'A Month's Rainfall In 24 Hours' Puts Spotlight Back On Insurance

Expert Calls On Landlords And Tenants To Consider Cover


A leading property litigation expert in Sheffield has said landlords and tenants will be hoping they have their insurance in order following the return of severe weather to the UK, with some areas enduring a month’s worth of rainfall within the space of 24 hours.

The Environment Agency has issued almost 60 flood warnings with northern parts of England the worst affected by the issues. Around 200 homes in Northumberland and Country Durham alone have been evacuated as a result of the problems.

Danny Revitt, a property litigation specialist at Irwin Mitchell, said the problems would undoubtedly raise the same questions for commercial and residential landlords and tenants as those seen in July, when serious flash flooding and extreme heavy rain affected so many communities.

He explained: “The weather problems seen earlier this year highlighted many issues for landlords and tenants to bear in mind, especially when it came to insurance.

“For example, while leases often include terms that require landlords to arrange buildings insurance, tenants will usually need to have cover for their fixtures and stock.

“It is not uncommon for tenants to wrongly assume that such issues are the responsibility of a landlord, which means they are left in a very difficult situation when such items have been damaged or left in a state of disrepair due to flooding. Tenants clearly need to be wise to this.”

Revitt went on to outline that landlords with properties which are damaged due to flooding will need to check their leases before deciding on a plan of action.

He explained: “Most leases provide that the rent is suspended while a building is repaired, with insurance often compensating landlords for any losses incurred during this period.

“However, this is absolutely dependent on landlords having put  the right insurance in place to cover the damage and the loss of rent. If they don’t, they could be hit twice – paying out for repairs and losing rent until the repairs are completed..”

The expert added that the devastation seen this year following flash  flooding was also a timely reminder about changes which are set to take place in the coming months.

He warned: “The Association of British Insurers has an agreement in place for the universal provision of flood insurance. However, this is ending next year, which could cause major issues for landlords who may see certain properties only become insurable at a significant cost.

“This is worth bearing in mind as episodes of extreme weather in the UK show no sign of abating.”