Sadd v Brown [2012] UKUT 438 (LC)

Mrs Brown was Mr Sadd’s tenant of a residential flat under a long lease. The lease included an obligation on the part of the landlord to insure the property but did not include any corresponding obligation on the tenant to contribute towards the insurance premium payable, despite including other extensive service charge obligations on the part of the tenant. Mr Sadd nonetheless sought to recover the cost of insuring under the service charge. Mrs Brown objected and sought a determination from the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal. The LVT held that Mrs Brown was not liable to contribute towards insurance premiums. Mr Sadd appealed.

The Lands Tribunal agreed with the LVT. There was no express term in the lease requiring Mrs Brown to contribute towards insurance. The obligation to insure was distinct from the obligation to maintain and repair and therefore it could not be argued that insurance could be recovered by way of contribution to the costs of repair and maintenance. Similarly, the cost of an insurance premium was not a rate, duty, charge, assessment or imposition in relation to the flat and therefore could not be recovered under the clause in the lease permitting the recovery of charges of this nature. The lease was not unworkable without the inclusion of an obligation to contribute towards the insurance premium so it was not appropriate to imply this obligation even though the omission was probably a mistake.