Another 'Flood from Above' Question

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    Another 'Flood from Above' Question

    I own a lower ground floor flat. Back in January I noticed water leaking down a wall from the ceiling in my kitchen. I went upstairs and showed the ground floor residents (GFR) the problem and recommended find the source and get the issue rectified. At this stage the damage to my wall was negligible. Over the next couple of weeks there were two further leaks (that I noticed), each time I reported this upstairs. The GFR then said that they had looked in the bathroom but could not find an easy, maybe the problem was coming from outside, or even the flats above?

    Building contractor came out and verified the issue was not coming from outside or any other source than the ground floor flat. Again this was reported upstairs.

    Early Feb one evening the previous leaks morphed into a serious flood. I immediately notified the GFR, who said it was odd that there was a leak as they were out. For more than 2 hours the leaks grew and spread across the walls, ceiling, streaming down the walls onto my laminate flooring. I spent the time spreading newspaper down and replacing it as quickly it saturated. More than once I updated the GFR on the status of the leak. After they had returned the leak did finally stop, only to start up again for another few minutes and then finally abate.

    The next day the GFR came to inspect the damage in my flat, and whilst chatting it transpired that a pipe under the sink had cracked, and the reason for the 2-hour + flood was that the sink tap had inadvertently been left running whilst they were out.

    The walls and ceiling are now damp stained. The laminate swelled at the seams in several areas, and a week later I noticed that 2 sections had popped up, one being in the doorway between kitchen and living room. Two contractors have confirmed that they only way to repair this is to replace the laminate throughout.

    I discussed how the redecorating was going to be paid for with the GFR, offering to use my contents policy if they agreed to pay the £250 excess. They said that they'd rather use the building policy which the freeholders purchased (we are both leaseholders). So the claim is lodged with them. The excess for water damage is a hefty £750.

    I get two quotes for the redecorating and two for the laminate, so far the insurance company has agreed to the decorating work (cost £820 + VAT) but now, 3 months after the flood, the GFR is refusing to pay the excess. He now insists that he is only liable for the decorating work, and has found someone who will do the job for £90/ day plus materials. He now says that the floor is not his problem as I 'didn't take sufficient steps to minimise the damage' according to him, even though he was never there whilst the flood was occurring - he was informed that there may be an issue with the laminate immediately after the flood.

    So the questions are - a) can I reject their offer of the decorator on the grounds that the decorator they have chosen is an unknown quantity, sounds too cheap to be any good, and I would rather go with the company who the insurers have already accepted?

    -b) do I have grounds to sue them for payment of this £750 (at the small claims court if needs be)? Will their defence of 'well, we offered to pay for the redecorating' be valid, given a) above?

    - c) can they reasonably deny responsibility for damaging the laminate?



    Sorry to hear about your problems. People can be such f***wits. Yeah, reject upstairs' offers to decorate. Sue them for the excess. Regarding the laminate, that will just be extra to add to your decorating claim, won't it?


      Many thanks for the reply.

      To me it is a clear cut case of negligence, not only that they were told repeatedly that there was a leak coming from their property that needed fixing, but also when the pipe did finally crack completely they'd gone out leaving the tap running (for 2 hours).

      Just wanted to check that they can't get out of their responsibility by saying, well we did offer to pay for a decorator, when as other contractors have pointed out, the chances of the £90/ day being any good are remote.

      Yes, the laminate cost will be added to the total claim, it is just the £750 excess that needs paying (by the GFR).

      Assuming I do have to sue, I think I'm right that I can add costs to the claim for my time in addition to the costs of bringing the case?


        Originally posted by ser999 View Post

        Assuming I do have to sue, I think I'm right that I can add costs to the claim for my time in addition to the costs of bringing the case?
        I wouldn't. I suspect winning on the other matters will be satisfaction enough. You don't want to put the judge offside by seeming greedy. They can be sanctimonious so&so's.


