Fergus Wilson Panorama documentary – now available on iPlayer22:10 PM, 18th March 2019
About 2 days ago 92
I am a private land lord and have 4 tenants living in one of the properties. About 6 months ago, a tenant in flat no 6 rang me and said that there was water leaking into our bathroom from the ceiling.
This flat is on the first floor in a 4 story council block. I understand the flat directly below my flat is no 2 (ground floor) and the one above mine is no 10 and the one above no 10 is 14. I believe that occupants in no 2 and 10 are council tenants and 14 is owned by a leaseholder and the flat is tenanted and managed by Agents.
When my tenant first rang me about 6 months ago I promptly contacted the council to report this and they gave me the phone number for their contractors. I contacted the contractors who visited my flat to check the leak and established that the water was coming from no 10 which is directly above me.
The contractors then visited no 10, after a few abortive visits due to not having access. They then wanted to visit no 14 (3rd, top floor) which is directly above no 10. Again after a few abortive visits due to not having access they visited no 14. Nearly 5 months have gone (August 2015) and despite visiting no 10 & 14 a few times the contractors failed to repair the leak. The water was still leaking into my bathroom.
During the months between March and August I rang the contractors regularly and usually the reply I got was that the Contractors attended either no 10 or 14, but did not have access. As a result I took it upon myself to contact the Housing Officer at the Council a few times requesting him to liaise with the residents of no 10 and 14 to facilitate access to their flats in order to find and repair the leak.
As the leak was not stopped by the contractors I made a complaint to the Council on 24 August. On 9 September I received a letter from the Council saying “the leak was coming from no 14 and despite several requests from the Housing Officer, access was only given by the resident on 3 September and the leak has been repaired”. They said that they were partially upholding my complaint because there has been a delay in completing the work.
On 16 September I received a letter from the Solicitors of flat no 2 (directly below my flat) holding me responsible for the disrepair that has arisen directly from a leak from my flat that is affecting their kitchen, bathroom, corridor and bedroom 3. They are complaining about damp, plaster damage to walls, mould to ceiling, light fittings not working and warped wood flooring among other things.
They have given me 21 days to carry out the repair work and to pay compensation for all the inconvenience, disappointment, discomfort and loss of enjoyment suffered by their client. They are threatening to issue proceedings in the magistrates’ court for a breach of s79(1)(a) Environmental protection act 1990 and s82.
However the leak is still continuing into my bathroom and I have escalated my complaint to stage 2 with the council.
I would have thought that instead of holding me responsible for the leak and damage to their flat , no 2 should have made a claim through the council’s block insurance once the leak has been repaired. My flat is also suffering from similar problems as a result of this leak that is coming from the flat above me and I am intending to claim through the council’s block insurance policy once the leak has been repaired.
I would like to know if any of you have experienced such issues and any advice/suggestion will be greatly appreciated. Am I to be blamed for the leak? Does no 2 have a case against me?
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