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Hi all

I have a bit of a query which may bes lightly unusual.

The flat I own in plymouth is a leashold, one of two in a converted house. We have an absent landlord and therefore anything done between us is by agreement and this had always worked well with the last two owners. The buildings Insurance leaves my bank account by direct debit each month and the owner of the upstairs flat standing orders me every month for half the amount.... seems fair!

However, having looked at my lettings bank account I have now discovered that I have not received a standing order for building insurance since the beginning of May. I hadn't particularly noticed it as their share is only £20 per month, but this said, I don't see why I should pay the whole amount.

I contacted the owner who said ' I have sold the property and I told the new owners to contact you' !!!???? great... well no-one has! Surely it was the responsibility of both the old and the new owner to contact me!

I have asked the 'old owner' for the new owners details but as yet she hasnt come up with it. I also do not have the address of the old owner and I asked for her solicitors name and she didnt provide that either.


- The buildings Insurance is still in the old owner and my name (and until someone gives me their name how can I change it!)

- I do not have the new owners name

- I dont have the old owners address, other than a mobile

What do I do???? who owes me the money from the last 5 or 6 months? I am also concerned that our building insurance is invalid becuase it has the wrong name on it!

Is it the new owner because they owned the property even though their name is not on the buildings insurance (because no-one told me of the change!)?

Or is it the old owner becuase she failed to inform the insurers or me of the change? even though she didnt own the house in the period?!

What about the solicitor???? Surely it is their duty (assuming there is a mortgage on the flat upstairs) to ensure that building insurance is in place from exchange for the mortgage lender?

If it is invalid does that mean no-one owes me money??? seems unfair that I have to foot someone elses costs! If no-one will pay then who do I persue for the money?

Basically, I dont know who I have a right to ask for the money from and whether I have a right at all. What I do think is that I shouldn't be burdened with the whole buildings insurance since it is a joint thing and since it is not my fault that it wasnt changed as no-one told me of the change in owner!

Any advice would be appreciated

Thanks in advance


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nice and straight forward then Sherena.....!

I have 2 flats above my shop on a 99 year lease and as freeholder i have the insurance in my name and bill the T yearly .

I also own 5 leaseheld flats where i get the bill from the LL for insurance in their name ....SOooooooooo I dont understand why you have ins in your name for Bldings ...contents ..yes but bldings ???

Land registry search (and fee ..couple of quid) will yield new owners details ......or get your T go to other flat and get details for you ?

Clealy you need to speak to new owner to move forward .......................but still wonder Y LL is not dealing with it ...

Assume you just pay grnd rent and building your problem ?


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Hi Simon

The reason it is in the 'leaseholders' name rather than the freeholder is because we have an absent freehold landlord. Therefore anything that needs to be done is by approval between the two flats. We dont get charged rent on an annual basis and if anything goes wrong, the two flats are to come to an agreement.

I find it irritating really as I enquired into buying the freehold, but because it is only 2 flats, it appears that the only way to buy the freehold of a property with only 2 flats in it is with the other owner - and none of the owners so far are interested. But it means that I cannot buy it either - even though I want to!

Is it possible for someone else to buy the freehold? ie. could mt partner buy the freehold of the two?

My tenant never speaks to me or tells me when there are problems (I had the gas safety cert done a few weeks ago, only to be told by the gas man that the hot water hasn't worked in a while.... why dont tenants actually speak to you!! I would fix these things if only I was told!) - so to expect her to get their name may be asking too much!

I will do a search on land registry - thanks for that. presumably I can do this online?

Who do you think is responsible for the other half of the building insurance for the last six months? The actual building insurance certificate is in joint names - me and the old owner of the upstairs flat.

Is the new owner of the leashold flat upstairs (even though the insurance isnt in their name - because no-one told me of the change!) responsible since they are the owners in that period.

Or is it the old owner since they did not inform me or the insurer of the change?

Thanks for your help


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Write to "the new owner/occupier at xxxx" and mark it urgent !

or you need to make a trip to get new owners details ......which could of course be a complete waste of time if you go there and they are out !

You could try and blag the new name out of gas or lecky co by saying you are the old tenant or LL and you need to confirm the bill is in the correct name ...you will be amazed a the info they will give to help you sort out a "confused" account !!!(done the right way !!) then with name you can write to them .....or possibly get a phone no from directory enquiries..


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Hi Sherena

Rodent is quite right, do a check with the Land Registry online, the solicitor should register the new owner within 3 months of a change of ownership.

The old owner should be responsible for his share of the premiums up to the change of ownership. If and when you track him down you could politely bill him for his amount, but bearing in mind it might of been sold in May, his contribution is likely to be small and if he doesn't pay then it is likely to be uneconomical to take any further action.

With regard to the new owner, if you can't get his name/address then you'll have to write to the "New Owner" at the flat, however I think you should check your lease first. What does it say regarding insurance? Does it make you responsible for insuring the whole property and collecting a share from the other flat or is this something that you or your previous owner volounteered to do. If the lease makes each occupier responsible for insuring just their own flat, then the new owner would be unwilling to pay twice and in these circumstances perhaps there is some scope for asking your insurer to repay part of the premium and just insuring your flat. Obviously you need to know that the other flat is insured.

As you have already appreciated it is important that any insurance problems are resolved ASAP, you do not want to give your insurance company the opportunity of refusing a potential future claim. Why not check with your insurer to see if the policy is valid if the name of the other policy holder is unknown/incorrect.

With regard to buying the Freehold, some Building Societies will not lend on Freehold flats and it makes sense if you want the Freehold to put it in the name of your partner.

Good luck


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