liability insurance

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    liability insurance


    I am a flat owner and a member of a management company. The inside communal area and outside of the building require some maintenance.

    Another flat owner who is a director wants to do the maintenance work and not hire contractors to save money. The work likely will be wall repairs and painting and involve ladders or even scaffolding.

    There is only building and director insurance. Apart from me, nobody else seems bothered about liability insurance, which the director doesn’t have. Am I being unnecessarily concerned or should I raise the topic again?

    Please can someone help me.


    You need employers' liability insurance, even for volunteers.

    You are responsible for ensuring that anyone (even a self employed contractor) follows proper health and safety practices.

    I would say you also needed public liability insurance.

    Typical blocks of flats policies have both public liability and employers' insurance, but the public liability may well not cover more than day to day maintenance, and even, say, the fire insurance may be void if the fire was caused by the director burning off paint. Read the policy.

    Unless the director does this sort of work for a living, there is a danger that they will not know enough to do the job properly (e.g. when this happened with us about some lighting, they installed under-rated cable).

    I think, nowadays, unfortunately, the advice is always to use a professional contractor.


      Thank you leaseholder64 for your prompt, detailed and helpful response.


        It is common knowledge, but maybe not for most on here, that if a director wants to do the work himself, or get his mates to do the work, then that Director must be EXCLUDED from process.of the scope of work envisaged.
        In other words, he cannot be part of the decision making of the project.

        You tell the Director that they cannot do the work themselves, as you can see, it is not in the interests of "The company" and also, if anything goes wrong, it's the other directors that hve to foot the bill.

        If other directors condone this, they are all guilty,


          "Block of flats" insurance policy will include cover for building reinstatement public liability and employee liabilty, alternative accommodation etc .
          Property owners policy may only include cover for building reinstatement.

          Check the cover on your buildings insurance policy.



            How can I tell the chap he (legally) must be excluded from the process and cannot be part of the decision making if he wants to do the work or have a mate to do the work?

            I can not see how the guy’s actions are precisely covered by Companies Act 2006. The chap will only save money initially but I guess in the future will earn a profit by not contributing as much.

            Cheers for your help.


              Originally posted by NathanZ View Post
              How can I tell the chap he (legally) must be excluded from the process and cannot be part of the decision making if he wants to do the work or have a mate to do the work?
              A Directors job is to ensure that work is done professionally, the workmen have liability insurance, ( have insurance to cover him for at least £ 500,000 ) the job is GUARANTEED to be free of defects, there is a guarantee that the job will be free from spots of paint on stairs, carpets, flags, windows.
              There must be a "Scope or works", such as to rub down the paint, and if the top coat is 7 layers thick, to possibly remove the old paint.
              Type of paint has to be specified by the freeholder, or a well informed painter.
              If the top coat when rubbed down does not show any under coat showing through, to paint only top coat on. ( too many workmen put undercoat on top of the old top coat, to earn more money ).

              So he starts to paint the outside timber, but some of it wants replacing, do you think the director will recommend replacing any rotting timber ? I will answer for you, no he will not, because the director wants to cut HIS costs.

              Ladders fall on people, paint gets on peoples clothing, your director has no liability insurance, so who pays ? The director pays, but guess who will refuse to pay ? but if it's a serious injury, and he cant afford the payout, then it's the other directors that have to pay, as it's The "company" ( yours ) that caused the accident.
              If None of you have money when someone sues the company, and if directors don't have £ 150,000 plus to pay the damages, the freeholder goes bust, and you cant sell your flats.

              You also have to do a risk assessment.

              Shall I go on ?

              COPIED FROM ARMA. ( red are my comments )
              3. Equipment
              If the lessee will need equipment and materials to carry out the tasks, who will supply them?
              For gardening work a mower and tools are usually required. If the landlord buys the equipment he/she is responsible for the safety and proper use of it. You need to train the volunteer in safe use of the equipment. ( LADDERS-- Yes - YOU MUST instruct them, or send them on a course, of which there ARE courses for correct use of ladders ( The Director or the company pays for this ).


              If the landlord provides any cleaning materials and products, a check needs to be made as to whether any contain hazardous materials.
              If a ladder is provided then a record of it and regular safety checks should be made.
              Any tools and equipment supplied must be fit for purpose and checked regularly. If power tools are used then you must carry out portable appliance tests on them.

              4. Insurance
              If there is an accident either to the volunteer or to another person caused by the volunteer when carrying out the work, who is liable and is there insurance cover?
              If a landlord agrees to let volunteers carry out cleaning, gardening or similar duties ( painting ) then there will normally be no public liability or personal accident insurance cover if a volunteer has any accident or causes any damage carrying out that work. In order to forestall any question of legal cases in an accident, the landlord should either take out additional insurance cover for the volunteer or insist upon and demand to see the insurance cover taken out by the volunteer at his/her cost.

              There will be no insurance for the Director under your buildings policy.

              5. Employee or Contractor?
              Whether a volunteer’s status is as a contractor or an employee is easily open to dispute. It is best to makethings as clear as possible.

              If payment is made then there is clearly a legal relationship and the landlord/agent should have a clear written agreement setting it out. One choice is to make the volunteer an employee. If this is done then there will be a requirement for a risk assessment of the tasks and questions of tax and insurance arise on any paymentsmade.
              Also, if the employee is sick, there will be a liability for sickness payments.
              If the choice is to make the lessee a contractor then the lessee will have to arrange his/her own insurance cover and submit invoices. As a contractor the volunteer will have more responsibility for their own safety and standard of work. However if a landlord or agent can see that work is being undertaken in a way that is not safe then there is a duty to intervene.


              • If problems arise over the standards of performance of the volunteers it can lead to difficulties. Criticism by neighbours of the volunteer can cause ill‐feeling.
              • Alternatively if the landlord or the agent has to criticise or sack a volunteer for poor performance, that can lead to a complete breakdown of that particular landlord/lessee relationship.
              • If the volunteer becomes sick or goes on extended holiday then there is not immediate cover as one would have with a firm of contractors.
              • Often an initial burst of enthusiasm to, say, attend to garden areas peters out and the standard of maintenance becomes unacceptable.
              • Equipment bought for volunteers can soon become redundant if the volunteers stand down and no one wishes to volunteer.
              • By using volunteers service charges are saved and kept low. If the volunteer arrangement falls through and a contractor has to be brought in, lessee's
              expectations of the service charge have been set low and suddenly increased costs can cause unrest.

              Directors’ responsibilities for health and safety is also applicable.

              ( health-and-safety-in-the-workplace )



                Using a proper contractor doesn't, however, remove your responsibility for H&S, as it is a B2B contract and businesses are expected to understand safety. That means you cannot just use the local white van man, either. (I think this is actually something that BTL landlords don't understand either.)


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