Water damage liability

by Readers Question

15:53 PM, 25th October 2014
About 4 years ago

Water damage liability

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Water damage liability

The bathroom in our downstairs flat has sustained water damage due to a leak from the owner occupied flat above. Her insurer said we must rectify the damage through our insurer as their client had caused the damage accidentally and had her leak mended when we complained to her. So we went ahead (at age 80 & 76 my husband and I are losing the energy to fight insurance companies!), obtained necessary quotes, submitted them to our insurer, via our broker, and the damage was duly rectified. BUT we are left with an excess of £250 to pay out on top of (presumably) our insurance premiums going up as we are no longer ‘no claim’. Apparently this is legally as it should be! Is it justice though – or I hesitate to say, is ‘the Law an Ass’? Water damage liability

Incidentally our broker has raised the issue with the insurer and we await that outcome. Also we haven’t
yet approached the owner of the flat above who in fact may do the decent thing and pay the excess
herself.

I’m just questioning the legal aspect.

Thanks

Christine



Comments

Mark Alexander

12:38 PM, 27th October 2014
About 4 years ago

Christine

Sorry but I’m a bit confused.

Surely the freeholder insures the entire block and charges this back to you in their service charges so why would you and the other flat owners have separate insurers?
.

Christine Reynolds

14:34 PM, 27th October 2014
About 4 years ago

Dear Mark

No, these are often called maisonettes as opposed to flats - one ground floor and one above, with individual private entrances and a private garden to the ground floor maisonette at the rear (and to the upper, though not so private, at the front). So they are completely self-contained and the owner organises their own insurance and pays no ground rent where they have extended their lease. No service charge is payable either.

The local city council accepts responsibility for grass cutting and tree pruning on the communal areas as this is a garden estate (built in the 60s) with plenty of greenery - actually the land belongs to an ancient trust dating back to the 16th century so the council's maintenance is done somewhat reluctantly!

So apparently, and this is the Law so the insurer tells me, where there is no negligence, responsibility for damage to a lower maisonette occasioned by a leak from the upper maisonette becomes the responsibility of the owners of the lower.

Thanks for any help you can give but I have checked it out legally and the only loophole seems to lie in proving the owners of the upper were negligent but this would be expensive and time-consuming and hardly justify the cost of paying the excess.

Yours sincerely

Christine


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