Who pays the landlord's building insurance excess fee?


An escape of water occurred from the upstairs flat and was not caused by the tenants.

The property was deemed uninhabitable following assessment by an independent flood damage specialist contracted by the tenant’s contents insurance. Microbial tests also revealed dangerous levels of pathogenic species due to the damp. The tenant with asthma later required treatment for asthma following an exacerbation following the letting agents getting their own regular contractor to assess the property who stated it was safe to live in.

The landlord was asked what their building insurance covered: a) loss of rent b) alternative accommodation costs for the tenants. The landlord did not refund rent for the uninhabitable period as per the tenancy agreement so the tenants paid full rent to the landlord whilst paying for alternative costs.

The tenant’s contents insurance agreed to pay 50% of the alternative accommodation costs and the landlord’s building insurance agreed to pay the other 50% on the condition the landlord received full rent, which they did uninterrupted.

When payment was made by the landlord’s building insurance, the payment did not equal 50% - it was less - because the landlord’s building insurance excess was deducted. The tenants fully expected to pay their own excess fee with their contents insurers but did not expect to pay the landlord’s as this a) was not communicated prior b) not agreed c) the landlord received full rent throughout.

The landlord refused to refund this excess fee to the tenants which means the tenants have essentially paid (through forced deduction from the expected 50% payment).

Does this constitute a breach of the Tenants Fees Act 2019? Given the landlord has essentially made the tenants pay the landlord’s building insurance excess fee as evidenced by three refusals.

The landlord’s insurance company have refused to refund as they say it is not their policy despite the building insurance documents stating that ‘you’ is the policy holder and ‘you’ will pay the excess.

Can anyone advise?