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Hello.

 

I'm a newbie to these threads so I'm not sure if I've chosen the right sub-forum.

 

I own a flat that is normally let out. Currently it is empty and yesterday I went over to tidy it up. My flat is in a converted block with 10 flats.

 

The inner door that gives everyone with a key access to the building was open when I got there. There is a sign up asking everyone to shut this door carefully when they come in or out. The spring is clearly not powerful enough to keep the door shut and needs a human to shut it. Although I was only at the property for a few hours yesterday a couple of times when I went downstairs I found the inner door open. The outer door is always unlocked for the postman etc.

 

I rang up the managers of the building and asked them to fit a more powerful spring for the inner door. The house is mismanaged and the answer I was given was this would have to be put to a vote of the flat-owners. This goes against the lease I do know but the managers haven't a clue and have a policy of putting all sorts of things to a vote, in all their managed properties, even quite small things.

 

When I spoke to the boss for the managing agents he insisted that there was no need for the inner door to click shut automatically as any burglar would still have to get through the door of a flat-owner. So it may not even get put to a vote!

 

I'm rambling on a bit here so I'll get to the point. If a flat-owner had a valuable item stolen, and the insurance company sent an investigator round and found the inner door to the property was often open; would the insurance company have sufficient reason not to pay out on a claim? Or is it enough for flat-owners to have their own doors locked?

 

Thanks for any help.

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This is the same issue for me. Knowing that insurance companies will go to great efforts not to pay out on a claim, I would advise you to notify them that there is no outer locking door (in writing) asap.

 

At the very least, I would check that your buildings insurance, which, for me, is paid as part of the monthly maintenance, covers any damage to your front door.

 

However, if you are letting out the property, your tenants should have separate insurance for contents and they would need to make their own insurance company aware of the current security - so, no exterior locking door, but (maybe) mortice locks on flat entry door. It may effect the premium.

 

I'm assuming you have some white goods etc in the property. You would currently probably have no claim as the property is empty and there is always a clause about properties which are empty for longer than say one month or so. If you are intending to get new tenants, would you be better getting Landlord's insurance? It may cover you for periods of when the property is unoccupied and also any personal liability. They also can provide legal help if you have any issues with the tenants.

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Oh on on the subject of the flats' management company, put your request in writing. Are they a limited company? If so, they should have a yearly meeting to which all owners are invited as shareholders. You would also expect a copy of the accounts, although they seem always to balance quite nicely! I'm no fan or management companies, but trying to get your neighbours together to do anything is sometimes such a struggle, that they seem to be a necessary evil. Make sure your concerns are on the agenda and turn up for the meeting. I would also look at the lease agreement. Are there any details there regarding the entry doors. Don't let them off the hook. I'm sure they are quite happy to take your maintenance charge.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have dealt with a claim that basically had the same issue - my views around this is that all tenants hold there own contents cover therefore they must have locks on their own door.

If a claim appeared, under the tenants insurance, where contents was stolen without "forcible and violent entry" to either the communal door or flat door - the insurance company may decline claim.

You will probably hold contents cover under the common parts - lets say you had a expensive picture in the communal hall and that door is found that it does not close properly then your claim would most likely be refused due to lack of security on your part.

 

Hope that makes sense! :)

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