Leak into downstairs flat - advice

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    Leak into downstairs flat - advice


    I'm new the forum and the UK and wonder if you can advise…
    I’ve recently moved to the UK from Canada and so I’m not sure of rights and liabilities... I moved into my flat a few months ago and caused a leak into the apartment below me by leaving the tap running in the bathroom for a few minutes while I washed the basin out after I had shaved. The basin overflowed and caused some damage to the apartment below – mainly ceiling damage. To add to this, the tap isn't particularly powerful and the plug wasn't in the basin.
    A plumber was called and there are no leaks to the bath or toilet (to verify that this was the issue). I’m happy to pay for the plumber in good faith. However the plumber stated the following:
    1. The discharge pipe isn’t large enough which causes water to remain in the basin and slows drainage
    2. There should be a burble valve? To prevent air lock and the allow the sink to drain quicker
    3. There is no overflow to the basin
    The neighbour below says this has been going on for some time (Extending to before i moved in)? Which is odd if this one off incident has been a recurring issue. Plus he hasn’t mentioned this to me or to my knowledge the LL or previous tenants before…

    Could anyone advise who is liable for damages? Im happy to pay for whats fair but in my experience, taps should be allowed to run without overflowing when no plug is present in the sink.

    Whatever the state of the overflow you are responsible for the flood. Taps are not intended to be left running unattended, and overflows are not intended to have to cope with running taps.

    The fact that others might have done the same is irrelevant.

    But you only need to pay for the damage you caused, not prior damage. Even if it might be theoretically possible to claim on insurance, that does not absolve you and there are all sorts of other issued like increased premiums and excesses.


      I'd say it must have been more than 'a few minutes' if there was enough water to damage the ceiling downstairs.

      Even if there was a basin overflow they are hardly ever of a sufficent size to discharge a fully running tap, they are:
      1. An air vent to allow faster draining of a basin after you pull the plug out.
      2. A 'second chance' to slow down filling while you notice that you have made a mistake and left the tap on.
      3. To cope with a dripping tap / plug still in scenario.

      A 'bubble' valve may help, but probably not, they are meant to stop gurgling noises, and to prevent the syphoning of water out of the trap/s-bend so that smellls come from the outlet.
      If you have those problems then one could be considered.
      One of these would not have prevented the overflow.

      If the basin fills up and overflows when the taps are run and the plug is out then possibly the piping is too small, but if it's the same size as the basin outlet then bigger piping will not help.
      Its probably more to do with the routing and 'fall' of the pipes.

      In the end you admit that it was your error in leaving the tap running unattended that caused the overflow and so caused the damage.
      If you had not left the tap running unattended it would not have happened. Bet you don't do it again.
      Your fault, your responsibility to pay for any damage caused to your neighbours ceiling.

      Be careful of that plumber, he seems to be suggesting things that may be 'better' but would not have prevented your accident.
      There again he may just have been making suggestions, not pushing you to take them.
      Of course if he can persuade you to change the pipes and fit a bubble valve then he makes more money.


        T responsibility.


          It turns out that there was a leak coming from the roof that caused the problem. It just so happened to be on the same day. However the sink will still be fixed which is good news.


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