invalidating insurance

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    invalidating insurance

    I live in a block of 9 flats. One of the residents has been saying for some time that the front door shouldn't be propped open as it will invalidate his insurance. I'm not sure that this is completely true. He has had a notice up for some time saying just this. We all have front doors with locks.

    We have an entry system. The trade button lets anyone in in the morning but after that anyone coming in has to press the buttons for the individual flats.

    This has all boiled up because we need a new front door mat. A bit of history - I have lived here for 10 years and for the first six years we had a coir mat and a stone frog which was used to prop the door open if necessary. This could be for the cleaners bringing their equipment in, or large deliveries or for people moving furniture in or out, etc. Then the frog went missing but was found in the cupboard and brought out, then it totally went missing. Possibly, this chap removed it when he moved in in 2016. I am a bit vague about it but the mat became damaged so we got a new one in 2017. Because there was no door stop, people used the mat to prop open the door. This led to it getting torn and now it is in a right state.

    I have found a good replacement and a suitable concrete rabbit to use to prop the door open when necessary. The majority are ok with this. However, he is saying "The fact remains that propping the door open invalidates my home insurance, something I am not willing to accept. I assume by your reply you are willing and able to guarantee my indemnity on my flat. Please confirm this is the case or refrain from your intended action".

    I don't want us to get a new good quality mat and then have it damaged by people using it to prop up the door. I can't see that there is anyone keeping the door open for any length of time intentionally.

    It could be that it would be true of fire doors and if one was left open it would invalidate the insurance policy, I accept that. We all have our own fire doors.

    What do you think?


    #2
    He should change his home insurance companies, if they put such clauses. I would imagine it related to his own front door and not the communal building. People need to be able to get things in and out, of the building. The door should have a door closer, but you should also have a magnetic door holder, so it can hold the door open.



    Comment


      #3
      His daughter is a police officer so I think he got it from her. We have a good door closer but I don't understand how a magnetic door holder would work.

      Comment


        #4
        If there are 9 people sharing 1 doorway and 8 of them want to leave the door open from time to time and consider that an acceptable trade off of convenience and risk and 1 isn't, the minority need to either put up with it or move out.
        There isn't a possible compromise and the options are that simple.

        If the open door invalidates the insurance on someone's property they can either find a more flexible policy or they can't.
        Again, it's as simple as that.

        It's completely unrealistic for the 1 person to expect the other 8 to change to suit them and the notice about the indemnity for the flat is just misguided.
        When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
        Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

        Comment


          #5
          Thank you, that is very helpful. Can you expand on the notice being misguided? I think it is and may have its origins in advice about fire doors. I felt like asking him to prove what the notice says.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by NaomiB View Post
            Thank you, that is very helpful. Can you expand on the notice being misguided? I think it is and may have its origins in advice about fire doors. I felt like asking him to prove what the notice says.
            It's quite possible that having the door open invalidates his insurance.
            But that's his problem, which he can address by buying different or additional insurance (which might, conceivably be more expensive), but that's no one else's problem.
            I'm not sure that challenging his assertion that it would be an issue would be helpful - it doesn't really matter either way.

            He can't make someone who facilitates propping the door open liable for an "indemnity" on his property just by saying so.
            Any more than you could require him to buy better insurance by telling him to.
            Assuming no one has a veto on the decision, he's simply going to lose a vote 8-1 and threatening people makes no difference to that.

            The fact that "[He is] unwilling to accept" something has no effect on anyone else.
            The other residents probably owe him a general duty of care not to be negligent, but it's hard to argue that leaving the door open from time to time which everyone but he does isn't just normal behaviour - and, as you say, he's got another lockable door.

            If there's an organisation that manages the property, they might be able to try and ban people from leaving the door open. But if the majority of residents are opposed to his position, he doesn't have much chance.

            Unless the lease has something in it that the freeholder could use, that avenue is closed.

            Let's be reasonable and accept that leaving the door open would invalidate his insurance - it might not, but let's accept that it does.
            There is no possible way that he can change other people's behaviour - it's not only the residents, people working there will prop the door open to make their lives easier.

            He can only change things in his control.
            • He can put up with something that makes him unhappy.
            • He can change his insurance (you could help him by telling him who insures you, if you've checked your own insurance is fine).
            • He can become involved with whoever manages the building and try and get the rules or the door changed.
            • He can move out.
            When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
            Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

            Comment


              #7
              Thank you. It's good to have some support! I think the first thing I will do is email my insurance people. I did try through their automated system but getting through to big firms is difficult. However, I've found their email address on Google.

