Leak Trace my responsibility? Not covered on insurance because "no damage"?

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    Leak Trace my responsibility? Not covered on insurance because "no damage"?

    My hot water cylinder header tank float valve wasn't working properly, and subsequently water was overflowing into the overflow pipe which we discovered itself also had a problem.

    The flat downstairs was getting water ingress from 'somewhere', no-one could figure out where. A plumber was called in by the Management company, but he actually failed to find the cause of the problem. The Management company then sent their own surveyor in, and he discovered the problem. It seems that the overflow pipe which comes from the hot water header tank has a crack in it, as even though water was overflowing into it, it wasn't coming out the end, but leaking into the concrete floor under which it is buried. It is a plastic pipe, and the general consensus of opinion is that at some point in time, there has been movement which has either cracked the pipe or broken a join, or something... whatever the cause, it leaks somewhere under the floor. I wasn't aware of the problem with the float valve as of course, there was no visible overflow I could see.

    I organised and paid a plumber to come and fix the source of the overflow (my float valve) which of course stopped the flow, and the water ingress.

    I was told by the surveyor at the time, that tracing a leak is covered under the buildings insurance, and if the pipe needed changing, it would only be the cost of the pipe I would be liable for, a few quid for a few metres of plastic pipe and any building work etc (i.e digging up my floor to replace the pipe) would be covered.

    I have now received a bill from the Management company for the initial call-out by the plumber to trace the leak (which as mentioned he didn't find). I queried this, and have been told that I am liable because there was no damage to the flat downstairs and subsequently no insurance claim can be made.

    The overflow pipe runs through a structural concrete floor over which I have no control, but it is a solitary pipe that services my flat alone. My Lease states I am not responsible for structural floors, only mentioning vertical walls (which I presume would cover re-plastering etc?). As the damage can only really have occurred through movement of the building, or floor, or could have even been down to poor workmanship at the time of installation, can I be held liable for the costs incurred as a result of the failed pipe?

    Another point that concerns me, is that is the building under insured? If the plumber had put in a bill for £1000 instead of £100, then I would be put in a very difficult financial position.

    Whilst I fully agree and accept that the overflow was my problem, is the water ingress as the pipe is completely out of my control (as opposed to visible pipes in the property).

    Now, ordinarily I would just pay up out of courtesy and goodwill, as clearly the problem stemmed from my flat, but the Management company are just awful to deal with. Rude, don't answer queries, I was almost accused of lying over something which was no more than a misunderstanding and they seem to forget that they are employed by the Residents Association who pay for their services, not the other way round! Another story, I won't start on that one...

    So, am I undoubtedly (and without question) liable for the cost of the initial plumber because there was no damage to the flat below, so no claim can be made, or is this a grey area and the management company are simply expecting me to cough up without questioning my liability? Or should the cost of the plumber be equally spread across the service charges the residents pay?

    They want everything to be above board and correct, and so do I. It's only fair and proper.

    Thank you in advance.

    #2
    I think you have correctly come to the same view as me that it is down to you.

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