owner of downstair is about to take legal action against me, still anything I can do?

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    owner of downstair is about to take legal action against me, still anything I can do?

    Sorry this maybe long but I will try to cut it short and hope anyone can give me some advise as it looks like the legal action is unavoidable now.

    Both flats are tenanted, my is above his. Tenants downstairs started to suffer leaking from 3 mon ago, I sent a few plumbers and blockage company to address all the leaking in my bathroom and got everything leak free,

    But the leaking still continues... The management company then stepped in. Checked my flat, leakage found, but concluded the bathroom was in bad condition, so water can easily go downstairs if there is any standing water. Obviously, I had conversation with my tenants and explained this that try not to splash any water to the floor, they were quite cooperative.

    But the leaking still continue.... so I doubted it's some random pipe underneath my floor that's leaking.(not my pipes as we tried to leave all taps on and flushing the toilet for 10mins and no leaking to downstairs). They then asked my to re condition the bathroom, especially change the floor boards etc. I didn't want to as I knew this probably wouldn't stop the leaking. But eventually I agreed and paid management company to do re-condition work, hoping this can put everything to the end and live peacefully. The completion of the work was done early Jan.

    But the leaking still continues... Downstairs then cut down their ceiling, however can not find source of leaking. But the tenant claimed that they can hear my tenants using the bathroom and water splashed on the floor. And that's when the leaking is happening to them. They then concluded is misuse of my tenant to cause the leaking. They now ask me to evict my tenants if I can't ask them stopping using the bathroom as a wetroom. I have spoken again to my tenants and they are very sad and saying that looks like they have to leave and how ridiculous they are being accused of using the the bathroom as a wetroom, which means they take the shower by using the bucket on the floor...

    I can't say my tenants are the best tenants and naturally I cannot be certain what they are saying are true, but I do believe they have not misused the bathroom for a few reason:
    1. They have moved in 1 year and half, if they misuse the bathroom, the leaking would happen since they move in not 3 month ago.
    2. They have been visited over 10 times now for investigation and always be cooperative, if doesn't make sense if they know they were causing the issue.
    3. They are very sad and saying they are discriminated due to their colour but looks like they have to leave now as they feel everyone is pointing at them.

    It's a shame that everything is victim here, especially the tenant's downstairs who has been suffering leaking for 3 month now and also leaving the property soon.

    The owner downstairs is about to sue me for the loss of damage caused to their property and future rent loss as it will be un-rentable. And I believe he will do as he also has no option now as everything has been tried out.

    My question is:
    1. Is their anything I can do or suggest them to do? Obviously I do not wish to lift all my floors or cut the walls to trace the leakage as this shouldn't be my responsibility
    2. If they do sue me for misuse, do they have to show evidence for the misuse or just some plumber's report saying as no leakage found then only misuse is concluded?
    3. If they do succeed, am I liable for the loss as landlord or it's the my tenants' liability?


    #2
    I think your neighbour asked us what to do about a week ago. I suggested he also claim for loss of rent to encourage you to fix the problem.

    Comment


      #3
      The downstairs LL should contact their Insurer to determine source of leak and take appropriate action.
      If you are held liable, it won't be a claim for misuse, but a compensation claim to recover all costs applicable, inc T consequential loss.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by latting View Post
        My question is: 1. Is their anything I can do or suggest them to do? Obviously I do not wish to lift all my floors or cut the walls to trace the leakage as this shouldn't be my responsibility
        You have to lift all of your walls and floors and fix the leak.
        Fixing the leak is your responsibility and you are not able to avoid that responsibility unless you can prove that someone else is responsible.

        I have no idea why you haven't already done this.
        2. If they do sue me for misuse, do they have to show evidence for the misuse or just some plumber's report saying as no leakage found then only misuse is concluded?
        They won't be suing you for misuse - no one is suggesting that you have caused the leak.
        They will sue you for negligence for not fixing it once you were aware of it.
        3. If they do succeed, am I liable for the loss as landlord or it's the my tenants' liability?
        You are liable unless you can prove it is the tenant causing the problem despite everything you have done to mitigate it.
        Unless the tenant is simply pouring water into the floor, you must (it seems to me) have some liability.
        The plumbing is your responsibility to maintain, so it would have to be a deliberate act by the tenant, not something they're doing simply by using the bathroom.

        Your legal costs in fighting (and losing) this case will greatly exceed the cost of fixing the problem.
        Now you will have to both fix it and (probably) incur the legal costs as well.

        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


          #5
          You will be liable if it is more likely than not that your fault or negligence caused the losses.

          IIf you believe the tenant, you are accepting that you are liable for all damage from the point when you stopped actively seeking the cause.

          If you don't believe the tenant, you are responsible if you fail to take all reasonable steps to remove then tenant, which may take months.

