Is buildings insurance needed for flats?
Though building insurance for any property isn’t a legal requirement, it’s often a good idea to have it in place. This applies to flats too but what’s different compared to other forms of housing is who is responsible for ensuring that buildings insurance is in place.
Usually, it’s the responsibility of the freehold owner to put the buildings insurance in place. This is logical when you think about it as they’re the ones who ultimately own the building. They’re also the ones who stand to lose most in the event of a fire for example.
So let’s look at a few scenarios:
- You’re the landlord of some rented flats
If you own the freehold on some flats which you rent out, it’s your responsibility to arrange the buildings insurance. You can do this via a standard buildings insurance policy, although buildings insurance is often included in specialist landlord insurance packages.
If you yourself rent the property that you then sublet, the ultimate landlord is usually responsible for the buildings cover though it is worth checking that this is the case.
- You’re a tenant in a rented flat
You don’t need to worry about the buildings insurance though you may want to ensure that your possessions are covered by contents insurance.
- You own the freehold for a flat
It has become more popular in recent years for flat leaseholders to club together to buy either the full freehold or a share of it.
This gives more control over the property, but it also means greater responsibility including the need to arrange buildings cover.
While it’s possible for different freeholders to do this individually, it may be cheaper and simpler to take out a block policy covering everyone. This of course means increased communication and cooperation will be required by everyone living in the block – so you’ve got to be ready to get to know your neighbours!
If you’re the owner of a leasehold flat, you don’t own the freehold to the property. This means that the building is usually insured by the landlord who owns that freehold.
If you’re thinking of, or in the process of buying a leasehold property, your solicitor will be able to advise you if your lease means you have to take out buildings insurance.
Many leaseholders will find that even when it’s not their responsibility to take out buildings cover, they’ll still end up paying a contribution towards it through any service charge that is payable on their flat.