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Sorry this is a little long winded but would appreicate your advice:

Last year I refurbished my flat in central London for the rental market and as part of this I redesigned the bathroom. I used people recommended for the work but the plumber turned out to be a cowboy and I have had leak after leak. I have insurance with British Gas which covers pipes, boiler etc but they would not do the repairs as they said it was "new" work. So I paid another firm of plumbers (who are recommended by the agents I use to manage the property) and are reputable to put this right. anyway the plumbers had to go back in with one leak after another and in the end I told the agents that the plumbers needed to find any leaks and get them fixed because I was not going to keep paying hand over fist for one thing after another and the agent tells me they are not idiots and know every trick to to spot/locate leaks and have been thorough in their work.

In any event for the last 5 months there has been nothing then suddendly the woman who lives in the flat below mine says the leak has returned and that she has had a suveyor in and that the leak has damaged the wood between the two flats ie my floor to her ceiling. Now I have been in her flat and I conceded that her bathroom has been damaged by the leaks and I did say I would pay to have this decorated but she did not contact the agent to arrange. Now she tells the agent she wants me to accept liability for the problem with the woodwork etc and I am suspicious not least because she came to see on 2 seperate occassions previously whilst I was still living there asking if I had leaks (and before the work was carried out last year) - which I did not. So some of the damage to her bathroom was clearly caused prior to the refurb by a leak from somewhere.

Further I do not believe she would have the money for a surveyor as her flat has clearly had no money spent on it in years and is a total mess. Am I her cash cow I wonder.

In event at this stage the agent and I are beginning to wonder if the leak causing the damage is coming from my flat - not least because she seems to have had a long standing leak! Further would a number of of leaks fixed as quickly as possible rot the wood in just a year????

That aside unfortunately I do not have landlord insurance although I have every other insurance in the land - just my luck - and Direct Line who I insure my home address with give me free legal advice as part of this and what they have told me is - that if the leak is from a bathroom pipe, sanitaryware, under the floor boards or from a pipe leading from my property to the communal areas then as I have behaved responsibily and not been negligible and tried to remedy the problem (the plumbers have visted 12 times) the building insurance cover should cover cost of the repairs and it would be difficult for a third party to prove my liability. So basically my question is - is this right and has anybody else been in a similar situation??? If so what did you do and what was the the outcome???


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Well, as an ex Plumber and Heating type person from a few years back.........

If a Plumber is called into fix a leak on the evidence you are providing you would normally use every trick in the book to cure the problem at one visit but certainly within 2 visits.

The only time I was ever baffled by a "leaking bath" was when it was impossible to spot the movement from the bath against the wall when it was empty and when it was full of bathwater. The wall actually moved!! allowing water to find a course between the bath and the wall when the shower was running.

Anyway, yes, you are liable for the flat below you and it matters not what you are seeing or being told provided the person can show evidence of water seepage from above but as you say you have to be thoroughly certain that it is you that is causing the problem in the first place.

You could challenge the person and get your insurance company to assess the problem?

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