Many leaseholders who own flats grudgingly carry on paying their contribution towards the buildings insurance of their block without ever realizing that they may well be able to save money on this expense. They get the service charge demand, groan or swear and then reach simply pay up without ever studying how much each components actually costing.One of the reasons for this is that the way flats are owned and managed, leasehold law etc, are very complex, not to say labyrinthine. In the UK, practically all flats are leasehold with a freeholder being responsible for insuring the actual building, carrying out communal repairs etc. However, in many cases the leaseholders have the right to actually hire and fire suppliers, builders, cleaners and insurance providers.It all depends upon the nature of your lease and your relationship to the freeholder.Can I choose which company insures my block of flats?If any of the following applies to you as a leaseholder then you almost certainly have the right to choose, or at least strongly influence who provides the insurance for your block:1) You and the other leaseholders actually own a share of the Freehold.2) There is a Board of Directors and a Management Company and you have the right to sit on or elect other leaseholders to this Management Company.3) All the flats are Freehold – very rare in the UKUsually there is ‘Managing Agent’ who actually deals directly with the insurance – sometimes managing agents are under the control of the freeholder (often the original developer) in which case you probably can only influence which company insures your block – although if you can bring forward significantly lower alternative quotes with equally good cover, it will be very hard for the freeholder to ignore as they could be seen as not acting in the best interests of the leaseholders. However, where the Management Company is elected by the residents and each leaseholder has a share of the freehold then you can certainly choose exactly which company provides your block insurance.Getting alternative quotes for block building insuranceFirstly, you do need to know what is the approximate proportion of flats that are owner occupied and which are let out. Also, many insurers will ask what status of tenants are occupying the let premises – are they professional – in full-time employment, are they students, DSS or even asylum seekers? If the block is entirely owner occupied the insurance quotes will be lower.You will need to know the approximate age of the block, her there have been any claims in the past five years, what the rebuilding cost (not the sales value) of the block is, whether it is of standard construction, has it got any flat roofs and where it is located.Other factors may be whether cover for terrorism is required, cover for loss of rent to landlords owing to the property being uninhabitable for any of the insured risks and how much ’employers insurance’ is required – this is there to meet any claims from tradespeople working on the premises, and finally general public liability insurance. The latter items tend be included as standard on most block buildings insurance policies whether they are Landlord Block Buildings Insurance or Owner Occupier Block Building Insurance policies.Certainly, the costs of Blocks of Flats Insurance, both for landlords and owner-occupiers can vary wildly and it is definitely worthwhile shopping around if you are in a position to choose insures your block!
Read Time:2 Minute, 54 Second