Liable for excess?

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    Liable for excess?

    HI

    I am currently renting a flat and my tenant had cracked the bath which they repaired with acrylic. confident this was okay she thought no more.

    Overtime the water leaked into the flat below. My Tenant has since replaced the bath but the tenant from downstairs has said that I am liable
    for the insurance excess of £250 for the damage to their ceiling as well as £120 for an emergency plumber.

    The tenant downstairs is claiming housing benefit for the flat and pops back I would say every 4 months, I am not sure where she spends her time, but If she was there
    as she is supposed to be on a more regular basis then she would have noticed the leak a lot sooner.

    I was under the impression that if housing benefit was being claimed then she should use the flat as her main dwelling.

    Taken this into account is it correct that I should accept to pay the charges. or is that an issue between her and her landlord?

    Many thanks

    K

    #2
    Ask downstairs for details of her landlord so you may pay any funds you are responsible for;...

    You do you 100% KNOW she is on HB?? Seen the benefit award letter?

    Report ANY suspected benefit cheat here...
    https://www.gov.uk/report-benefit-fraud
    - or inform local council HB dept.
    I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

    Comment


      #3
      You are conflating two entirely separate issues.

      You (or your tenant caused damage to the flat below so YOU are responsible for all the losses to the flat below (whether to the tenant or the landlord), not only their insurance excess.

      I have no idea what relevance the housing benefit has to the matter at hand.

      Comment


        #4
        As the tenant downstairs is claiming housing benefit but not using the flat as their main home. She is not there for months at a time if she was there full time then any damage would have been picked up sooner.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by kevla1973 View Post
          As the tenant downstairs is claiming housing benefit but not using the flat as their main home. She is not there for months at a time if she was there full time then any damage would have been picked up sooner.
          I think that is mostly irrelevant. What is relevant is that you (or your tenant) caused the damage. It is unfortunate that they did not pick it up earlier but that does not change the locus of responsibility, because it is not their responsibility.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by AndrewDod View Post
            I think that is mostly irrelevant. What is relevant is that you (or your tenant) caused the damage. It is unfortunate that they did not pick it up earlier but that does not change the locus of responsibility, because it is not their responsibility.
            I agree.
            The HB lady, may have been away for months taking care of erderly relatives or whatever reason.
            I find it hard to gave her any responsibility, I do not see any obligation for her to live there 365 days a year.
            I think the OP is already lucky to have been demanded only excess or not having been asked to use is own insurance and excess.

            Comment


              #7
              Ah, well that's the thing with leasehold flats: it probably will also be o/p's own insurance, as all the flats are covered together on a block policy.

              I have a similar problem with one of mine that has been repeatedly flooded by upstairs's useless tradesmen. Now, I'm sure my neighbour will try to claim on the block insurance, but that will also put up my premiums. However, it seems to me that it should come from his tradesmen's liability insurance.

              Therefore I wonder if o/p should pay up the excess, and plumber costs, and then deduct from his tenant's deposit when he leaves?

              Comment


                #8
                Trying to decide who is liable via a forum thread is unlikely to give you the help you need. You really need an expert to delve into the case to get things right. There is a good chance you have some form of insurance in place that can at least give you some advice on the matter or even handle this situation completely.

                If the tenant is saying you are liable simply ask them to put this officially into writing so it can be sent to your insurer to deal with. Insurance companies will not want to pay out if you are not liable so will completely fight your case. Most buildings insurance policies will have property owners liability cover in them so if you are liable then you are covered and your insurer will handle it and if you are not liable then your insurer will make the downstairs tenant aware that they have no case. If you have a communal block buildings policy this may confuse matters somewhat in terms of making a claim but maybe you have contents insurance or separate liability cover to assist you.

                Your tenant may come into play as they could be deemed negligent for the supposed repair they have made. Your insurer may advise that a claim needs to be made against them in which case they hopefully have an insurance policy that can handle this also (a tenants contents insurance usually has such cover).

                If you or your tenant do not have these extra policies then see if the block buildings insurance has some kind of legal advice that you can use. Even their general claims department may be able to give you some advice on how this should be dealt with. Use the experts that are sitting there waiting for you!
                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

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by AndrewDod View Post
                  You (or your tenant caused damage to the flat below so YOU are responsible for all the losses to the flat below (whether to the tenant or the landlord), not only their insurance excess. .
                  That isn't the case.
                  It might be the case if you were negligent or you did something deliberately (or your tenant did, in which case they might be liable).