              Comment


                #8
                You should never leave a common door unlocked, but the reasons seem to escape you.

                if everyone is out a work ( it happens - you know ) and a door is open, any one can just walk in, go up the stairs, and kick in a few doors and no one would hear.

                I'll leave it at that.

                Comment


                  #9
                  We don't leave a common door unlocked. Anyone can get in in the morning. This is really a dispute about whether we have a door stop for holding the door open from time to time when things are being carried in our out. The mat has been damaged because it has been used for this purpose. I think that if we just get a new mat then, in next to no time, someone will have cut a five inch slot in the side to prop the door open.

                  No-one deliberately leaves the door open, why would they? As it so happens, five of the nine flats are occupied by retired people who are home all day. This chap is one of them.

                  Also, our block is one of two. The other block has a long standing problem with the door lock. People can force the door open to save using the key. It can be repaired but then something in the door breaks again. The managing agent said it didn't affect the insurance. I suppose it's only the residents and their friends who know this so not that obvious.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I'll attach the notice he has put up. I don't think it is accurate.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Dealing with block insurance companies myself, I can assure you, the notice may have validity, - refering to my post number 8
                      "nine flats are occupied by retired people who are home all day"
                      Yes, that's now, but what about in 30 / 40 years time when they have all died / moved away an new people work all day.
                      You have no idea when people will move out,

                      If moving things in and out, yes -- door need to be propped open ( use one or to door stoppers at base.) Pack of 5 White Plastic Door Wedges Stoppers £ 3.00
                      https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pack-White-...82803269&psc=1

                      Comment


                        #12
                        The part about people's insurance may or may not be accurate, but the second part about potential legal action is probably correct.
                        Even if only in the sense that it's almost impossible to stop someone taking legal action against someone else.
                        When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                        Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                        Comment


                          #13
                          The problem is that this person is objecting to us having a door stop. As it says on the note "do not prop the door open at any time". He said in an email to me last Wednesday "The fact remains that propping the door open invalidates my home insurance, something I am not willing to accept. I assume by your reply you are willing and able to guarantee my indemnity on my flat. Please confirm this is the case or refrain from your intended action". My intended action and that of the other eight residents is to get a new mat and a door stop.

                          I replied to him saying "I will look into it further. As things stand there are three issues here.

                          One is the front door being propped open. Your notice has not stopped this happening. If we do not get a new mat people will continue using the old one to prop the door open. Personally, I have not noticed the door being propped open for other than short periods. The cleaners unlock the door, for instance, and prop it open while they bring the rest of their equipment in. Or sometimes there are deliveries where people are coming in and out. Or people moving their furniture in. If you know of anyone propping the door open for long periods of time and if it bothers you, then we need to talk about that.

                          The second is the new mat. It would make the place look a lot better but I am not having anything to do with getting a new mat if it is going to be damaged by people using it to prop the door open because there is no other option.

                          The third is your interpretation of the insurance. It may be true of fire doors. However, I'm not sure that if someone sneaked in while the door was being propped open and I got burgled, my insurance would be invalidated. It's not as if the front door is permanently closed, it is open to anyone in the mornings."

                          He hasn't replied. I don't want to fall out with him unnecessarily so I want to know what the legal position actually is. I have emailed my insurers but I am not hopeful.

                          I know people may move out and things may change. As things are at the moment, no-one is doing anything to prevent the door closing for any length of time. I can understand this could cause a problem with the insurance of the person doing it but for all of us, I don't think so.

                          In a way the situation is worse for the other block which is the same as mine "everyone tom dick and harry can just open it by pushing or kicking hard". The managing agent seems to think it is not a problem. The trouble is that, if the door is repaired, it will quickly get broken again. Maybe we need new doors.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            If you are propping it open to get something in it is absolutely fine while you are using the door, but at any other time at all the door should be closed to give security and a sense of security to residents and to keep people out who have no business being in the property. I have a flat in a block of 3 that has a back and a front communal door that often had been left open (Im sure people just didnt have a key to the door) - my tenants there have had 2 burglaries, someone coming in and kicking the door in in broad daylight. The door is there for a reason.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Our block is opened by pressing the trade button in the mornings. I am not aware of people leaving the door propped open.

                              This has all arisen because one person is objecting to us getting a door stop when we get the new mat. The old mat has been used and was 2m x 1m four years ago. It has got damaged because people have used it to prop the door open when they needed to. We all have front doors with good locks and I'm sure that when I got my contents insurance there was no mention of the front door at all. I will post a picture of the mat now. It is half its original size.

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