Clarifying Section 30a of LTA 1985/87 regarding Building Insurance

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    Clarifying Section 30a of LTA 1985/87 regarding Building Insurance

    Hi,

    In the process of writing a note to our freeholder formally requesting a copy of, or access to, the building insurance policy that he claims he has taken out last month. He has ignored our informal requests so it's an neccessity unfortunately.

    Anyway I need some clarification regarding what I should put in the note as I have been searching similar topics and there appears to be some differences.

    Other people have suggested that under Schedule 3 of the Landlord & Tenant Act you should allow, and state, 21 days for the Landlord to comply. However, the 1987 version of the Act says 1 month (30 days).

    So which is it? 9 days difference may seem fairly trivial but I want to get this sorted asap before I go on my hols

    The other thing is whether I have to request a summary first and can only ask for copies of (or access to) the policy documents after I have received the summary.

    Paragraphs 2(1) and 3(1) of the schedule, seem to suggest that to be the case.

    However if you look at Lease Advisory website it says you 'may ask the landlord for a written summary of the policy or an opportunity to inspect and take copies of the policy.

    The request must be made in writing and the landlord must comply within 21 days of receiving it.'

    So can I ask for the policy document without getting a summary first?

    I'd expect the Lease Advisory to contain the most recent info, but they appear to be quoting the 1985 Act not the 1987 one.

    thanks,
    Alex

    #2
    It appears to me that you are mis-reading the legislation, the correct reading is that the SUMMARY must be received with 30 days and that the (seperate) request for a copy of the insurance docs must be received with 21 days.

    Although as many have found out should the freeholder not reply in time or evan at all it is very hard to actually take criminal legal action against them.


    So there are 3 possible things you can ask for.

    1. The Summary

    2. A right to inspect documents

    3. The insurance policy

    Having quickly read the LEASE site it does say that the right to inspect is only allowed AFTER a summary is received (this would make sense to me). The Summary is different to the request for insurance docs.

    Andy
    Advice given is based on my experience representing myself as a leaseholder both in the County Court and at Leasehold Valuation Tribunals.

    I do not accept any liability to you in relation to the advice given.

    It is always recommended you seek further advice from a solicitor or legal expert.

    Always read your lease first, it is the legally binding contract between leaseholder and freeholder.

    Comment


      #3
      Thanks for your response Andy. If it is indeed the case that it's summary request followed by policy request, I guess we'll have to play it that way.

      I just wanted to cut to the chase and get the document (which was supplied without these problems last year).

      I am slightly perturbed at your comment about it being hard to take criminal action against them if they do not respond. Why is it hard? What is the point of the legislation if you cannot take steps to force them to comply, or punish them if they don't? At the moment we have had no document proving that our freeholder has even taken out building insurance for this year. He has put his flat (in our building) on the market so it's possible he's trying to avoid paying a full years insurance as he may not be here for much longer. Or maybe the amount we have paid for our share is excessive to what he claimed we owed.

      Who knows?

      The point is, what if we need to claim and consequently found out there is no insurance to claim from - and we do not know what is and isn't covered by the policy.

      Alex

      Comment


        #4
        I suggest that you take the existing documents and contact the insurer. The same legislation allows you the right to lodge a claim with them and that should with some arm twisting and charm allow you to obtain some information about the policy eg it is still in place.


        EG "We had a leak from a washing machine but there is doubt until the plumber reports whether its the machine, the hoses or the pipes. Can you tell me the policy to see if it's covered, or may I have a look, please, my email address, of course.".

        Litigation the Act provides a duty for the Local authority to enforce this, however it does not say will or must, allowing local town halls to spend money on olympic tickets or school kids rather than making sure you are insured if your flats burn down.

        You can take action under that act in the magistrates Act, and in the country court as a breach of the lease for failing to insure and an order to comply a; to insure and b; provide the documents.
        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.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by alexd View Post
          Thanks for your response Andy. If it is indeed the case that it's summary request followed by policy request, I guess we'll have to play it that way.

          I just wanted to cut to the chase and get the document (which was supplied without these problems last year).

