Flood damage - who is liable?

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    Flood damage - who is liable?

    Hi

    First time poster but I have a dispute with my LL and I need some advice please

    I rent a flat unfurnished on a rolling AST. Last week the water tank leaked and left the bathroom and hallway under an inch of water. I called a friend immediately I discovered the damage (LL had been working abroad and I believed him still to be) and my friend turned the hot water off (it was hot water leaking) to stop the water flow, and helped me mop up the standing water to try and minimise the damage to the property.

    Once he had done this, I called the LL to make him aware of situation and to advise I would call a plumber if he was still out of the country. He did not answer his phone so I left a voicemail and he called me back 3 hours later. He attended the flat to inspect 24 hours after that, and returned the following day to fix the problem

    The leak has caused damage to the carpet in the bathroom and laminate floor in the hallway. He claims his buildings insurance will cover the laminate, but that I (under my contents policy) am responsible for replacing the bathroom carpet. As the cost of replacement is less than my excess I am to pay for the replacement out of my own pocket!

    I have lived here 2 years and the boiler/tank has never been inspected or serviced. My view is that it was his (unserviced) tank that leaked so why should I be out of pocket to replace the carpet? No damage was caused to my own possessions, just the flooring.

    I deal with the LL direct, and tbh he is quite an intimidating man. I live on my own, and I'm really worried he will bully me to paying this money and that if I don't he will use it as an excuse to serve me notice. I should also add that I pay my rent on time every month (sometimes even a few days early) so he has no other reason to evict me, but I feel like I'm being backed into a corner.

    What is the legal position here? Is it my responsibility? Can he make me pay?

    Thanks for any help

    #2
    You have no repsonsibility for any of the damage caused as far as I can see.

    If you are harrassed in any way then your landlord is likely to be in breach of the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 which is a criminal offence.
    The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

    Comment


      #3
      Absolutely. It wasn't YOUR fault his water tank leaked. It is his moral and legal duty to pay for the damage to be put right, including the carpet. He should have insurance, but most companies would not pay out for damage caused by negligence anyway. He should be glad you were not scalded by the hot water, or he would be facing more than a bill for new flooring.
      Last edited by mind the gap; 12-07-2008, 17:45 PM. Reason: typo
      'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

      Comment


        #4
        If you're an AST and kick up a fuss your landlord may decide to give you notice
        ****************************************

        If you are unsure about what to do seek professional Legal advice.

        Comment


          #5
          Hi

          Thanks for all the replies so far.

          LL hasn't actually threatened me per se, but his whole manner is quite intimidating which is why I am concerned that he will use my refusal to pay as an excuse to serve me notice to quit.

          The flat is all electric so the CORGI thing doesn't apply. The tank is housed behind a screwed in wooden frontage (7 screws down each side!) which had to be removed before my friend could get to the source of the leak!

          I think i am going to write to him and put my case forward and insist he pays for the carpet. Before i came across this forum, I believed that he had to have a valid reason to serve me notice, but he doesn't does he? He can just decide I'm a 'problem tenant' and give me 2 months to quit?

          I'm beginning to wonder though if it might be an idea to move anyway. I don't have peace of mind anymore. I might just be being paranoid but I'm getting the feeling he is trying to create an argument just so he can get rid! But I'm not going to be bullied by him!

          Thanks guys

          Comment


            #6
            He can serve you a sec 21 notice seeking possession for no reason sadly, so he doesn't really need to get into arguement with you. Out of interest when did you move in? If it was after 6 april 2007 did you pay a deposit and is it protected and did you receive notice that it had been?
            ****************************************

            If you are unsure about what to do seek professional Legal advice.

            Comment


              #7
              No, I moved in in the Autumn of 2006. I think I'm going to have to fight for every penny of my deposit! :-(

              Comment


                #8
                probably so sadly, ah well I live in Hove so if you ever want some advice down the line just PM me. Can't have near neighbours suffering
                ****************************************

                If you are unsure about what to do seek professional Legal advice.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Thanks. i'll keep you posted, maybe he'll surprise me? ;-)

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Paul_f View Post
                    You have no repsonsibility for any of the damage caused as far as I can see..
                    Correct

                    Originally posted by Paul_f View Post
                    If you are harrassed in any way then your landlord is likely to be in breach of the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 which is a criminal offence.
                    Not quite correct.

