Lower flat's ceiling damaged- leak from my bathroom

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  • Lower flat's ceiling damaged- leak from my bathroom

    I have landlord insurance as I rent out my flat to two students. Unknown to all of us there has been a small water drip in the bathroom over a period of time that has resulted in a part of the neighbour’s ceiling below caving in. Who is responsible for the repair – me or my neighbour’s insurance company?

  • #2
    Originally posted by mattl2 View Post
    I have landlord insurance as I rent out my flat to two students. Unknown to all of us there has been a small water drip in the bathroom over a period of time that has resulted in a part of the neighbour’s ceiling below caving in. Who is responsible for the repair – me or my neighbour’s insurance company?
    What does your lease have to say about it? Are you and your neighbour not insured by the same company?

    All other things being equal, I would have thought it was your responsibility, but I am not an expert. It might be worth re-posting this in 'Insurance Questions'.
    'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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    • #3
      Ceiling damage

      I have landlord insurance as I rent out my flat to two students. Unknown to all of us there has been a small water drip in the bathroom over a period of time that has resulted in a part of the neighbour’s ceiling below caving in. Who is responsible for the repair – me or my neighbour’s insurance company?

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      • #4
        report it to both your insurance companies and they will sort it out.
        ASSUME NOTHING - QUESTION EVERYTHING!

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        • #5
          If it's a flat, what about the block's property insurance policy? Liaise with freehold reversioner, L, or Managing agent of block.
          JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
          1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
          2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
          3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
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          • #6
            It is assumed that there is one building insurance covering the whole property in which case it is this one company that is claimed from as there is no one else involved.

            In the unlikely event that insurance has been arranged separately for each flat then it is the downstairs flat that needs to make a claim on their own insurance as it is damage to their property.

            If they hold you legally responsible for the damage then they will need to do so "officially". Simply forward any correspondence of this sort to your insurance company with your side of the story who will deal with it appropriately. If you are deemed liable then your liability insurance within your building policy would cover it but I doubt this will happen as long as the leak is now sorted and causes no further damage. If not liable then your insurer should "officially" confirm to the other party that they have no legal grounds to claim.

            Of course, a block policy would avoid these problems and would be recommended if not already arranged (you will probably save money too).
            Steve Smith - Company Director at a leading Landlord Insurance broker with 17+ years experience in the industry
            LandlordZONE Verified Poster and Topic Expert for Landlords Insurance since 2009
            See my profile for contact details

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            • #7
              Bathroom leaks

              We have an ongoing problem with mouldy tiles and rotting plasterboard in our let property bathroom. It was repaired last year by removing plasterboard and retiling but the problem has returned. Our letting agent considered this to be a building insurance claim. This has been turned because they found no evidence of leaks behind the walls but I don't know how they would know this without pulling away the plasterboard. An estimating contractor said they could not discount the possibility of a leak. Our apartment is on the first floor in a 6-storey block. Am I being fobbed off or is it worth taking this further and if so who with?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by jicms View Post
                We have an ongoing problem with mouldy tiles and rotting plasterboard in our let property bathroom. It was repaired last year by removing plasterboard and retiling but the problem has returned.
                Not sure what 'rotting' plasterboard is - it doesn't rot as such. What exactly are the symptoms?

                Mould on tiles implies to me that the source is in front, rather than behind the tiles (which would otherwise tend to seal the problem in, if it was a leak?) and that the problem may be one of condensation. How well ventilated is the bathroom/property?

                Try reading this

                I would have thought that if the plasterboard was removed and replaced last year, then once the old stuff was off it would then have been pretty obvious whether there was a leak behind it.

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                • #9
                  Thanks for the help. This has been quite a battle. My initial claim was turned down due to "lack of evidence of a leak" which I could not identify as it was not within our apartment and was eventually found a few floors above. The leak has now been dealt with and I am claiming through insurance for repair of ongoing extensive water damage to the bathrooms' tiling.

                  The insurance company are offering names of their contractors to quote for the repair. Am I right in thinking this is not a good idea. I have only had one quote so far so will need at least one other. The property is hundreds of miles away so I don't know any recommended contractors.

                  Some of the original tiles used are damanged/missing and it's likely they are no longer available. Is it reasonable to request a different, more easily maintained tile, if necessary paying to match up and replace any undamaged areas?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by jicms View Post
                    Thanks for the help. This has been quite a battle. My initial claim was turned down due to "lack of evidence of a leak" which I could not identify as it was not within our apartment and was eventually found a few floors above. The leak has now been dealt with and I am claiming through insurance for repair of ongoing extensive water damage to the bathrooms' tiling.

                    The insurance company are offering names of their contractors to quote for the repair. Am I right in thinking this is not a good idea. I have only had one quote so far so will need at least one other. The property is hundreds of miles away so I don't know any recommended contractors.

                    Some of the original tiles used are damanged/missing and it's likely they are no longer available. Is it reasonable to request a different, more easily maintained tile, if necessary paying to match up and replace any undamaged areas?
                    If the insurance company will accept it, you can employ a local surveyor to manage the project, as this is one of the downsides of not having a local agent if you are a long way a way. If the block has a managing agent they might give you a few numbers as they will be dealing with the excess anyway.
                    Based on the information posted, I offer my thoughts.Any action you then take is your liability. While commending individual effort, there is no substitute for a thorough review of documents and facts by paid for professional advisers.

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                    • #11
                      Well we do have full management through our letting agent and our management company are dealing with the claim on our behalf.

                      I'm concerned that an insurance company recommended contractor will not have our best interests at heart as the work will be unsupervised by us. A surveyor sounds expensive but I will ask about this. I imagine the insurance company will make us go with the cheapest quote.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by jicms View Post
                        Well we do have full management through our letting agent and our management company are dealing with the claim on our behalf.

