Members need to be cognisant of the fact that most landlord insurance policies now include a clause which basically excludes damage caused by faulty flat roof surfaces unless it can be confirmed that the fault was not due to normal 'wear and tear'.
As an example, a Boswell's renewal policy quotation included the term: "With effect from your renewal date, Aviva require that felted roof areas that are over ten years old must be inspected annually. This only applies where you are insuring the buildings, please refer to your policy schedule for full details of what is required."
Yes this is an industry wide thing in that they will mostly be requesting that the felted roof areas are checked regularly as there have been a lot of claims recently caused by old roofs that have not been checked.
As with all things insurance, the issue arises when you make a claim - you say the roof was checked but can you prove it? Did the person who checked it have the appropriate skills to check it and identify any faults? The list goes on - obviously the insurers do not want to insure a neglected property where the likelihood of roof failure is high, especially where the cost of claims tends to be high as ceilings, carpeting and furnishing all tend to be ruined in these situations. They also do not want to be seen to be hiking premiums to ensure that these neglected properties are covered - so their solution of effectively excluding felt roof damage from their policies, in cases where the roof is more than 10 years old, is understandable - but it does put the onus firmly on us to know what condition these roofs/rooves are in.
A bitumen sealed felt roof should have a life of 25 years, so putting a limit of 10 is in our view, extreme - but it is worth acknowledging that the industry has taken this position and thus you should put in extra checks to ensure you minimise your risk. It is not just that 'flat bit over the bathroom extension' but also, the flat bit on top of the dormer in the loft conversion - so do make sure you are aware of the condition and the fact that if it fails, you need to treat it as wear and tear and not make an insurance claim.
Written & oral information and advice from the Portsmouth & District Private Landlord's Association is given in good faith, but no responsibility whatsoever is accepted by the Association or it's officers for the accuracy of it's information & advice nor shall the Association be held responsible for the consequences of reliance upon such information.