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Repeated leaks into let flat

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Joefraser
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Joined: October 13th, 2021, 9:28 pm

Repeated leaks into let flat

#449972

Postby Joefraser » October 13th, 2021, 10:01 pm

I own a second floor flat which is Let to Students as an HMO. There have been a series of leaks from the flat above, which is also Let as a Student HMO. The property management company, which owns and manages the flat above, adopts the attitude that their property is their primary concern, and water flows downwards.

The current leak was unfortunately primarily into a storage cupboard ( not used by my Tenants) so went unnoticed until it spread through the wall into another room. It would appear that a new shower was fitted 6-8 weeks ago and likely leaked from installation or soon after. The black mould which had formed in walk in cupboard supports this timeline.

After reporting the leak, it took 10 days for the letting company to authorise the plumber who installed the shower to, remove shower tray and hopefully properly fix shower, trap-drain. A repair had been attempted after (7 days)which more water into my flat showed had not worked.
There was a leak in 2015, 2017 another two in 2018 which caused £10000 of damage to my flat and now 2021 a couple of thousand pounds of damage.
In Scotland where flat is insurance companies do not claim from the insurance of at fault party. So I have to pay water damage excess of some £500 increased insurance premiums huge inconvenience e.t.c. Cause of leaks? Management company uses plumbers builders not held accountable for poor workmanship, maybe on contract, they may have block insurance who knows? They do not answer questions, they do not wish to answer.

I feel pretty powerless to do anything about this situation.
Thanks for any advice.

Dod101
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Re: Repeated leaks into let flat

#449974

Postby Dod101 » October 13th, 2021, 10:19 pm

There used to be an absolute liability on the flatowner above you but as I know to my cost that no longer applies so you would need to prove negligence by somebody. That is difficult to do especially with water leakage. I do not think it is true that 'In Scotland' insurance companies do not claim from those at fault; just that it is very difficult prove negligence so they do not bother. I doubt that many insurers would pursue that sort of claim. As I said I think it is just too difficult.

I think you are pretty powerless I am sorry to say, but at least you are only out by the amount of your excess.

Dod

mc2fool
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Re: Repeated leaks into let flat

#449984

Postby mc2fool » October 13th, 2021, 10:51 pm

Dunno about the law etc in Scotland, but in my English block of flats whenever we've had a leak we've always claimed it on the building insurance (we are collectively our own freeholder and landlord), rather than the individual affected flats' contents insurance.

In any case, can't you just send the flat above/their management company the bill for the excess, along with a letter before action?

quelquod
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Re: Repeated leaks into let flat

#450094

Postby quelquod » October 14th, 2021, 12:43 pm

You’d get nowhere with that approach unless you could prove negligence (Scotland anyway). It’s common for leaks not to show at floor level - as pointed out earlier water flows downwards given the opportunity. There’s only an onus to remedy things once you’ve been made aware.

Joefraser
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Joined: October 13th, 2021, 9:28 pm

Re: Repeated leaks into let flat

#450102

Postby Joefraser » October 14th, 2021, 1:08 pm

Dod101 wrote:There used to be an absolute liability on the flatowner above you but as I know to my cost that no longer applies so you would need to prove negligence by somebody. That is difficult to do especially with water leakage. I do not think it is true that 'In Scotland' insurance companies do not claim from those at fault; just that it is very difficult prove negligence so they do not bother. I doubt that many insurers would pursue that sort of claim. As I said I think it is just too difficult.

I think you are pretty powerless I am sorry to say, but at least you are only out by the amount of your excess.

Dod

Thanks for reply. Who was this absolute liability enforced by?
but at least you are only out by the amount of your excess
. If only that were the case. When I claimed through my insurance for extensive damage (£10000) I had to compensate Tenants for four months of disruption. The insurance company declined to renew insurance and i had to pay an extra £500 to insure property.

Joefraser
Posts: 3
Joined: October 13th, 2021, 9:28 pm

Re: Repeated leaks into let flat

#450104

Postby Joefraser » October 14th, 2021, 1:12 pm

quelquod wrote:You’d get nowhere with that approach unless you could prove negligence (Scotland anyway). It’s common for leaks not to show at floor level - as pointed out earlier water flows downwards given the opportunity. There’s only an onus to remedy things once you’ve been made aware.

By remedy you mean stop the leak i assume, track and trace is the insurance jargon. The time to remedy is a moving feast it seems. What i deem to be a reasonable time is 24 hours depending on the severity of the leak. However the property company i have to deal with think seven days is reasonable.

Dod101
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Re: Repeated leaks into let flat

#450122

Postby Dod101 » October 14th, 2021, 2:34 pm

Joefraser wrote:
Dod101 wrote:There used to be an absolute liability on the flatowner above you but as I know to my cost that no longer applies so you would need to prove negligence by somebody. That is difficult to do especially with water leakage. I do not think it is true that 'In Scotland' insurance companies do not claim from those at fault; just that it is very difficult prove negligence so they do not bother. I doubt that many insurers would pursue that sort of claim. As I said I think it is just too difficult.

I think you are pretty powerless I am sorry to say, but at least you are only out by the amount of your excess.

Dod

Thanks for reply. Who was this absolute liability enforced by?
but at least you are only out by the amount of your excess
. If only that were the case. When I claimed through my insurance for extensive damage (£10000) I had to compensate Tenants for four months of disruption. The insurance company declined to renew insurance and i had to pay an extra £500 to insure property.


I take your point re the disruption as far as the tenant is concerned. There used to be an absolute liability set by a legal case called Rylands v Fletcher but it was set aside some years ago and now you are required to show negligence on the part of your neighbour. In the circumstances that is of course difficult to prove. In the old days, you could if you had to, go to Court and they would uphold your claim based on the above case. Sadly no longer. I have been in the same position as you as the innocent landlord and I sympathise. We eventually simply sold.

Dod

richlist
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Re: Repeated leaks into let flat

#450123

Postby richlist » October 14th, 2021, 2:34 pm

The only sure fix for this kind of issue is to always buy a top floor flat, anything else will always carry a greater risk of leaks

monabri
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Re: Repeated leaks into let flat

#450132

Postby monabri » October 14th, 2021, 2:54 pm

Joefraser wrote:I own a second floor flat which is Let to Students as an HMO. There have been a series of leaks from the flat above, which is also Let as a Student HMO. The property management company, which owns and manages the flat above, adopts the attitude that their property is their primary concern, and water flows downwards.



That sounds very dubious if it is the way you're telling it! As a management company they have a duty to ensure that their property is maintained. Clearly with all these leaks they are not meeting this requirement. Your insurance company should take up the issue of these repeated leaks with their insurance company as it is costing them both money (which they no doubt load back to their customers). It's all completely irresponsible.

(having been in the same situation I do sypathise - our ground floor flat was wrecked by 2 leaks from the flat above - complete refurb of the nearly new bathroom , all sanitary ware stripped out of the bathroom, plaster removed from the batchroom walls, ceiling down, plaster off the lounge wall - tenant out of the flat for 6 weeks, replaster & refit - neighbours above claimed for a brand new kitchen even though the leak was below their floorboards - and they got paid. They were in the process of tarting up the flat so they could sell it and - lo and behold - there was a leak which ruined their kitchen units ..clearly water travels uphill in some circumstances !! :cry: )


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