          I am slightly perturbed at your comment about it being hard to take criminal action against them if they do not respond. Why is it hard? What is the point of the legislation if you cannot take steps to force them to comply, or punish them if they don't? At the moment we have had no document proving that our freeholder has even taken out building insurance for this year. He has put his flat (in our building) on the market so it's possible he's trying to avoid paying a full years insurance as he may not be here for much longer. Or maybe the amount we have paid for our share is excessive to what he claimed we owed.

          Who knows?

          The point is, what if we need to claim and consequently found out there is no insurance to claim from - and we do not know what is and isn't covered by the policy.

          Alex
          I am unaware of a single case of a landlord being criminally charged with failing to provide the neccassary docs, this issue has come up here a few times and most people dont even know who to approach and when they do there are tales of police/magistates courts/council not having a clue what to do.

          I'd be very interested if someone could unearth any evidence of a landlord facing criminal legal action as a result of not complying with the legislation.

          Andy
          Advice given is based on my experience representing myself as a leaseholder both in the County Court and at Leasehold Valuation Tribunals.

          I do not accept any liability to you in relation to the advice given.

          It is always recommended you seek further advice from a solicitor or legal expert.

          Always read your lease first, it is the legally binding contract between leaseholder and freeholder.

          Comment


            #6
            I can state three involving me over the years.

            In the vast majority of cases the info is provided or after an LBA, offered up.

            The insurance issue is relatively obscure and the magistrates court works very differently to the County Court, especially towards the lay person.

            It is wrong to expect anyone there to be able to advise you on legal proceedings ( which is the problem as opposed to procedure ie which form to use), and if in doubt then appoint a solicitor.
            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.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by andydd View Post
              I am unaware of a single case of a landlord being criminally charged with failing to provide the neccassary docs, this issue has come up here a few times and most people dont even know who to approach and when they do there are tales of police/magistates courts/council not having a clue what to do.

              I'd be very interested if someone could unearth any evidence of a landlord facing criminal legal action as a result of not complying with the legislation.

              Andy

              Ummm, rather depressing if true. The Lady I spoke to at LEASE today didn't think it would be an issue with the magistrates court, however the council would be a different kettle of fish - as highlighted by leaseholdanswers.

              Surely it's just a case of submitting the evidence (filling the forms, letters between the parties, registered delivery proof of your request), paying whatever fees are applicable and taking it from there.

              Seems fairly straightforward in theory.

              The landlord has either issued these documents within the timeframe or he hasn't, and if he hasn't, he'd better have a good reason for not doing it.

              I might try leaseholdanswers suggestion of calling the Insurers from last year and seeing if the policy has been renewed. Although the freeholder may have gone elsewhere for insurance - assuming he has at all.

              Alex

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by alexd View Post
                Ummm, rather depressing if true. The Lady I spoke to at LEASE today didn't think it would be an issue with the magistrates court,
                Sigh....what LEASE have failed to understand that failure has a criminal sanction, and can only be pursued in the Magistrates Court ( or potentially the Crown Court) and can order production of the documents as part of that.

                As said the Magistrates Court does not work in the same way as the County Court so it not just simple forms and fees.

                The County Court can be used to require them to insure and produce documents.
                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.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by alexd View Post
                  Hi,

                  In the process of writing a note to our freeholder formally requesting a copy of, or access to, the building insurance policy that he claims he has taken out last month. He has ignored our informal requests so it's an neccessity unfortunately.

                  Anyway I need some clarification regarding what I should put in the note as I have been searching similar topics and there appears to be some differences.

                  Other people have suggested that under Schedule 3 of the Landlord & Tenant Act you should allow, and state, 21 days for the Landlord to comply. However, the 1987 version of the Act says 1 month (30 days).

                  So which is it? 9 days difference may seem fairly trivial but I want to get this sorted asap before I go on my hols

                  The other thing is whether I have to request a summary first and can only ask for copies of (or access to) the policy documents after I have received the summary.

                  Paragraphs 2(1) and 3(1) of the schedule, seem to suggest that to be the case.

