Water damage- our fault but who pays?

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    Water damage- our fault but who pays?

    We have recently accidentally flooded our downstairs neighbour. We have a recurring problem every morning of little or no water pressure in the mornings and one morning my partner turned on the tap, and there was no water, but forgot to turn it back off. Then after we had gone to work, the pressure came back, the tap started running, and eventually flooded downstairs.

    We have just been given a bill by the people below, saying pay up! are we liable, or should the landlords insurance cover it, and if not, shouldn't the neighbours have shown us a couple of quotes before going ahead with the work?

    #2
    Originally posted by TGMoon
    We have just been given a bill by the people below, saying pay up! are we liable, or should the landlords insurance cover it, and if not, shouldn't the neighbours have shown us a couple of quotes before going ahead with the work?
    Well, either way the neighbours should have contacted you before getting repairs done; maybe even more so if it was going to be an insurance job. I think it's highly unlikely that any insurer will pay up now (yours or your landlord's); the insurance co would have wanted to come and inspect the damage, then maybe they'd have a list of approved contractors and/or specific criteria and instructions to follow before the work was carried out.

    I would have thought that the landlord's insurance would have covered the damage, but now that the work is done you may be up the creek. I should ask the LL to contact his insurer and see what they have to say. How much money is involved, by the way?

    Comment


      #3
      Eric you're getting into deep water! Geddit?

      Insurance companies will NOT renege on their responsibilities just like that, and as it's an emergency situation then there will be some protection. It could appear that both parties might be uninsured but highly unlikely.

      If the landlord of the rented flat had no insurance then it would be reasonable to have expoected him to do so, even though ti was tenanted. He has a duty of care to others and should at the least have ahd public liability cover. The flat that was damaged should also have some insurance cover so I would be investigating this before anybody pays anything to anybody.
      The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

      Comment


        #4
        thanks for the answers guys. the amount isn't huge.... 600, but it just seems a bit strange that the neighbours below can make the decision to either, go down the insurance route, or just get their own people in (which they did) without any consultation from us! god knows how much redecoration of unaffected could have been done and charged us (though i believe they haven't). Is it not the case, even if insurance isn't involved, that we should at least have some say in quotes etc?

        p.s. isn't it law that the landlord has some sort of building insurance to cover this sort of thing? and isn't the landlord obliged to supply running water 24/7 ? so even though it was our negligence leavening the tap on, isn't it also partly the landlords responsibility for not supplying 24/7 water?

        Comment


          #5
          it just seems a bit strange that the neighbours below can make the decision to either, go down the insurance route, or just get their own people in (which they did) without any consultation from us!
          The law of nuisance, in a nutshell, is that if you bring anything onto your land (in this case water) and allow it to escape onto your neighbours land causing damage, you are liable for the damage.

          So quite obvisously you are liable to your neighbour in this instance. The question them becomes a matter of quantum, how much damages should you pay. Your neighbour has a duty to mitigate his damages and if the property was flooded it is reasonable to assume that prompt action was likely to reduce the amount of damages (water does not do buildings any good).

          Just pay up.
          NOTE: Steven Palmer BSc (Hons) MRICS MBEng is an official LandlordZONE Topic Expert and a Director of Davisons Palmer Lim Any advice given by Steven in this Forum is of a general nature only and should not be acted upon without first obtaining advice specific to your problem/situation from a professional.

          Comment


            #6
            TGMoon, it is not your landlord's fault and it is not your downstairs neighbours fault that your partner left the tap on so do not look to shift the responsibility on someone else.

            You can't expect your downstairs neighbour to wait weeks before having the flat fixed, people are living there and they can't live on wet carpets and damaged furniture. Remember, they didn't ask to be flooded.

            You should have insurance on the property (at least content) and in my opinion it should be your insurance covering it. You should contact your insurance company explaining what happened and they'll tell you what will happen.

            As regards to the problem with water pressure, contact your landlord and ask him to look into it.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Jennifer_M
              You should have insurance on the property (at least content) and in my opinion it should be your insurance covering it.
              I may be wrong, but is flood damage to a neighbours' property going to be covered by a house contents policy? Surely that sort of thing will come under buildings insurance?

