Leak from flat upstairs – Please help?

by Readers Question

10:21 AM, 17th July 2018
About 3 months ago

Leak from flat upstairs – Please help?

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Leak from flat upstairs – Please help?

I am the owner/leaseholder of a small ground floor studio flat and my flat has been badly damaged by a leak coming from the flat upstairs. The source of the leak was confirmed by the managing agent’s contractor on the 6th of February 2018 and since then I have been chasing the owner of the flat above to rectify. I have lost my tenant and the building insurers have covered the rental loss but I want my flat to be repaired and this leak to be resolved once and for all.

The owner of the flat upstairs has been taking his time (even though he is claiming on insurance as he is saying that the leak from his flat has been caused by other leaks from the flats above him). Anyway, the point is

– he was informed by contractor’s report on the 6th of February 2018 that there is a leak from his flat and to date, he has started the “repairs” but they haven’t been successful as this leak is still ongoing to date.

Could you kindly advise or tell me what are my options?

Anyone can recommend a good lawyer?

Insurers are not refunding me the council tax I have to pay because the tenant left and all the other utility bills (not much as the property is empty but still…)

Many thanks

Vincent

 



Comments

Tom Chapman

10:57 AM, 17th July 2018
About 3 months ago

Hi Vincent,
You are in a difficult position.
Who owns the Freehold to the Block of Flats? My Advice would be to speak to them as essentially it is their responsibility to ensure that the buildings are in a good condition and any on going leak could cause substantial damage to their property.
Any subsequent damage to your flat from the leak can be claimed under the buildings insurance or contents insurance you have. Your Insurers could then try and claim back from the flat above if he is found to have caused the leak. This will also speed up the repairs to your flat.

Laura Delow

11:27 AM, 17th July 2018
About 3 months ago

Feel for you as been there.
Tracing leaks can be difficult especially if Leaseholders are uncooperative. You should immediately pass this on the Landlord or Managing Agent to take a lead in stopping this ongoing leak. The Landlord or Managing Agent will often have the power under the lease to seek access to a flat to determine the source of a problem and to require the Leaseholder to fix it & is often the quickest way of getting the problem resolved.
With regards responsibility, most residential leases make the Landlord responsible for maintaining the structure, exterior and main pipes used in common by the residents in the building, with the repairing obligations relating to the inside of the flat commonly the responsibility of the Leaseholder and extends to the pipes that exclusively service the flat. There is no set format or model for leaseholds as rights and obligations often vary & is therefore important you understand what your specific lease says about the repairing obligations.
If the leak arises from an area within the control of another Leaseholder then it is possible that this Leaseholder will be responsible for the damage caused to your flat. The potential costs of the work resulting from the leak may be recoverable through the service charge or covered by the buildings insurance policy, with any excess payable normally be shared by all of the Leaseholders through the service charge.
Where the damage is more extensive and / or involves areas within the Landlords responsibility, the Landlord may take a lead on the work or oversee the work carried out by the flat owner.
Good luck

Ed Tuff

13:45 PM, 17th July 2018
About 3 months ago

I was also the victim of a leak from the flat above, and even though the occupants/owners of the above flat admitted the leak and were cooperative, their insurance would not cover my flat below since it was an "unforeseen event". I couldn't believe it.

So my own insurance had to cover all the repairs, and I had to pay an excess. My premium has now increased significantly.

Tom Chapman

13:58 PM, 17th July 2018
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Ed Tuff at 17/07/2018 - 13:45
Ed,
Unfortunately that is what your insurance is there to do and reason you should take out the right cover whether you are the leaseholder, Freeholder or Tenant.
Most Leaks are due to Wear & Tear rather than a deliberate act or Negligence

Dave Smith

17:42 PM, 17th July 2018
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Tom Chapman at 17/07/2018 - 13:58
Unfortunately in my personal experience, all leaks (and I've had lots) have stemmed from poor quality of the build and workmanship!

Puzzler

8:29 AM, 18th July 2018
About 3 months ago

Why hasn't the building insurance paid for this? it usually covers all water damage

Laurie

8:48 AM, 18th July 2018
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Ed Tuff at 17/07/2018 - 13:45
And i was "naively" thinking that insurance is there to cover for unforseen events, if its foreseen then you would prevent it from happening. Collect good premiums, payout occasionally at your own discretion, maintaining a very healthy profit margin, now thats a great business to be in...
I had similar event in one of my flats, the owner above was adamant the leak was not coming from them, in the end i sent my plumber and paid to repair the leak under their bath to avoid more damage to my property and just get it sorted out quickly. Turns out they had recently done some bathroom modifications with some dodgy plumbing..

AA

17:05 PM, 18th July 2018
About 3 months ago

The insurance business would make Al Capone blush. Biggest racket going. Had a leak from flat above, reported to my insurer, but fixed damage at own cost. Still goes on your claim s record. And up went the premiums . They don't want anyone who is unlucky as once I was told by an underwriter. This is one industry the government needs to look at but I understand with their hands full with persecuting landlords it will be sometime.

DALE ROBERTS

21:52 PM, 19th July 2018
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Puzzler at 18/07/2018 - 08:29Building insurance generally only covers "seek and find" within your property and if you're lucky "fixtures".
I was astounded to learn- after a brass water pipe burst inside the tiled wall of my newish unit due to insufficient soldering from the builder's plumber - that I would receive a measly portion of my costs back. The excess on water damage claims is usually quite punitive. I had to attend to the catastrophe immediately to limit damage and Zurich subsequently informed me that, I had prejudiced their rights by doing so as an assessor of their choice should have been appointed to view the damage and advise corrective procedure!
The water spread through the flooring to flood the two carpeted bedrooms within minutes and, to add insult to injury, I was also informed that the carpets could not be claimed for as they were not considered a fixture!
So, out of several thousands of pounds spent I was offered GBP165.00 in compensation. I refused to accept the offer.

Tom Chapman

8:47 AM, 20th July 2018
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by DALE ROBERTS at 19/07/2018 - 21:52
Dale,
You should have been able to claim for the resultant damage from the water leak.
Think Zurich were a little harsh with you to be fair and should have taken the Emergency situation into account.
Carpets are classed as contents, so if you only buildings insurance then these would not have been covered.

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