In the Poo

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    In the Poo

    Just been notified of a nasty foul water leak from a flat that has caused considerable damage to tenant's possessions in the property below which will have to be destroyed. As he has no contents cover who should be expected to cover the cost of his losses ?
    Both properties are tenanted with different landlords and we haven't yet found the source of the leak though I suspect it has been caused by the tenants.

    Public liability cover of the block? Good luck to him claiming though, if he has no backing from his own insurers.
    To save them chiming in, JPKeates, Theartfullodger, Boletus, Mindthegap, Macromia, Holy Cow & Ted.E.Bear think the opposite of me on almost every subject.


      The only claim that the tenant with the damage could make would be against the upstairs tenant or landlord if they can show negligence.
      Which is going to be very hard to do.

      This kind of thing is why you have insurance, and, by choosing not to have contents insurance, the tenant has left themselves open to this possibility.
      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).


        In my view

        Not wanting to dispute what you are saying I would think this is a big assumption "and we haven't yet found the source of the leak though I suspect it has been caused by the tenants"

        Have you been into the premises upstairs yet as it should be obvious if this is tenant damage. To cause something like this I would imahine they would have an overflowing blocked toilet.......or have physically smashed the WC from the coupling....... if in fact the WC fitting was loose and the seal has broken/slipped over time causing causing a minor leak then in my view this would be the responsibility of the landlord in the flat upstairs as I think the AST contract has a specific element that the landlord is responsible for sanitary appliances. I'm not sure what happens in the event the upstairs tenant has seen the leak and not reported it to the landlord as I believe there is a responsibility to report faults to the landlord.

        If however the fault is in the building fabric then possibility you might want to discuss with the freeholder, I think it will depend on if these flats are pre-built block with shared facilities.

        You might want to investigate into what the considerable damage is,, a small leak over time may cause some damage but this sounds like foul waste was gushing into the flat below which would be quite rare. I would be keen to make sure the flat below was not over egging the damage, as if this is the case it's likely floors ceilings etc will need attention also and woud be a buildings insurance claim

        All the above is my own personal view I have no legal experience please take advice before acting on anything I say.

        All the best Stew.


          Even a very small leak of sewage accumulating in a foorspace could become catestrophic over time.
          Enough drips and the weight of waste overwhelms the ceiling and the lot drops through.

          The issue is always proving that what happened was because someone was negligent and not that a pipe just started to leak and no one noticed and most reasonable people wouldn't have noticed either.
          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).



            Nail on head I think, the lower property has Not been visited for a couple of months and considerable quantities of organic matter have entered / accumulated.
            The complication is the upper tenants have caused considerable damage and nuisance elsewhere in the building (1980s conversion) and their landlord attempted to access the lower property (via the freeholder) some weeks ago on a very dubious pretext (something about mice coming up through his floor) which makes me wonder if he was aware of the leak.
            If he did know and failed to do anything about it then I certainly feel he is morally responsible for the extent of the damage.
            All in all a horrible situation and my sympathies are with the lower tenant.
            Thanks for the responses - much appreciated


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