leak damaged landlord's flooring - help!

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  • leak damaged landlord's flooring - help!

    The situation is that we (the tenants ) moved into this house in November. We brought our own washing machine with us.

    Turns out that, unbeknownst to us, there has been a leak from the washing machine at the back going on for some time. We did not realise what was happening until water started squishing up from the bit where the floor ends under the door, and even being forced up between the 'tiles'. (Floor is made of some kind of laminate which resembles tiles.) Plumber came out, diagnosed the washing maching problem and fixed it. Water is not squishing out any more, but floor is swollen and 'blown' where the 'tiles' meet.

    (There is also some kind of slow leak under the sink I believe, the cupboard floor under there is always a bit wet. Plumbers have diagnosed this to be condensation, though? Not sure about this. Pipe leading to stopcock is often a bit wet . - don't know if this could have contributed?)

    Now the thing is the letting agency is blaming us for the problem, as it is out washing machine. They sent out a contracter to quote for a new floor, and some of the plinths need replacing.

    The LA have told me we have to pay, the landlord cannot claim on his buildings insurance as it is our own machine that caused it. But I have been googling on here and it seems that in similar cases often the landlord claims and sorts it. We have Endsleigh insurance which I think includes tenants liability, and they have also told me that often the landlord can claim. Also they will only pay out if it states in our tenancy agreement we are liable.

    Also, I asked about getting other quotes, and the LA told me they will only allow their own contracter to do the work. Seems quite unreasonable and it doesn't seem to mention this in the Tenancy Agreement. If it turns out we can claim on our insurance then I guess this makes no odds, but if we end up paying ourselves, then I would obviously want to get my own quotes.

    Also, the contracter mentioned to me that this type of laminate was not water resistant and was unsuitable for kitchens. He would want to replace with something better. If the flooring had been normal ceramic tiles the water would have stayed on top, litte damage been caused, and we would have been aware of the washing machine problem much earlier. And why should we pay for betterment?

    Sorry this is so long, but am a bit fed up! We moved into this house back in November and the dodgy boiler broke immediatlely. OK they did replace it, but we were cold for quite a while and no compensation/heaters or anything offered by the agency.

    Any comments/advice?

  • #2
    You are required to return the property in the same condition as you found it minus fair wear and tear.

    I would ignore the letting agent and get your own quotes to do the work, and get the work done if it is cost effective.
    Allow tenants to protect their own deposits. I want free money when they do it wrong


    • #3
      Whether the landlord can claim on his insurance, or even if he has insurance, is irrelevant.

      Whilst you have had other problems with the property, they do not make any difference to this problem. The landlord buys insurance for his own protection, not yours. If you want protection against your own actions, you find a broker and buy it.

      In your shoes I would either:

      Get my own contractor in to replace the floor with similar materials; or
      Negotiate with the landlord for him to contribute to the cost in view of wear & tear / unsuitability
      Leave it 'til the end of the tenancy and let the landlord charge you for replacement less fair wear and tear / unsuitability.


      • #4
        What does the repair clause in your tenancy agreement say? Does it exclude liability for damage caused by an insured risk?


        • #5
          Sorry Lawcruncher I didn't see your question before.

          I found this clause in my tenancy agreement:

          'The Tenant agrees to pay for the replacement or repair of any fittings that are broken, lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed during the Term (damage by fire and other insurable risks excepted unless it was the result of any act or omission on the part of the Tenant or any other person residing in or sleeping in or visiting the Property) or at the option of the Landlord to compensate these items."

          So that would seem to mean its our liability?

          I have just had a contracter round to quote and he has also said he would never put laminate in a kitchen or bathroom, especially this kind as it is quite old and just soaks up water. With different flooring the leak would have been apparent straight away and flooring remained undamaged. Do you think this means we could ask the landlord to contribute to the costs?

          Also the insurance company came round to inspect and found another leak under the sink that is caused by aging pipework, ie not our responsibilty. They said this may be partly responsible for the problem as well, so it is all getting very complicated!


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