Damp issues on basement - 1995 conversion

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    Damp issues on basement - 1995 conversion

    We have failed tanking causing penetrative damp on my mum's small basement flat, converted from coal store.

    Freehold company claim tanking is an improvement and they have no record of ever having done the work, hence they say they are not responsible and won't be paying for the work.

    I'm saying the freeholder at the time converted the coal store into a flat in 1995 and so tanking would certainly have been carried out then given the wall has a high ground level on the other side and therefore will always have had penetrative damp - not so much of an issue for a coal store. Hence the tanking was not an improvement but part of the flat from day 1 and so freehold company should pay the cost of works.

    Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Am I fighting a losing battle?

    #2
    What does your lease say? The fact that the freeholder built a component does not always mean they are responsible for it (they might have sold a new flat with a fitted kitchen for example).

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      #3
      Here are the relevant bits, thanks.




      The lessee covenants to:

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        #4
        I guess they will say that tanking is not external walls.

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          #5
          Originally posted by AndrewDod View Post
          I guess they will say that tanking is not external walls.
          I think a wall is still an external wall whether you are talking about the inside or the outside.

          Furthermore, all load-bearing walls also form part of "the structure" whether they are external or internal, which the lessor is also responsible for. (We obviously do not need to tank any non-structural walls).

          I think the main question is whether tanking constitutes an "improvement" and my argument is that since it was there from day 1, it does not constitute an improvement.

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            #6
            Irrelevant who did it or when, the freeholder still has to uphold the maintenance but you will still have to contribute so depending on how many flats there are and how much repair is going to cost will decide if it's worth arguing your case. Might be worth trying the buildings insurer ??

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              #7
              Our flat contributes about 1/30 so it is worthwhile pursuing if it is the freeholder's responsibility. It was the coal store (read tiny) of a much larger property, that has since been extended into quite a few flats.

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                #8
                In that case I would probably be inclined to obtain a specialist survey to take to the Freeholder..

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                  #9
                  Thanks. I have sent them 2. They are saying they will cover anything due to a failed DPC, but failed tanking they will not cover as they deem that to have been an improvement to the flat rather than a pre-existing piece of the structure and therefore not something they are liable to repair/maintain.

                  I am trying to argue that as the flat was converted in 1995, then the tanking was in all likelihood pre-existing in relation to the age of the flat and therefore does not constitute an improvement but a part of the actual structure.

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                    #10
                    Do the work yourself and then go to the FTT for a determination?
                    To save them chiming in, JPKeates, Theartfullodger, Boletus, Mindthegap, Macromia, Holy Cow & Ted.E.Bear think the opposite of me on almost every subject.

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                      #11
                      eshroom,

                      Who put the tanking in? Normally you are responsible for the internal demise meaning plaster up to the brickwork. Where is damp coming from? Rising an or penetrative damp or both? You could argue that the damp is a structural issue, does your building have an existing DPC? check your lease? What does it say about damp proof and maintaining this? I would say its the freeholder responsibility!

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                        #12
                        Originally posted by AndrewDod View Post
                        I guess they will say that tanking is not external walls.
                        Tanking could be argued needs to be put in place to stop the external water coming in from the exterior walls which is partly the freeholder responsibility otherwise flat unfit for habitation act as not watertight.

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                          #13
                          Thanks for the replies.

                          Part of the damp (rising) has been identified as a faulty DPC. Part has been identified as failed tanking causing penetrative damp (earth on other side of wall). I don't know who put the tanking in, but as the coal store was converted by the freeholder in 1995, I assume tanking was put in during the conversion. I can't imagine anyone in 1995 getting away with converting a basement holding earth on the other side, without tanking that wall, as Stacker points out, it would certainly be unfit for habitation.

                          Lease mentions nothing about damp proofing. Only "the structure".

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                            #14
                            How did you get on?...you could get a surveyor around to assess the situation and then he will provide a report which will help you understand what is going on, you need to understand the cause of where the damp is coming in and then put that to the freeholder, my bet if there is a faulty DPC this is a structural issues for the freeholder to address and you all pay collectively

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                              #15
                              Stacker,

                              Much to the expense of all leaseholders, the freehold company got legal advice which deemed it was a freeholder's responsibility. Works are scheduled in to commence next month.

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