Leaseholders dispute over intermittent leak

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    Leaseholders dispute over intermittent leak

    Dear All,

    Hope someone can give me some advice on the following matter:

    I am a RMC Director trying to mediate between two Leaseholders re a recurring leak from one flat to the other.

    Upper flat Leaseholder has renovated his bathroom/kitchen last year, ever since there’s been a recurring leak from his flat (3 times he flooded the flat below).

    He accepts responsibility but is unwilling to pay for damages. Blames leaks onto “faulty building construction” saying when flats were built in 1987 cement was left on copper pipe works and lime has eaten through his pipe causing leaks.

    He carries out patch repairs himself after each leak, unwilling to get it sorted by a plumber, unwilling to allow access to get in a a leak detection company via building manager, wants affected Leaseholder claim damage on building insurance.

    Excess would be much more expensive than getting the room repainted, Upper Leaseholder knows this well hoping Affected Leaseholder would let him off the hook again. Leaks keep happening, Affected Leaseholder is trying to sell flat but can’t due to this ongoing problem.

    Managing agent only offers one solution that is handling claim via building insurance, my questions are the following:

    1. As RMC Director, can I refuse using maintenance budget for paying excess for claim? Lease is silent on excess. If leak was in communal areas, this would be fine. However, source of leak is within a leasehold flat, Lease clearly states repairing obligation inside flats is the responsibility of the LH. It’s just not fair on the others footing the bill for someone else’s negligence

    2. Is there any other option to recover damages? Small claim court?

    3. Affected Leaseholder asking me to write to FH to enforce terms of the Lease. Lease states “lessee must indemnify lessor against all costs of such enforcement “ Does anyone have any experience how much this might cost, how to go about this?

    4. Any other ideas how to settle this?

    Thanks in advance

    Copper isn't amphoteric:


      Insurance is only against acts of god or accidents. These are neither. The RMC and the affected leaseholder should sue the upstairs flat.


        You should recover the excess from the person who would pay it if they were independently insured. They, may then try to recover if from the person legally liable.

        I'd suggest seeing if a solicitor would be prepared to take this on the basis that they credit reference and invoice the leaseholder. You are probably a straw man, in terms of their being able to fall back on you. If they wont' you will need to ask them as to a suitable deposit, and agree with the leaseholder that work will stop if that deposit is depleted and not topped up.

        You might want to read the thread where people are proposing banning clauses in leases that would have allowed you to recover legal costs, from the person being sued.

        Indemnify means promise to pay, rather than necessarily pay a deposit.

        Basically that sort of clause puts the complainant in almost the same position as if the had been able to take legal action directly, but with access to the covenants made with the company, and possibly also the ability to forfeit (but again read the other thread).


          Thank you all, for your helpful responses.


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