                  However if you look at Lease Advisory website it says you 'may ask the landlord for a written summary of the policy or an opportunity to inspect and take copies of the policy.

                  The request must be made in writing and the landlord must comply within 21 days of receiving it.'

                  So can I ask for the policy document without getting a summary first?

                  I'd expect the Lease Advisory to contain the most recent info, but they appear to be quoting the 1985 Act not the 1987 one.

                  thanks,
                  Alex
                  So make your written request for a summary of insured cover ( send by registered post to prove your date of written request). The reply must come within 30 days or it becomes a criminal offence and liable to Cat 4 max penalty ( 2500 pds ).

                  A criminal offence can be reported to the Manager/Clerk at the local Magistrates Court. The max time limit for reply is 30 days ( under L&T Act ) or 21 days (under the Commonhold & Leasehold Reform Act 2002) .

                  The summary of building cover should inform you of following :
                  the policy holder,
                  policy no.,
                  Policy starting date ,
                  insurering company or broker ,
                  insured property address,
                  insured value for building re-instatement,
                  public liability
                  and other covers etc.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Thanks Gordon - I was advised that the landlord was not obilged to put the policy number down, but I'll ask for it.

                    Another reason that I originally wanted to just get a copy of the policy was that apart from insurers name and risks, the requirement under LTA 1987 for a summary seemed rather sparse.

                    But I'll definitely ask for all the above - thanks again.

                    Alex

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by alexd View Post
                      Thanks Gordon - I was advised that the landlord was not obilged to put the policy number down, but I'll ask for it.

                      Another reason that I originally wanted to just get a copy of the policy was that apart from insurers name and risks, the requirement under LTA 1987 for a summary seemed rather sparse.

                      But I'll definitely ask for all the above - thanks again.

                      Alex
                      Gordon 999 is incorrect the policy number can be omitted and still provide the summary.

                      The summary is to confirm that it is insured, and the subsequent inspection rights added if needed by the applicant, at that time to simply reduce the cost and adminstrative burden on the landlord.


                      Remember this was 1984, copy facilities were not readily available or inexpensive. I had not long started and recall insurers "selling" extra copies of the policy on renewal.
                      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.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by leaseholdanswers View Post
                        Gordon 999 is incorrect the policy number can be omitted and still provide the summary.

                        The summary is to confirm that it is insured, and the subsequent inspection rights added if needed by the applicant, at that time to simply reduce the cost and adminstrative burden on the landlord.


                        Remember this was 1984, copy facilities were not readily available or inexpensive. I had not long started and recall insurers "selling" extra copies of the policy on renewal.
                        Thanks - I suspected as much re policy number.

                        It wouldn't surprise me that, if this gets resolved, some sort of 'admin fee' will be requested even if it just involves photcopying 3 sheets of paper. Even though we have already informally offered to copy the documents.

                        Everyone has a printer/scanner these days, don't they? No more going to the library or post office with a bag of 10p's.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by alexd View Post
                          Thanks - I suspected as much re policy number.

                          It wouldn't surprise me that, if this gets resolved, some sort of 'admin fee' will be requested even if it just involves photcopying 3 sheets of paper. Even though we have already informally offered to copy the documents.

                          Everyone has a printer/scanner these days, don't they? No more going to the library or post office with a bag of 10p's.

                          Well no they don't there is one regular LLZ poster who doesn't despite being self employed in the property a paper heavy business.

                          I accept that out management fees are mostly £300 plus per unit so its small beer in the overall level of service and as easy as a right click attach to email ( though whipping staff to scan it in the first place is another matter). The production of the policy is away for fees to be generated and it's only fair that some charge be made- no-one works for free.

                          A 10 minute task to scan a policy with the staff costs premises costs billing and banking costs and that admin time, not to mention the technology licences and software behind it, and very easily £25 is incurred.
                          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.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            If you have contributed to the building insurance policy, you should be entitled to get the summary of insured cover free of charge including the policy number.

                            If the building is destroyed by fire, you are still legally required to service your mortgage payments and mortgage debt. So don't any freeholder or its managing agent escape their responsibilities under the lease.

                            Comment

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