Q. I have just heard from my Estate Manager that the flat below me has water pouring through their ceiling and on further investigation it seems the water has come from under my bath, a leak from a pipe. The Estate Manager says it’s my responsibility to make good the damage to the apartment below, is this true? As the leak was not visible (hidden behind the bath panel) I can hardly see why this would be my responsibility. Surely the building Insurance should cover this? Can you advise?
A. Leaks like this can be troublesome and that’s why most management companies now insist that a plumbing check is carried out annually to prevent this type of incident from occurring. However concealed leaks such as this are hard to control. It’s easy to replace sealant around baths and sinks to prevent water leakage but if a pipe bursts in a concealed area then there isn’t much you can do. A leak such as this should be covered by your buildings insurance but you will of course have to pay the excess which on developments usually start around £500.00 and upwards, it will greatly depend on the amount of claims there have been on your particular development historically. Developments with a history of water damage claims will automatically have their excess hiked up to encourage Leaseholders to work on preventive action rather than cure. If it is proven that the leak has come from your apartment and caused damage to the apartment below then I am afraid it is your responsibility to ensure that the damage in the below apartment is made good. You will be able to claim for your own damage as well as the damage to the property below on the buildings insurance but it will be you that has to pay the excess unfortunately. I would encourage you to get your builder to quote for the repairs to your own property as well as the apartment below, that way you have control over the costing of this and can submit one claim. Your builder can then carry out all the works to both properties and the bill can be settled via the insurance company.