you're entitled to it?
You might not know this but you can force the management company to shop around and to obtain alternative quotes for insuring the builidng under the Commonhold & Leasehold Reform Act 2002 if enough owners approach them on a collective basis. They should be informing you of your new rights too!
10-06-2005, 16:57 PM
The excess is for damage caused by water - other repairs have an excess of 100 pounds. They do provide leaseholders with the insurance policy and that's why I thought I should be covered. It just seemed really odd that they are asking me to rectify the problem without even mentioning that I should be claiming through the building insurance, especially as they recently sent out a note saying that any claims should be made through them and not directly with the insurers. I've since spoken to my letting agent and he assures me that the problem is not as bad as he led me to believe in his e-mail.
However, on a completely different item, he did mention that they had wanted to charge him/me for removal of a car which was dumped in my tenant's parking space (which is on private property). They claimed that the vehicle belonged to a former tenant of mine but my letting agent has said this is nonsense and that the car has just been dumped in a vacant spot which happens to be mine (my current tenant doesn't drive). I suggested someone contact the police to find out who the registered owner was. My letting agent said the management company had done this but apparently the police weren't interested as it is on private ground (seems a bit strange to me). My letting agent has a friend in the car trade who has agreed to move the car for free given that my only other option seems to be to pay the Council for moving it when it has nothing to do with me or any of my tenants past or present. Is it reasonable for the management company to bill a landlord for something like this? Is it reasonable for me to argue that I can't possibly be expected to ensure that noone dumps an old car in a vacant parking space that is easily accessible from the main road.
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