Who is Responsible - Freeholder or Leaseholder?

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    Who is Responsible - Freeholder or Leaseholder?

    My Husband and I are the Freeholders and manage an Old Listed Building which is now 12 Flats and we also are the Leasehold Owners of 7 of these.
    One of the Leaseholders in a basement flat has a leak from a pipe within the concrete screed and there is now surface water in the living room - so urgent repairs are required to make the property habitable.
    This is the third leak in this flat and we have made two similar very large Insurance Claims for them previously - they are no longer Occupiers and the flat is tenanted now.
    The Laminate flooring will need lifting and the repair fixed - but we are trying to avoid a third Insurance claim.
    Who ultimately is responsible? As if we do claim yet again the Insurance Premium increases for all Leaseholders - or may not be possible at all in the future!!
    Some advice will be greatly appreciated - Thank you

    #2
    It depends on the lease. Also as you have done repairs twice and that is the 3rd time it occurs - is there a problem with repair quality?

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      #3
      The leak sounds as if it is outside of the demise of the leaseholder.
      The insurance issue and the responsibility to pay need to be decoupled. It may make sense for the FH to pay without going via insurance since the long-term cost is likely to be greater if premiums rise (or worse still, insurance is declined completely).

      Are there a lot of rotting copper pipes buried in the walls and structure, in which case you may need to pay tens of thousands of pounds to have them all extracted and re-done, and redecorated.

      It seems clear that you as FH are responsible, and ultimately you will pay 7/12 of the cost as lessee of 7 units.

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        #4
        I suggest you get in relevant surveyor to advise and produce a formal report as to what should be done. And start warning lessees to begin saving in the expectation of extremely large service charges (of which you will of course pay the majority).

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          #5
          The insurers would probably still offer cover but impose a very large policy excess for escape of water claims

          the fact you do not claim from the insurers does not absolve you of declaring the incident - the insurers need to be aware of all such damage so they can assess the risk properly - very much the case with motor insurance

          it would appear that the pipes may not have been lagged when placed into the concrete and regrettably there will be more such incidents - you may be advised to have all the pipes taken up and lagged and then put back into the concrete

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            #6
            Depending on the route the pipes take, it can sometimes be cheaper to drain the underfloor pipes, leave them there and then re-route the pipes above the floor. How aesthetically acceptable this depends on the layouts of course.

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