Constant water leak from upstairs flat

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    Constant water leak from upstairs flat

    Good evening everyone,

    Hope you all had a lovely Xmas and New Year!

    I am here for help! Basically I feel I am very unlucky, last year I had 5 or 6 bad leaks from my neighbor upstairs. The first one started in March and second one came in May, then another leak in Oct, Nov and January 2019. I now constantly worry about when the next leak is going to arrive. I am in despair!

    The landlord upstairs rents out his flat to {Mod - name removed}, who then sublets it to a horrible human being called Mr A. Mr A then rents it to 5 university students. When leak happened I had to call everyone in the chain above and try to get someone to stop the leak, which was a nightmare. As Mr A normally drags on his feet, I even had to send my own plumber to their flat last year to get things sorted and claimed back my money from the landlord later on.

    The landlord upstairs has paid me 500 pounds excess fee for the first leak (rest covered by building insurance policy), and this is the only payment he has made so far.

    I really want to put a stop to the leak situation but I don't know if suing him is the right way to do it? or do I just keep on claiming the excess charges from him and get the rest back from insurance policy?

    Thank you so much for reading and helping!

    #2
    Please remove the name of the agent.

    You might want to discuss this with whoever organises the insurance, because the insurers won't be making a loss on this sort of claim; they will have upped the premium to cover what they pay out. They may even cancel the escape of water cover, and are very likely to up the excess, as a condition of retaining it.

    Who does the leaseholder of the flat covenant with in relation to this aspect of their responsibilities? Unless they directly covenant with you, you may need to involve the freeholder, as the one that can enforce the covenants.

    Check with your local council as to whether the flat is registered as an HMO (can often be done online), and shop them if it is not. The rules were recently changed and five students in a flat requires Mandatory Licensing. (Even three requires various safety measures to be in place.) If things are this bad, it is likely that they are not licensed and have not done fire risk assessments.

    The general advice on this forum is not to enter rent to rent arrangements, but what you describe appears to involve two layers of rent to rent!

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      #3
      As someone who works as a claims handler in the private rental sector. From an insurer's perspective and as per the advice from leaseholder64, the insurers will want to limit their exposure , so come renewal expect that they will either hike the premium up considerably , put an exorbitant policy excess on escape of water claims or exclude cover on escape of water entirely.

      5 leaks in under 12 months is very worrying , as it could be indicative of either an inherent problem with the pipe work in the flat above, or lack of care by the tenants. With regards to the leaks are they always in the same area ? or different areas of the property ? also are they actual leaks from pipes or is it lack of care by the tenants ( example overflowing shower trays) ? Also are you aware of any leaks between the other flats ( this could indicate a major problem with the pipes in the whole block).

      I am assuming that the buildings insurance covers the whole building block , so they are not able to pursue any recoveries on the claims as technically they also insure the flat above. My advice will be to check your lease agreement , especially what it says about sub-letting as potentially the flat above will have the same terms on their lease, also check with the local council about the licencing as Mr A does sound like a bit of a rogue individual to me. Get some independent legal advice and then start pestering the freeholders about your concerns with regards to lack of maintenance in the flat above and/or the state of the pipe work in the building block, as this is the 5th leak in under 12 months . If the flat above is not licenced , report them to the local council as well.

      Hope this helps and good luck.

      The claims handler.

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