Legal clarity on flat to flat water leaks?

Legal clarity on flat to flat water leaks?

9:39 AM, 9th March 2023, About A year ago 6

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Hello, There was a leak from one flat down to several other flats caused by a damaged waste pipe from the sink. The flats are 20 years old.

Once discovered, the damaged pipe was repaired straight away. There has been no malicious or negligence by the leaseholder from where the leak came from.

Secondly, the insurance has such an excess for any water damage of £15k so as to make a claim unviable by all those concerned (flat from where leak came from and three or four flats below). I understand that the excess was needed to secure insurance due to several previous leaks and significant storm damage.

So the three issues are:

1. It is my understanding that as there was no malicious or negligent activity, there is no recourse for the other
leaseholders to take action against this flat for their consequential damage.

I would like to get legal clarity that this is indeed correct.

2. For some blocks, the service charges can include insurance excesses (in this case the whole cost) i.e. the monies for such events come out of the service charges. Where the lease explicitly states that this cannot be done, then there is no recourse here.

I understand that when it is not clearly mentioned (as is the case here) then, when such an event has been presented to court there have been polar outcomes.

Again, I would like to get clarity as to whether there is a case against the Directors of the management company/managing agents to ensure that this happens.

3. Notwithstanding the difficulties of obtaining insurance, is it the responsibility of the managing agents/directors of the ‘right to manage block’ to:

a) ensure that a sub £1k excess is obtained for flat to flat leaks or

b) not just to advise all leaseholders of the very high excess, but to make clear they all have a potential liability of up to £15k that is not covered.

I am much more interested in the first query.

I think flat to flat leaks are become an exponential problem in the buy to let market as more flats become of an age where pipe corrosion will be happening.

Thank you,


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Doug Ellison

10:58 AM, 9th March 2023, About A year ago

I own Tyneside flats where there is a ground and first floor flat,normally in different ownership.Leaks from the upper flat often occur and the downstairs owner has no case against the upper owner unless they have been negligent(as you suspect)
Not the answer you want but!!!


11:10 AM, 9th March 2023, About A year ago

Have a read through the stickys on this forum:

Margaret Liddell

12:02 PM, 9th March 2023, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Doug Ellison at 09/03/2023 - 10:58
I have a couple of tenanted Tyneside flats in Gateshead which I would like to sell Doug. Are you interested in buying more?

Doug Ellison

12:42 PM, 9th March 2023, About A year ago

Hi Margaret
Thanks for the offer but no,don’t think I’ll be buying any more.Too much hassle and I’m not getting any younger🙁


13:36 PM, 9th March 2023, About A year ago

There are other torts (causes of action) to rely upon other than negligence together with mutual leaseholder obligations. You need expert advice.

Jason McClean - The Home Insurer

14:46 PM, 9th March 2023, About A year ago


Answering your issues from an insurance perspective:

1&2: Pure legal discussions, you need to talk to a solicitor.

3: It is up to the managing agent to meet the demands and needs of the stakeholders/owners/freeholders/interested parties.

3a: If as a stakeholder you have told them the excess for escape of water needs to be under £1k, then they need to deliver it or explain why they cannot. It's up to you to tell the management company the requirements you need from the insurance and then check what is delivered meets them.

Given the suggested history of escape of water claims at this property, they may not be able to get any cover or be forced to take a high excess. Insurers are under no obligation to offer under £1000; they will offer their best terms only.

They might get you a £1000 excess but at 10x the premium price - then it is a decision stakeholders need to make on what to do.

3b: That's up to the management company how they communicate.

Hopefully that helps from an insurance perspective.

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