insurance by Ocaso through my freeholder (local authority) - is it enough?

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    insurance by Ocaso through my freeholder (local authority) - is it enough?

    I let out an ex-council leasehold flat. As I understand is usual with leasehold, it is insured through the freeholder (which in this case is the London Borough of Tower Hamlets). The insurer is Ocaso and the insurance is subject to the general conditions of their Household Building Insurance for Local Authorities. I am noted as the insured party. The policy is very similar to that here:

    As far as I can tell, the wording of the policy does allow for the insured party to be a landlord as opposed to be an owner-occupier, which is a good start! I am aware that it doesn't cover contents, non-payment of rent, legal expenses, emergency repairs etc. but for various reasons I don't require any of those to be insured. What I am worried about, however, is do I have sufficient property owner's liability insurance under this, in terms of potential liability to my tenants? Page 11 of the linked document covers these issues but I just can't work out whether it would cover any liability I might have to my tenants (as opposed to visitors/neighbours/tradesmen/passers by).

    I appreciate this is quite a boring technical question but I would be super grateful if an insurance expert could help me out on this.

    I buy contents only landlords cover from Directline. This includes public liablity, and is usually under £100 for the carpets, curtains and kitchen appliances.


      The booklet you have linked to says:

      The Insured's legal liability as OWNER of the Building is covered under A and B below
      To know if the liability cover in sections A and B apply to you then the two questions that need to be answered are:
      1. Are you the "Insured"?
      2. Are you the "OWNER" of the Building?

      As you are noted as an Interested Party you may or may not be classed as the joint "Insured". As you are a Leaseholder, you may or may not be classed as the joint "Owner". Unfortunately, in my brief viewing of the document, I can find no definition of terms which would normally spell this out.

      As the information provided is limited you will need to contact the insurer in question to get confirmation as to whether you are covered or not.

      If not, then there are other options such as taking a contents policy (but be careful as most of these will only provide liability towards the contents and not the buildings) OR to buy a stand alone property owners liability policy but expect the price of this to be a fair chunk of what a landlords buildings insurance is anyway.
      Steve Smith - Company Director at a leading Landlord Insurance broker with 20+ years experience in the industry
      LandlordZONE Verified Poster and Topic Expert for Landlords Insurance since 2009
      See my profile for contact details


        Originally posted by ashburnham View Post
        1. Are you the "Insured"?
        2. Are you the "OWNER" of the Building?

        As you are noted as an Interested Party you may or may not be classed as the joint "Insured". As you are a Leaseholder, you may or may not be classed as the joint "Owner". Unfortunately, in my brief viewing of the document, I can find no definition of terms which would normally spell this out.
        Thank you very much for your reply -- very helpful. Supplementary to the booklet I have a letter from Tower Hamlets council insurance section, which states that I am "the insured". I realise that might not be enough information so I may have to pose this question to the insurer.



          Well, I got in touch with Tower Hamlets council insurance section. Initially I received this reply from their insurance officer:

          As you rightly point out, Section 2 covers you for your legal liability to the public, specifically arising out of ownership of the property, rather than the occupation of the property. The cover would indemnify you in relation to incidents concerning tenants, so long as they were not a member of your family.
          This was reassuring to an extent but I still wasn't quite sure, so I replied thanking him and asking him to clarify my understanding by letting me know whether I would be covered in two hypothetical examples -- example one being ceiling falls in and injures one of my tenants and I am held liable and example two being that the microwave (which I provided) explodes and injures one of my tenants and I am held liable. He passed this on to his contact at the insurers who replied with:

          We need to make the point that leaseholders (specifically were a property is sublet) should check with their contents insurance provider to establish the full scope of cover and any relevant exclusions.

          Also that we are answering hypothetical queries here and the exact details will make a difference as to whether cover applies.

          The first point is all liability policies are based on legal liability / negligence - just because something has happened it does automatically mean someone is negligent. The insurance policies will be defending (or admitting liability if legally liable) on behalf of the Insured. Under no circumstances should the Insured admit liability.

          In example one

          If the leaseholder was made aware of a problem and failed to address / take the necessary action this might be considered a property owners liability claim. If on the other hand the tenant was aware of a problem failed to report it and a third party (guest at the property) was injured then it could well be considered an occupiers liability issue.
          If the leaseholder lived in the property themselves and a third party was injured it would in all likely hood be regarded as occupiers liability issue not Property owners

          (in the vast majority of cases liability arises as occupier rather than owner)

          Example two would not be covered under the Ocaso policy.
          The council insurance officer added the following:

          The liability insurance on a buildings insurance policy is very rarely needed and so most landlord liabilities would need to be covered elsewhere. It might be prudent for you to discuss this with a specialist landlord insurer and explain the cover you are trying to obtain i.e. cover for any liabilities not covered by the Ocaso buildings insurance policy.
          Now my understanding of this exchange is that if the fabric of the property injures someone (including a tenant) due to my negligence, I will be covered. This is great! What about if contents which I have provided injure someone (or their property), however? I do understand the basics of the law of negligence and I of course aim not to be negligent, I have a nightmare than I could be held liable for a malfunctioning fridge or similar which causes some horrendous damage (e.g. fire)....

          So, would contents insurance cover liability caused by my negligent upkeep of contents? If so, I'll just get that.


            See post #2


              Originally posted by JK0 View Post
              See post #2
              Hi - thanks again for your reply. I realised I am probably being a bit dim here, but to be clear are you suggesting that between my current Ocaso policy (through the freeholder) and a landlord's contents-only policy I will be covered for all the risks for which I need to be covered?

              I realise I am really labouring the point, but obviously it's important that I avoid exposure to a major uninsured liability so I really want to make certain....


                JamesHopeful did you ever get to a satisfactory arrangement?

                7 years later and the issue is still presenting difficulties. My wife is a Local Council Leaseholder who is subletting her flat. Her Council's Block Buidings Insurance Policy is also with Ocaso. Surprisingly it is less favourable that the Ealing version as it is more restrictive when subletting. She wants to ensure, just as you did, that she is as well covered as possible against liabilities that could result in large claims against her. She would happily pay for the right insurance(s) if it was clear they would provide the desired cover and can co-exist with each other. Finding such feels impossible. For example British Gas Landlords Insurance said they cannot insure her as she already has Buildings Insurance in place. Hardwood flooring flip flops between insurers as to whether it is Contents or Fixtures & Fittings. It is frustrating not to be able to talk directly to Ocaso but having to talk via the Council's Insurance Officers.. So it's very difficult to get to the precise cover she already has, especially when the policy wording talks about "you the insured". My wife has had it confirmed by the council that she should read the summary of cover (she does not get a schedule) and policy as though she is the insured. But there are clauses for the insured which appear to only be relevant to the council e.g. "Loss Of Rental Income due to an incident"

                So James, did you obtain a satisfactory Landlord's policy that sat alongside the Ocaso Buildings Insurance?
                If so which?
                Kind regards


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