Leasehold handbook – Insurance

by The Gateshead Housing Company & filed under Owning your home - leaseholder - leasehold handbook, Owning your home - leaseholders.

In line with the terms and conditions of your lease we insure the structure of your building and its communal areas, which you are charged for as part of your service charge.

You are responsible for insuring the contents of your flat.

Who will provide your buildings insurance cover?

cracked laminated glassYou have the right to be consulted and make observations about agreements or contracts for services that the landlord wishes to buy in from outside of the company for a period of over 12 months. For example, for insuring the building.

Through joint procurement with Gateshead Council we will tender the buildings insurance contract for all leasehold properties. Before we go out to tender we will ask you for your views, through involvement events.

In line with the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 (the Act) we must consult you, via letter, throughout this process.  The stages of consultation are as follows:

  1. Notice of intention – informs you of our intention to enter into a long term agreement of more than 12 months for buildings insurance for your property/block.
  2. Notice of proposal – informs you of the outcome of the tender exercise.
  3. Award of contract – confirms which company the buildings insurance contract has been awarded to.

You will be given a period of time following each consultation, which will be stated on the notice, to provide us with your written observations.

What does the buildings insurance policy cover?

The buildings insurance policy covers damage caused by:

  • Fire, smoke, explosion, lightning or earthquake
  • Riot, civil commotion, strikes, labour or political disturbances
  • Malicious damage
  • Collision by aircraft, other aerial devices, any vehicle (or articles dropped from them) or animal
  • Storm or flood
  • Escape of water from any fixed tank, fish tank, pipe or appliance and damage caused to such by bursting or freezing
  • Falling trees or branches or telegraph poles or lampposts
  • Theft or attempted theft
  • Subsidence, ground heave or landslip (An excess of £1,000 applies to each incident or loss)
  • Accidental breakage of fixed glass, fixed water or heating installations, inspection covers, cables and pipes serving the building
  • Sudden blockages to drainage.

The policy does not cover depreciation and deterioration from normal use and wear and tear

Claim forms are available from either Leasehold Services on 0191 433 5395 or from Gateshead Council – email the Insurance Team or call 0191 433 3714.

Gateshead Council will make claims on your behalf where it is made aware of damage caused as a result of storm damage and vandalism.

You will need to report this information to the HomeRepairs Team and provide a police crime number for any damage caused by vandalism or theft.

All claims made on your behalf, by the housing company will be detailed on your Repairs and Maintenance statement.

Your buildings insurance premium

Your insurance premium is based on your property type and size and will be the greater of either:

  • The minimum sum recommended by the insurers
  • The sum required by your mortgage provider
  • The sum you request.

If you feel that your property is under-insured we can arrange for it to be increased upon receipt of a written request from you.

The insured sum should reflect the cost of reinstatement, which may differ from the market value.

Your insured value and yearly premium are shown on your Estimated Service Charge invoice, which is issued at the end of February each year.

You will also receive a Buildings insurance renewal letter (PDF), a policy booklet (PDF) and important information from your insurance provider about your policy (PDF).

New leaseholders

If you have just purchased your property either on the open market from another leaseholder or through the Right-to-Buy scheme you are required to complete a Buildings Insurance Proposal Form. Return the form to Leasehold Services at The Gateshead Housing Company, Civic Centre, Regent Street, Gateshead, NE8 1JN. 

This form will automatically be sent to you following notice being served upon the council of the transfer.

Failure to complete and return this form will result in a 150% increase in your premium.

This increase will be reflected on your Actual Service Charge invoice, which is issued in June of each year.


Under the terms of your lease you must register your sublet with the Council and pay the Council’s registration fees. This can also affect your insurance premium.

The insurers ask that:

  • The property is let on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement and a copy of this agreement is provided to us
  • A deposit is taken from your tenant(s).

If you are unable to do so your premium may be increased up to a maximum of 150% depending upon how the property is let e.g. a couple, a family, a number of separate individuals.

If you intend to sublet your property, email the Leasehold Services Team.

Leaving your property empty

Your insurance cover will be affected if your home is empty for more than 30 days at a time.

In such instances, you will not be covered for malicious damage, escape of water or theft.

If your property is empty for an extended period, you are advised to let us and the police know how to contact you if necessary and also make arrangements for someone to periodically check on the property.

If you live in a multi-storey block you may wish to leave your contact details with the Caretaker.

Changes in circumstances

You must inform Gateshead Council or The Gateshead Housing Company about any changes in your circumstances.

For example:

  • If you have had an extension built
  • If your home is used for any business purpose
  • If you have let your property to tenants
  • If you or any person in your home, has ever been convicted or received a police caution or has any prosecution pending for any criminal offence involving arson, fraud or theft.

Failure to inform us of any changed circumstances may result in your insurance no longer being valid and claims not met.

Contents insurance    

The buildings insurance policy does not cover your contents, so you are strongly advised to take out your own contents insurance with an insurance provider of your choice.

There are many insurance companies providing competitive cover however, Royal & Sun Alliance has produced a home contents policy specially designed for Gateshead Council’s leaseholders and tenants.

It is jointly managed by the council and the housing company and allows for premiums to be paid with your leasehold service charge.

Application booklets, detailing current premiums are available from Leasehold Services on 0191 433 5395.

If you are over the age of 50, Age UK could also offer you a competitive quote for contents cover.

Payments are interest free and can be made in monthly instalments at no extra cost.

To find out more or for a free no-obligation quote, visit Age UK or call 0800 731 3903.

See also