          So the guy upstairs is digging his heels in...I have had to send Letter Before Action to try to receive the excess of £750.

          He says he's not been negligent as he tried to fix the leak, even though his attempts were obviously unsuccessful - he says he grouted the bath, even though I said to him that I didn't think the bath was the issue (and he'd told me it was dry underneath), as the area of the leak was different to previous leaks 2+ years ago which had been bath related.

          So, how much inept effort can someone make to ward off claims of negligence for a repeated leak that eventually became a flood? At no point did they get a proper plumber in. And when the flood did finally happen, they found the source and fixed it next day - why couldn 't they have done that beforehand?

          I am still fairly confident that going out leaving a tap running, the crack in the pipe that had been causing the previous leaks fails catastrophically, or the volume of water from the running tap is sufficiently forceful, and the leak continues for almost 3 hours, this is negligence. I emailed and texted them at 19.00 that there was a serious flood going on, I received a reply to the text 10 minutes later - we're out this evening but will take a look ASAP - send more updates via text and email 8pm, 9pm, and on...he only got back 10pm. Again, he could have chosen to come back sooner. Again, negligence.


            Oh, you convinced me some time ago. I think it's up to the judge now.


              OK, great...but a second/ third/ fourth opinion never hurt...!!! Especially if this is going the distance...


                Trying hard doesn't overcome negligence unless the owner can show they genuinely believed they had fixed the problem.
                When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).


                  The first thing they said they did was check under the bath, reported that it was dry but sealed the area anyway. I reported to them a further leak after this time and suggested that the source of the leak was somewhere else., given the area affected in my kitchen. They then suggested maybe the water was coming from the top flat, and not them. A contractor came and said point blank the source was their flat. There was a 2-week period when there was no leak, or at least no leak that I witnessed, and they are saying that because of this hiatus they thought the problem had been resolved.

                  Of course, today there was another leak in another part of the ceiling coming from their bathroom. My patience has long gone.

                  I have sent a LBA for the excess, although I am also checking with the Property Management company whether the lease allows for the excess to the charged to their maintenance account, which would solve the problem instantly (for me, whether they pay the management company will be another matter).


                    I would be suing IIWY. If you ask for it from the service charge, you will be paying a part of it.


                      I have asked the management company whether they can be charged specifically, not for the excess to be added to the whole bill, as yes that would mean me paying 1/4, and the upper flat lessees (who happen to be the freeholders) paying half (which no doubt they wouldn't be very happy about, given the negligence). Hopefully the lease allows for such an occurrence, but if not the LBA has been sent so that course of action can be plan B.


                        Further to this now long running drama, the insurance company has paid out for the flooring and redecoration, leaving just the issue of the £750 excess. I have had no formal response to my LBA, just a few emails - the ground floor lessee now says that he will pay the £750, but only once the redecoration work is done and he can see the invoice. I have told him no, on the grounds that a) I don't want to be chasing him for payment after I have paid out, even though he says he will definitely pay (ha!) and b) how and when I do the work is actually no business of his, the insurance pay out covers the loss in value/ cost to restore, and should I choose to live with the damage that is my right/ prerogative. The ground floor lessee has openly said that he doesn't want to pay the excess and for that money to just sit in my account, but the excess is for both the flooring and the decoration, and he is mistaken to think that should I take the money and do no work then I am better off - my flat has suffered damage, and there will be a cost at some point down the line to restoring the condition back to how it was.

                        So we're still going to the SCC, but can I check that point b) is actually correct, and the judge won't deem is offer to be a fair one?


                          I think you are taking a risk in trusting a judge to see things your way. I'd get the work done asap IIWY.


                            Earliest I can possibly do is September due to work commitments...and the issue of trusting the ground floor guy to actually follow through is not a risk I really want to take. Surely he has no grounds to withhold payment until the work is actually done?


                              Ah, well once again, it's not what I think. It's what excuse you give an a'hole judge to find against you.


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