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What Is Block of Flats Insurance, And Why Might You Need It?

When you own a house, buildings insurance is relatively straightforward and simple. Your premium covers the structure of the property, and any outbuildings such as sheds and garages against the costs of damage for insured reasons set out by your insurance company.

But what if you live in a block of flats? Do you insure just your portion, or should you also take into consideration the entire property?

Depending on your circumstances: whether you’re a landlord, freeholder or leaseholder, block of flats insurance could prove more beneficial to you than standard buildings insurance.

Here’s a look at block of flats insurance and why you might need it.

More cover than standard buildings insurance

Standard buildings insurance will cover your property should costs be incurred for repairing or rebuilding due to an insured event specified in your insurance policy. This typically includes damage caused by:

  • flood
  • fire
  • burglary
  • storms
  • subsidence
  • lightning strikes
  • falling trees and branches

Most standard buildings insurance policies will also include damage to the building caused by leaks, faulty electrics, an electrical fire, burst water pipes. In most cases buildings insurance will also cover outbuildings such as garden sheds, garden houses, pergolas, garages and even greenhouses.

However…
If you live in a block of flats, standard buildings insurance may not cover areas such as:

  • Communal areas, hallways, stairs, landings, gardens
  • Shared contents such as communal equipment or furniture
  • Property owner’s liability outside of your flat

Specialist block of flats insurance covers all areas important to you and fellow residents in the block. It will give you the extra peace of mind you need and provide a more comprehensive cover than standard buildings insurance.

Who needs Block of Flats Insurance?

Just like standard buildings insurance, block of flats insurance isn’t a requirement by law. However, it can be particularly beneficial to:

  • Freeholders who own the entire building then rent out individual flats within the building
  • The property management company looking after the block of flats
  • Flat leaseholders who club together and decide to pay for blocks of flats insurance between them
  • Property developers and portfolio investors with a range of properties

What can Block of Flats Insurance cover?

  • Damage to the building caused by insured events such as flood, fire, storms, subsidence, vandalism and theft or attempted theft
  • Trace and access costs of finding and repairing leaking pipes
  • Communal areas such as outbuildings, hallways, lifts, stairs and gardens
  • Property owner’s liability to cover costs for claims made by someone who is injured in the block of flats insured
  • Employer’s liability to cover anyone employed to maintain the communal areas

Ilnsure365, landlords insurance specialists, can provide competitive Block of Flats insurance cover to suit your needs, including discounts for multiple properties. Whether you need insurance for a converted block, a purpose built property, or an entire portfolio of properties, we’ll find the right cover for you. Request a call back for a member of the team to discuss our policies with you.

Converting A Property Into Flats – What You Need To Consider

One of the most exciting elements of property development is the prospect of converting property into a block of flats.
 
The practice is becoming increasingly popular, especially in larger cities. And even more so when they have a high population of young professionals and students such as London, Oxford, Cambridge and Bath. Splitting up a property can secure you a very profitable short-term income, as well as future capital gain if you decide to sell.
 
Are you planning to invest in a block of flats conversion? Then here’s what you need to consider before you start.
 

The Area

 
Before you start hunting for the perfect property, you need to find the right area. This will involve a lot of research on the current rental market and future re-development sites. For example, new Crossrail links will transform the transport infrastructure of London, and increase commutability to the Capital. The areas that this affects will appeal to renters, so these areas would be ideal for a block of flats conversion.
 

Building Regulations

 
You’ll then need to apply for Planning Permission. As you are intending to change the use of the building and turn them into separate living units. You’ll need to apply for Building Regulations as well as Planning Permission.
 
This covers structural changes such as putting up walls, installing bathrooms, kitchens and central heating. It also covers separate services supplies (gas, electricity, water, drainage) and utility meters for each unit.
 

HMO Licensing

 
You’ll need to contact your local authority to find out if your block of flats qualifies for a house of multiple occupation (HMO). If so, you’ll have to apply for an HMO licence, which covers extra legal responsibilities for landlords. Read our article for more information on houses of multiple occupation.
 
A new building that has been purpose built as a block of flats isn’t considered an HMO. However a house converted into self contained flats may be regarded as an HMO.
 
Be aware though that each local authority seems to set its own standards and regulations in regard to HMOs. Even if your block of flats isn’t considered an HMO by them, they may apply other licensing and regulations. It’s always best to check with your local authority to ensure you stay on the right side of the law.
 

Insurance

 
Once the conversion is complete, you’ll also need to consider what type of buildings insurance you’ll need. Insurers consider two or more flats in the same building as a ‘block’. Leaseholders or tenants will most probably have their own insurance in place. However it’s highly advisable to take out specialist Block of Flats insurance.
 
Block of flats insurance covers the entire block and offers more cover than regular building insurance. This can include fixtures & fittings, rent cover, rent guarantee and public and employer’s liability. Our article on Block of Flats insurance explains the differences in cover.

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