          When you are running water, are you filling the bath, etc., first?

          Comment


            #6
            Anything you can take to court to show that you have tried to address the issue, and paid to have work done, should convince the judge that you have tried, but ultimately, you are going to have to find and fix the cause of the leak. The cause is going to be a pipe that is leaking, or water that is not being contained after being used. You probably need to employ a specialist firm to trace the cause.

            You might have to consider turning the bathroom into a wet room so that any water that is not contained can be drained away correctly.

            Taking the walls and floors up is probably going to be necessary to prove that no pipe is leaking, and this should have been your first investment rather than reconditioning the bathroom. You should also consider that water may be flowing horizontally through the building from other flats adjacent to yours (although if the leak in to the flat below is directly beneath the bathroom in tour flat, then horizontal flow is unlikely.

            I would suggest that you continue to investigate so that by the time you go to court you can give the court the latest findings.

            Comment


              #7
              You do have building insurance that would cover the cost of repairs right?
              I am not a lawyer, nor am I licensed to provide any regulated advice. None of my posts should be treated as legal or financial advice.

              I do not answer questions through private messages which should be posted publicly on the forum.

              Comment


                #8
                This would be covered by public liability not building insurance. The flat below's insurance might cover the repairs, but they would then go after the OP, if they thought there was a case and enough to be gained. Also excesses for escape in water tend to be quite high.

                Comment


                  #9
                  I was thinking more the cost of actually properly tracing and fixing the leaks because the OP seems rather reluctant, not compensation for any damages caused to downstairs.
                  I am not a lawyer, nor am I licensed to provide any regulated advice. None of my posts should be treated as legal or financial advice.

                  I do not answer questions through private messages which should be posted publicly on the forum.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by leaseholder64 View Post
                    Also excesses for escape in water tend to be quite high.
                    Been there. Well, for my parents rental property anyway. There's now an endorsment that the insurer won't cover an extra £X amount of water related damages on top of the normal excess.
                    I am not a lawyer, nor am I licensed to provide any regulated advice. None of my posts should be treated as legal or financial advice.

                    I do not answer questions through private messages which should be posted publicly on the forum.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      thanks for everyone's reply. Most think I will be more or less liable to the leaking..

                      I have therefore obtained the lease and found that any pipe that is shared should be maintained by freeholder/management company. As I have already paid management company to arrange the work for conditioning the bathroom and making sure all pipes are leak free, I deem if there is still leaking (which is the case), then the leaking is coming from unknown pipe and not my responsibility then?

                      I feel I am only responsible for checking everything within my apt and those pipe solely used by my apt, NOT anything beyond?

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
                        You have to lift all of your walls and floors and fix the leak.
                        Fixing the leak is your responsibility and you are not able to avoid that responsibility unless you can prove that someone else is responsible.

                        I have no idea why you haven't already done this.
                        Because I always think anything in between or shared should be taken care by management company? And I just checked the lease and that's the case?

                        Originally posted by jpkeates View Post

                        They won't be suing you for misuse - no one is suggesting that you have caused the leak.
                        They will sue you for negligence for not fixing it once you were aware of it.
                        You are liable unless you can prove it is the tenant causing the problem despite everything you have done to mitigate it.
                        Unless the tenant is simply pouring water into the floor, you must (it seems to me) have some liability.
                        Yes, they are accusing my tenant using the buckets to take shower on the floor, because all plumber found the bucket and couldn't understand why have them. I asked my tenants and they explained it's for collecting cold water before the water turns warm and I accepted..


                        Originally posted by jpkeates View Post

                        The plumbing is your responsibility to maintain, so it would have to be a deliberate act by the tenant, not something they're doing simply by using the bathroom.

                        Your legal costs in fighting (and losing) this case will greatly exceed the cost of fixing the problem.
                        Now you will have to both fix it and (probably) incur the legal costs as well.
                        I know... and the hassle

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by leaseholder64 View Post
                          You will be liable if it is more likely than not that your fault or negligence caused the losses.

                          IIf you believe the tenant, you are accepting that you are liable for all damage from the point when you stopped actively seeking the cause.

                          If you don't believe the tenant, you are responsible if you fail to take all reasonable steps to remove then tenant, which may take months.

                          When you are running water, are you filling the bath, etc., first?
                          No, I was with a plumber and the didn't. Why?

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by KTC View Post

                            Been there. Well, for my parents rental property anyway. There's now an endorsment that the insurer won't cover an extra £X amount of water related damages on top of the normal excess.
                            everything in my apt has been checked leak free, I don't feel it's my responsibility to trace the leakage. Im directly above him but it doesn't necessary mean the leak is from my apt.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by latting View Post

                              No, I was with a plumber and the didn't. Why?
                              Because it might be the bath overflow that is not properly connected.

                              Comment

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