Water damage negligence for the second time!

by Readers Question

9:45 AM, 2nd June 2016
About 3 years ago

Water damage negligence for the second time!

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Water damage negligence for the second time!

My flat has awful water damage because the landlord above failed to service his water cylinder for 6 years and it burst leaking into my tenanted flat. He accepts no responsibility and says his tenant refused him access for 6 years. negligence

This is the second time I have had water damage from his flat. I am fully insured but I would prefer to claim from his insurance and if not at least reclaim my excess from him.

What are my chances please?

Susan



Comments

Neil Patterson

10:09 AM, 2nd June 2016
About 3 years ago

Hi Susan,

The below is a comment from Annette Stone on a previous similar article >> http://www.property118.com/constant-water-leaks-from-the-flat-abov/33592/

"As a managing agent with 21 years experience whatever the situation is, if there is a managing agent this is their problem to sort out and if there is no managing agent then it is for the freeholder to deal with this. You can probably find out who the freeholder is by seeing who you pay your building insurance premium and ground rent to and if you cannot find this or get a positive response then do a land registry search on the freehold title and this should provide what you need.

Your lease should contain a clause relating to the peaceful and quiet enjoyment of each flat and the responsibility of the other flats not to cause nuisance and disruption. Either the managing agent or the freeholder has to deal with the immediate issue of the leak and the subsequent repairs and then deal with the ongoing nuisance caused by repeated floods.

If an insurance excess is raised above what is considered a normal excess (and I have seen policies which have raised the excess on water damage claims to £5,000 per claim) then there are grounds for claiming this from the owner of the flat which caused the problem, particularly where there are repeated leaks and clear evidence of negligence by residents or lack of attention to pipes, wastes, sealants etc"

Mandy Thomson

13:44 PM, 2nd June 2016
About 3 years ago

The freeholder's building insurance should pay for the damage to your flat, as this was caused by something outside your flat over which you had no control.

If the other leaseholder refuses to repair the tank or plumbing that's causing the problem, then as Neil suggests, involve the freeholder there too. All the leaseholders are accountable to them for violating another owner or occupier's right to quiet enjoyment of their property and are in breach of the lease if they refuse to address the issue.

terry sullivan

14:00 PM, 2nd June 2016
About 3 years ago

but does freeholder have power to enforce if not specifically provided for in lease?

if freeholder refuses to act then what next?

Mandy Thomson

14:18 PM, 2nd June 2016
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "terry sullivan" at "02/06/2016 - 14:00":

As Neil has stated, all leases will provide for the quiet enjoyment of all occupiers which will bind each leaseholder and freeholder. The clause will say something along the lines of "Not to cause a nuisance or annoyance or suffer others to cause same..." And in the case of the freeholder "To allow all occupiers quiet enjoyment..."

In other words, the leaseholder is breaching the lease by causing a nuisance, as he/she refuses to fix the water tank, and is supposedly suffering his/her tenant to add to this by accepting their totally unreasonable refusal to allow access to the flat for repairs.

terry sullivan

14:21 PM, 2nd June 2016
About 3 years ago

thanx

David Lawrenson

14:25 PM, 2nd June 2016
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Neil Patterson" at "02/06/2016 - 10:09":

Very sound advice from Neil/ Annette there.
I cannot add more.
What is interesting, as an aside, for those considering whether to buy a flat or house, is the level of excess on claims.

Neil is correct that excesses on flats have been raised to very high levels these days for water related damage claims.
in part, this is related to the growth of buy to let, and specifically the growth of what I call the "amateur end of buy to let".
Here we are talking about amateur landlords and letting agents who let a flat and give absolutely no consideration or guidance to their tenants about looking out for leaks or contact details for themselves or a reliable plumber.

All too often a huge damage claim effects lots of flats in the same block - and so the block insurers have responded by hiking excesses where leakage of water is found to the source of the problem.

It is one more reason to buy a freehold house rather than a flat, if you can.

David Lawrenson
Private Rent advice and Consulting
http://www.LettingFocus.com
David Lawrenson recently posted...Rent Controls in London

terry sullivan

14:33 PM, 2nd June 2016
About 3 years ago

i would never again buy leasehold--maybe with freehold as well--aggro galore with om etc

Mike

3:09 AM, 3rd June 2016
About 3 years ago

I can only give one advise to any landlord, if water has damaged any ceilings downstairs, if they are made of lath construction, have the ceiling replaced with new plasterboards, as taking short cut here could prove fatal, one such downstairs landlord did not fix the ceiling properly and allowed it to dry after an extensive water damage, and one night two years later the ceiling collapsed narrowly missing killing or seriously injuring a new tenant, large chunks of ceiling fell on the tenants pillow. The tenant was extremely lucky not to have been injured. So we are always being reminded of gas safety, bad ceilings can kill too.

michelle mor

10:19 AM, 3rd June 2016
About 3 years ago

I have just bought a property and have tenants waiting to move in but can not due to after pulling up the floor boards finding it is flooded due to the next door blocking up the down pipe drain out side so when it rains it gets flooded and because I am lower it is just running into my house and I am having to keep pumping it out this has been going on for 3 months I have spoken to them and they will not have it that it is their fault because the rain water is not going down the drain. The water board saaid it's an environmental issue they say it's next doors problem and I am getting nowhere with sorting it out. Does anyone have any advice of what I can do.

Nick Pope

9:16 AM, 4th June 2016
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "michelle mor" at "03/06/2016 - 10:19":

If the downpipe or underground pipe is blocked within the boundaries of their property it is their responsibility to ensure that it flows away property and you can sue for any damage to your property and it is possible that their buildings insurance policy may cover 3rd party damage.

It's not clear from your post how old the properties are or whether there is a public storm drain (i.e. the underground pipe flows outside the boundaries) maintained by the local water company or whether the water flows to a soakaway (big hole in the ground filled with rubble and covered in earth) - this would be common in houses built 1930's or later.
To complicate the matter some houses have public pipe in front and soakaways at the rear so you would need to ascertain exactly where the drains go.
I suggest that a quick word with your friendly local solicitor would be in order or (and I hesitate to support my own profession) a chat with a Chartered Surveyor.
Subject to their advice then do a letter to the neighbours making clear your intention to go to the County Court for damages to the property, loss of rent, costs for your time and anything else you can think of. This should focus their minds on sorting it out.

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