              Several folk here seem to be saying it's not unreasonable to have gone ahead and carried out repairs without first contacting any insurance company. Well I hope they are right, and that somewhere along the line an insurance company coughs up; however, I fail to see why it would not have been possible to contact them in advance of the work being done. Of course the repairs needed to be carried out PDQ, but most insurers have a 7-day claims help line, and at the very least it would have helped the claimant's case to have placed that call, on the day the damage occurred.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Ericthelobster
                I may be wrong, but is flood damage to a neighbours' property going to be covered by a house contents policy? Surely that sort of thing will come under buildings insurance?

                Several folk here seem to be saying it's not unreasonable to have gone ahead and carried out repairs without first contacting any insurance company. Well I hope they are right, and that somewhere along the line an insurance company coughs up; however, I fail to see why it would not have been possible to contact them in advance of the work being done. Of course the repairs needed to be carried out PDQ, but most insurers have a 7-day claims help line, and at the very least it would have helped the claimant's case to have placed that call, on the day the damage occurred.
                Well in some cases content insurance covers personal liability against third party claims against you.

                And isn't the person at fault who should be contacting his insurance straight away ? I mean like in a car crash, the person at fault is the one claiming. Unless I'm missing something.

                Comment


                  #9
                  thanks everyone.

                  i'm not trying to shift blame, but just making sure that we're not paying for something that we shouldn't be. As for the water pressure, we're currently in dispute with the LL regarding this, and have been for 6 months, to no avail.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    it would be easy for the landlord to fit a cold water tank this would solve the water problem to a degree, and only cost only 200 pounds tops,but on the insurance issue im a bit confused surley if water comes and floods your house from where ever your own insurance surley should pay? what if the above flat caught fire and the fire brigade came and put the fire out and in the process flooded your flat below?

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Even though the insurer of the person who has been flooded might pay, there may be an excess, and the fact of making a claim might increase future premiums. So it may be in their interests to claim against the person who caused the flood and let them claim on their insurers if they can.
                      Disclaimer: What I say is either right or wrong. It may be advisable to check what I say with a solicitor. If he says I am right then I am right, unless he is wrong in which case I am wrong; but if he says I am wrong then I am wrong, unless he is wrong in which case I am right

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I think it’s very cheeky for people to assume that the victim of the flood damage should claim on their own insurance. That unfairly and inevitably results in an increase in their premium and has to be declared for the next five years.

                        It is the negligent party who caused the damage in the first place that should pay for all the victim’s costs, expenses and compensation as well as their own costs and expenses. If the negligent party doesn’t (stupidly) have contents insurance themselves, then they must pay from their own pocket.

                        It’s quite simple.

                        Do not be surprised if the flood victim also claims compensation from the negligent party for all the inconvenience caused. I certainly would.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          From my experience of insurance claims, the flat below (i.e. the victims) owner must claim on his own insurance - that is what it is for! His insurers may subsequently attempt to recoup their loss from the owner or the occupiers of the flat above, but they probably won't. The owner's of the flat below may choose to claim any uninsured excess from the owner or occupiers above.

                          And how ridiculous to blame your landlord because the water board had a supply problem. Would you blame him for power cuts too? Get real!

                          Comment


                            #14
                            If you have been led to believe in the past that the victim’s insurance record must suffer through no fault of their own, then you’ve gone wrong and/or soft along the way.

                            If someone floods their own property and no one else’s property is damaged, that’s a good case for claiming on your own insurance.

                            Equally if the negligent party has absconded, that’s a good case for claiming on your own insurance.

                            If your leg is snapped clean off in an industrial accident at work, whose insurance pays for that? In your scenario the victim must merely hop away and lick his own wounds.

                            In this particular case where the negligent party is sitting (floating) happily upstairs and not being made to pay for their actions, what is preventing them from being more careful in future? What would the episode have cost the negligent party if your reasoning is followed?

                            Don’t be soft on the perpetrator of this negligence. Remember who the victim is.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Abby
                              And how ridiculous to blame your landlord because the water board had a supply problem. Would you blame him for power cuts too? Get real!
                              Not necessarily at all. I must confess that one of my properties has pretty poor water pressure - nothing like as bad as the poster here; anyway I originally contacted the water supplier about it and was advised it was because the incoming water main on my property was (a) shared with other properties and (b) pretty furred up because of its age. I was further advised that I would need to pay for all the work which needed doing to rectify the problem, up as far as the outside stop cock: it would cost a fortune. At which point I decided it could wait until a tenant complained about it before I sorted it out - but they never have! My point is that if they did ever complain, I acknowledge it would be entirely down to me to sort out the problem (and I would, by the way).

                              Comment

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