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Water (from upstairs) through the ceiling.


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As a not so hyporthetical question can some of you knowledgeable gents please comment on this........

In a block of flats built say about 12/15 years ago, an apartment on the top floor is owned and let by a family member. Recently his letting agent reports that owing to an escape of water in his property the ceiling of the flat below was extensively damaged like on the floor. The leak was traced to his flat and was caused by a loose connection between the mains and his washing machine. The owner of the flat below requests recompence from him.

Each flat owner pays a monthly maintenance fee that also includes building insurance. The excess per claim is £500. As the flat came complete with said washing machine this was installed by the builder.

An aquaintance, who is a claims investigator for a very large Insurance company says that because there is no question of negligence such as an overflowing bath or un-attended running tap there is no case for our family member to accept responsibility for such third party damage to an adjacent property.

Do you think he is right?

Should the building owner be held responsible, after all there is a quite steep maintenance charge and is this not a maintenance issue?

We would appreciate any comments.

Thanks for reading this,

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The block insurance should cover for this and you are entitled to see a copy of the policy.

The £500 excess is another matter and sometimes the leaseholders who are claiming share the cost or it has been known to be paid from the service charge funds. A £500 excess is quite high and it shouldn't cost much more spread over all the leaseholder to get it reduced to say £250 next year.

If it is clear the leak is caused by shoddy workmanship and you can get a written report you could try to recover any loss, either total or insurance excess from that person via the small claims court.

We have had a number of leaks over the years caused by washing machine plumbing, mainly when they are just installed or removed by the tenant.

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Yes I have had some experience of this situation.

I agree with everything posted by Grampa.....I would just add the following:-

First you need to read the lease. Often the service charge company reduce the annual premiums by accepting a higher claims excess. However, if the lease says that the service charges provide full buildings insurance cover then any excess payable should be reimbursed from the service charge account ie the repairs should be 100% covered between the insurers & the service charge company.

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