Tenant breach of lease and planning law - affect on building insurance

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  • Tenant breach of lease and planning law - affect on building insurance


    Our leaseholder has undertaken works to their flat without freeholder consent. We have been assured that the work is non-structural although they have changed the layout of the flat. Some of the work requires planning permission. They are definitely in breach of their lease and we are trying to deal with it amicably. However, they are dragging their heels and I am concerned about the building insurance angle. Can failure to obtain planning permission / freeholder consent for relevant works void the building insurance even if a claim is unrelated to those works? (The lease indemnifies us but I doubt our leaseholder has the funds to cover a large claim and in any event, I would prefer to avoid that.)

    Thank you

  • #2
    Only your insurance company can tell you if they will cease cover
    or refuse to pay out on a claim.

    Your first point, if you are the freeholder is to write and say that
    all work must stop as they do not have the freeholders permission
    to alter the layout of the flat.
    Iasume you have not seen the drawings / plans for the alterations
    ( including wireing / water pipes / drainage etc ) and if not , then
    the freeholder is entitled to get a surveyor tolook at the plans /
    actual flat, and his bill isgiven to the offending leaseholder.

    Plans should have been given to the freeholder first.

    Freeholders are not surveyors or solicitors, and can range from
    unemployed to Doctors, so expert advice is needed on alterations,
    drilling outside walls for boilers ( outside walls do not belong to the
    leaseholder etc....
    You are within your right to state that the alteratons must be
    removed and place be put back as per original plans, as no
    authorisation hasbeen given, and worst of all, none was asked for.



    • #3
      Insurance is at risk of the Insurer having no liability if there is a causal connection between a breach of warranty or a failure to disclose material facts. Non invalidation protects you from that, as far as that policy allows, if you like it's an extra.

      The change in layout, and possible change in the inured sum are material facts. Any breach of the building regulations acops etc, failure to certify electrics gas etc can be breach of warranty.

      Best to check the policy as suggested and be prepared to have to act swiftly- the loss of building insurance cover should be of great concern to the tenant and his mortgagee.
      Based on the information posted, I offer my thoughts.Any action you then take is your liability. While commending individual effort, there is no substitute for a thorough review of documents and facts by paid for professional advisers.


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