A slightly more complicated water damage issue

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    A slightly more complicated water damage issue


    I own and am the landlord of a flat. The flat below is landlord owned and has tenants, the flat below them is owner occupied

    There has been an issue with a leak from the flat below mine into the flat below his, it has caused damage to the bathrooms in both flats.

    The flat below mine is now claiming that the leak originates in my flat, water is coming from behind the plasterboard and into his flat behind the bath and then leaking to the flat below his.

    He has sent me pictures and is adamant the leak comes from my flat, he's suggesting I meet up with the plumber and take a look, and then use the same plumber to sort the problem in my flat out.

    I lived in my flat for 10 years, I know both flats and it doesn't make sense to me that a leak would originate above his bathroom - its a bedroom above there. There is no sign of any leak in my flat.

    I have had dealings with I'm in the past and I don't trust him. He's already talking about liability and how I need to pay for everything. I get the feeling this isn't going to be a straightforward issue

    When I suggested we need to get our own plumber in to have a look before he made good the damage and to determine the source of the leak so it could be resolved and we could determine who is liable he became a bit agressive. when I pointed out that insurance companies are likely to need to investigate who is liable he wasn't happy, told me he doesn't have any and said I should just pay as its my fault.

    I do have landlords insurance.

    Any advice on how to proceed and what my rights are would be greatly appreciated. I'm not looking to get out of paying what I am liable for


    I would just relay everything in your post to your landlord insurer. I do not know the extent of coverage on your insurance policy but things that will help are:

    "Trace and Access" cover which would cover the locating and repairing of the leak
    "Property Owners Liability" cover which would cover any damage that you are liable for
    "Legal Expenses" cover for any legal disputes that arise in relation to the property

    If nothing else, your insurer should provide the necessary advice of what to do next.

    I would not entertain conversations/disputes with your neighbour, just simply say that your insurer will deal with it as they are the experts.
    Steve Smith - Company Director at a leading Landlord Insurance broker with 20+ years experience in the industry
    LandlordZONE Verified Poster and Topic Expert for Landlords Insurance since 2009
    See my profile for contact details


      You can get a leak from a bedroom if the bedroom has a radiator. I have experience of a leaking central heating pipe under floorboards causing damage to a room below. It was a real pain to find as at first it appeared to be penetrating damp. You can also get leaks running a fair way under floorboards before a low point to get out.

      Personally I'd meet their plumber - putting it firmly in the hands of your insurer is not a bad idea but takes longer to sort it out and with the potential for more damage..


        There's no default liability for a leak.
        Leaks happen, and unless there's been either negligence or a deliberate act to cause the leak, the question of liability doesn't arise.
        And as there isn't really anything anyone can do to "maintain" pipework, negligence is a bit of a stretch.

        However, now you have been told that the neighbour thinks there's a leak, you would be negligent if you didn't investigate and fix it (if it exists).

        I'd get your own plumber in sharpish and worry about insurance if there's some serious issue.

        It doesn't matter what the room is, pipes are all over the place.
        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).


          Thanks very much, I'm going round to have a look this evening, and I'll be calling a plumber tomorrow and speaking to the insurance company once I've spoken to the plumber

          the flat below and is already talking about who pays and the flat below them is talking about liability already.

          All your advice is very helpful, thanks


            If its a leak from radiator and went though 2 flats and is visable im sure you will have noticed, you would have had to top boiler up and bleed radiators. Hes trying it on already said hasn't got insurance so hes blaming you


              It's one of those situations where the widely held belief, that it's always the responsibility of whoever had the leak who ends up paying for the damage, is wrong.
              But it's so widely held that lots of people pay out and it starts to become true.
              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).


                Thanks for the advice


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