                  The person downstairs should claim on their insurance or get their own repairs done and, in the first case the insurance company will deal with the issue and in the latter, they'll have to prove someone was liable (i.e. it wasn't an Act of God).
                  Accidents happen, which is shy there is insurance.
                  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).

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Something that goes wrong with a lessee's faulty/shoddy plumbing installation is not an accident for which lessees of other flats are liable, nor probably is it an "accident" (Act of God). The accident (even if it were one) did not occur within the demise of the freeholder's responsibility to insure. Nor did the resulting damage occur within the demise of the freeholder's responsibility to insure. It is not the responsibility of other lessees to pay for damage of this sort, whether directly or via a higher insurance premium.

                    Yes accidents happen. But the block insurance policy is not the correct or relevant policy, nor would I claim on my personal policy if I was victim of an "accident" due to a rogue plumber upstairs. If asked to do so, I would prefer to sue the owner upstairs.

                    Look at it another way - let us suppose the damage was purely local, i.e. flat #1 had an extensive leak from a pipe within their demise, which caused purely local damage (within their own demise) causing their expensive parquet flooring to swell -- we would hardly expect the block insurance policy to be invoked. The fact that the water traveled between flats does not change the position.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      The owner of the flat upstairs is not automatically liable for damage arising from water that escapes from their plumbing,
                      They might be, if they were negligent or deliberately caused the leak and accepted that liability or a court made them liable.

                      The default position is that they are not liable.
                      You have to be able to show that they are, or get the person you want to hold liable to agree that they are.

                      On a practical level, it is very difficult to move forward with any claim, because all the evidence that you need is often locked away in someone else's property.
                      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).

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Subrogation and insured fault on investigation

                        Hi Ashburnham,

                        Can you comment on this?

                        "Your tenant may come into play as they could be deemed negligent for the supposed repair they have made. Your insurer may advise that a claim needs to be made against them in which case they hopefully have an insurance policy that can handle this also (a tenants contents insurance usually has such cover)."

                        If the insurance had agreed the claim is covered and paid out can they revisit and rescind insurance cover if they decide on investigation that there was negligence in repair / maintenance not by the tenant but by the insured?

                        I have read on this forum that acidental water damage is covered even if it is subsequently found a third party fault and subject to subrogation which makes sense but what if on investigation there is found even partial fault by the insured. I believe this can occur in motor claims where the claim is fully or patially rejected.

                        Stan

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by stan1357 View Post
                          If the insurance had agreed the claim is covered and paid out can they revisit and rescind insurance cover if they decide on investigation that there was negligence in repair / maintenance not by the tenant but by the insured?
                          Why on earth not?

                          I am also not sure that this is the usual usage of the word "Subrogation". Subrogation is when an insurer pays out a claim to the insured and then "steps into the shoes of the INSURED" to claim the loss from a third party. It is not about an insurer mistakenly making a payment to a third party (whether due to fraud or misleading information) and then revisiting the claim itself and the actions of the insured party.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by stan1357 View Post
                            If the insurance had agreed the claim is covered and paid out can they revisit and rescind insurance cover if they decide on investigation that there was negligence in repair / maintenance not by the tenant but by the insured?

                            I have read on this forum that acidental water damage is covered even if it is subsequently found a third party fault and subject to subrogation which makes sense but what if on investigation there is found even partial fault by the insured. I believe this can occur in motor claims where the claim is fully or patially rejected.
                            If an insurer has agreed to pay out this generally means that their investigations are complete in terms of who is liable. I have never heard of an insurer continuing investigations after paying the insured in a claim. They may pay the claim to the insured and then pursue the third party (whether that be a tenant, neighbour, etc.) for repayment of their costs (which is what Subrogation is).

                            My comment was geared towards when the insurer investigates who is negligent and if it is a third party and not something covered under the policy, the insurer will advise the insured to make a claim against them. It is when a legal protection policy can become useful.
                            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

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Subrogation is a term in an insurance policy whereby the insurer recovers the cost of the claim from a third party. My question was if they if on subrogation the insurer decided that there was contributory negligence, like in a motor vehicle accident, they would rescind all or part of the claim payment. Subrogation clause in an insurance policy may be expressly excluded.

                              Since my original post the matter has been settled.

                              Comment

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