                    As I have pointed out a number of times, under PEA 1977 the harassment has to be carried out with an intention to make the tenant give up possession or forebear from exercising any legal right or pursuing any remedy.

                    In this case, from what OP has written about their fears, the LL may subsequently engage in harassment with an intention to dissuade them from exercising rights/remedies under LTA 1985, which would, of course, be a breach of PEA 1977. However, if they are harassed by the LL pursuing a course of conduct (at least 2 incidents) for any other reason, when the LL knew or ought to have known that such conduct would cause the other person (T) fear, alarm or distress, then the conduct would instead be chargeable as an offence under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.

                    Just thought that issue needed clarifying.
                    Health Warning


                    I try my best to be accurate, but please bear in mind that some posts are written in a matter of seconds and often cannot be edited later on.

                    All information contained in my posts is given without any assumption of responsibility on my part. This means that if you rely on my advice but it turns out to be wrong and you suffer losses (of any kind) as a result, then you cannot sue me.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by agent46 View Post
                      Correct



                      Not quite correct.

                      As I have pointed out a number of times, under PEA 1977 the harassment has to be carried out with an intention to make the tenant give up possession or forebear from exercising any legal right or pursuing any remedy.

                      In this case, from what OP has written about their fears, the LL may subsequently engage in harassment with an intention to dissuade them from exercising rights/remedies under LTA 1985, which would, of course, be a breach of PEA 1977. However, if they are harassed by the LL pursuing a course of conduct (at least 2 incidents) for any other reason, when the LL knew or ought to have known that such conduct would cause the other person (T) fear, alarm or distress, then the conduct would instead be chargeable as an offence under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.

                      Just thought that issue needed clarifying.
                      Clear as mud!
                      'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Please could someone explain what agent46 said in plain English?
                        'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Why would he think that damage to the carpet in the bathroom is not covered? when we have had a leak in the past ALL damage by the water is covered in the insurance.

                          Think this LL is onto a scam.

                          TO be honest I would give notice and move out asap... I would also not pay the last months rent.. YES I know I will get flamed for this.. but in the circumstances it may be the only way you get your deposit back.
                          GOVERNMENT HEALTH WARNING: I am a woman and am therefore prone to episodes of PMT... if you don't like what I have to say you can jolly well put it in your pipe and SMOKE IT!!

                          Oh and on a serious note... I am NOT a Legal person and therefore anything I post could be complete and utter drivel... but its what I have learned in the University called Life!

                          Comment


                            #14
                            He told me his insurance company has advised him that the laminate is covered as it is fitted to the floor, but as the carpet can be removed it falls under my contents cover.

                            The flooring company came round yesterday at his request to quote for the laminate. I also asked them to quote for the carpet and to send that to him too. I am waiting now to see whether he actually does pursue me for the carpet. Maybe now he has had a few days to think on it, he will realise he is wrong and just pay up. But I need to be prepared for that not to be the case.

                            Where do I stand legally on witholding the last month's rent? Can he sue me for the rent AND the deposit later? Can he force me to leave as soon as the last month's rent is in arrears?

                            I have started to look around for a new property, but I don't want to be rushed into taking the first one just to make sure I'm not homeless if he does start getting heavy! Should I hold off writing to him until I've found somewhere else to go?

                            Comment


                              #15
                              RUBBISH! Carpet is a floorcovering and he is onto a fast one! Either that or the Insurance company is.

                              Look around and pay your rent until you have found somewhere new. When you give your notice do so the day before a rent day to end the following month and do not pay the rent for that month.

                              To sue you he would need to have an inventory of the property and to be able to prove any damages as he would only be able to claim for those and not rent as the deposit will have covered that. He would not be able to claim the carpet, a judge would soon put pay to that one! It was HIS faulty equipment that caused the leak and you did what you could to stop it and have witnesses to the effect.
                              GOVERNMENT HEALTH WARNING: I am a woman and am therefore prone to episodes of PMT... if you don't like what I have to say you can jolly well put it in your pipe and SMOKE IT!!

                              Oh and on a serious note... I am NOT a Legal person and therefore anything I post could be complete and utter drivel... but its what I have learned in the University called Life!

                              Comment

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