                        I'm concerned that an insurance company recommended contractor will not have our best interests at heart as the work will be unsupervised by us. A surveyor sounds expensive but I will ask about this. I imagine the insurance company will make us go with the cheapest quote.
                        Ok with a letting agent they should be able to assist with contractors and if they dont have surveyors/property managers in house I am sure they can recommend someone.

                        I am sure if you ask the agent as full manangement normally extends to repairs to properties, even if its an extra fee unless they feel it is beyond them.

                        I would exact a decent agent on full management terms to be leading on this not leaving it to you
                        Based on the information posted, I offer my thoughts.Any action you then take is your liability. While commending individual effort, there is no substitute for a thorough review of documents and facts by paid for professional advisers.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          EDITED TO MAKE MORE SENSE!

                          Hello,

                          I'm having a similar problem. I own a flat in a large older block of over 40 flats where we have a buildings insurance policy for the communal sections, but we each have responsibility for our own internal contents insurance.

                          The owner of the flat below me has claimed intermittently now for 2 1/2 years that my flat is leaking from its bathroom into his own and causing water damage. Each time I am made aware of this, I have investigated throughly through all my pipes, and and I have have several visits from plumbers and they cannot find any evidence of a leak from my pipes up to the point where they enter the communal system.

                          Based on this, and conversations with my insurance company, I have repeatedly advised the owner and his tenants that if they believe there is an issue, then it needs to be raised through his insurance company and our respective companies will then arbitrate to identify where fault lies. I have been told by my insurers that I cannot make an insurance claim for repairs to his flat, while there is no evidence of a fault in my own flat.

                          It appears that there is an issue with the bathroom in the flat below, and that the roof has some kind of damage to it. What is not clear is what has caused it, and more importantly, as no repairs have been done, the problem appears to have spread. The problem is that the damage appears to be in a corner by where the communal pipes run, so its not clear where the leak is coming from. Certainly plumbers who've looked at my pipes can find no evidence of a leak from my visible plumbing.

                          The landlord has refused to file with his insurers since June 2008, and continues to insist that I pay to have the problem fixed, and pay him compensation for the damage. My response has always been the same - I can't fix a problem that no professional has found any evidence of, and I am only prepared to deal with him through our respective insurance companies (or the actual building insurance if it turns out to be communal issue).

                          I've now been asked if I can facilitate access for the management company to my flat to see for themselves next week as apparently the owner is claiming yet another leak. I have no problem doing this, as I have nothing to hide - however am I within my rights to insist that only appointed employees of the management company enter, and that the owner of the flat below cannot come in - I simply don't trust him, and my insurers have advised me to have no contact with him ahead of any formal claim.

                          My gut instinct is that the owner hasn't got private insurance for the property - without wanting to cast aspersions, he's done no maintenance work to repair any damage allegedly caused since 2008, and continues to demand that I pay him. He refuses to contact his insurers, despite my regularly telling the management company that I can't do anything until he begins a claim.

                          Assuming a leak is found, where do I stand in terms of responsibility? I've done some surfing on the web, and there is a lot of discussion about liability for 'negligence'. In my case, I have received a few communications from the management company or owner reporting a leak - on each occasion I have investigated, called out plumbers and not had any evidence found. I have reported those facts back promptly, along with the recommendation that in those circumstances, the owner below needs to file an insurance claim so we can get the process rolling. On each occasion I have heard nothing more from the owner of the flat below.

                          So, my questions are -

                          1. where do I stand on refusing him access to my property?
                          2. If he hasnt got insurance, and there is no evidence of a leak in my flat, would further action can he take?
                          3. If evidence of a leak is now found, am I liable for negligence if previous visits by professionals have never identified a leak?
                          4. Any other advice on how to handle this gratefully received!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            You can refuse access to the downstairs resident however I would recommend that you do so as politely as possible, and say that its best that the agent resolve matters between us as they are professionals in handling these matters and you both want to sort it out and you dont to complicate it over further arguments between you.

                            Allow the managing agents to come with a plumber so that water tests can be done to the plumbing*

                            I would expect that the consequential damage shoud be covered by the insurance policy except to his contents.

                            It depends on the cause of the leak, Dodgy DIY alterations and inappropriate uses * may mean that you have a liability, if fault can be shown. If the professionals have missed it then you may be liable to your neighbour, and have some redress against the plumbers.

                            * causes such as defective seal to the bath and tiles, porous grouting, over wetting the floor especially if its not actually a wet room only tiled, floor tiles with poor seals to the wall joints, or those glass screens which are only good for washing a child behind, under load of a person in the bath, seals and leaks appear and close when no water or person is in it.

                            A camera scope is useful to trace up any soil stacks out of sight to see if the leak is not under the bath but in the void somewhere.

                            It may be that water supplies are tiled over or under the floor and need opening up.

                            Dye tests can be used as well.

                            If the building is old there may an old feed pipe that has been capped off but is leaking. Very common with old lead feeds and barrel pipework.
                            Check that trace and access is covered by the insurance policy.
                            Based on the information posted, I offer my thoughts.Any action you then take is your liability. While commending individual effort, there is no substitute for a thorough review of documents and facts by paid for professional advisers.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Thanks very much for that - I've already told the management company they're most welcome to visit as requested and hopefully we can sort this out.

                              Its frustrating though as he refuses to get the insurance company involved to even get the ball rolling, and is insiting I pay him a cash settlement. We seem to be stalling on this matter as I, obviously, won't solve this outside of the framework of insurance companies.

                              Lets see how it goes!

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