Leak from upstairs apartment - Who is responsible?

Discussion in 'Management companies, apartments, etc.' started by jonronan, Nov 16, 2009.

  1. jonronan

    jonronan Guest

    About 2 weeks ago water started dripping down from the upstairs apartment. Their boiler went on the blink but they were not there when it happened. It caused a nice bit of damp damage to my ceiling and left the walls covered in mildew.
    As ownership of the apartment is on a leasehold basis I'm assuming that the Mngt Co. is responsible - Anyone had a similar problem?
    I spoke with the Mgt Agent who disclaim any responsibility which I accept but then they started mentioning about an excess on the Block Insurance Policy. As far as I am concerned I should not incur any expense, and any excess should be borne possibly by charging the upstairs Landlord or the Mngt Co accepting responsibility. Is this unreasonable?
  2. DianeC401

    DianeC401 Frequent Poster

    Hi Jonronan,

    I sympathise with you but unless the owner upstairs does the decent thing and offers to pay the excess, you may be landed with having to pay the excess.

    The Management Company are responsible for ensuring there is insurance on the apartment block but if one of the Members (ie: you, as an owner) need to claim on the policy you do that as an individual and as such are liable for any excess payment. The person who makes the claim, incurs the excess.

    This does seem unfair as the problem is in no way your fault but unfortunately that's how most insurance policies work. I speak from experience as this happened to me as well.

    At the time I approached the owner (also a landlord) above me and asked him to pay or at least contribute to the excess payment. Unfortunately he refused and although it would have been a fair and decent thing to contribute, he was totally within his rights to refuse.

    However there may be a way round it if your management company are in agreement. If the apartment above you is also damaged and the owner also wants to claim on the block policy for repairs you may be able to submit both your damages and his as one claim. In which case the owner upstairs will be liable to pay the excess (as s/he is the person responsible for the damage in the first place).

    In general terms, the management company are only responsible for common areas and things outside the four walls in your apartment. So you cannot hold them liable for damages that have occured within your home. So I'm afraid you won't be able to ask them to pay the excess.

    Have you checked how much the excess amount is? You may be quite shocked to find it's anything from €750-2,000. Unfortunately leaks in apartment blocks are a very common occurance, the insurance market for blocks has hardened considerably in the last year and therefore insurance companies are imposing a high excess to try and compensate for losses they have made in previous years and to deter people from claiming.
  3. Papercut

    Papercut Frequent Poster

    I have had a similar problem.

    I reported it to the management company at the time & heard no more. Foolishly I didn’t follow it up as I should have until months later, by which time not only had we changed management companies, but the owner above had sold.

    When I did get around to following it up I was informed that there is & was an excess of €5,000 on the block insurance, so I wouldn’t have been able to claim anyway!
  4. jonronan

    jonronan Guest

    Because there are only 12 Apartments in our block (6 1st Floor, 6 Groundfloor) the excess is small, circa €500.
    While it is my ceiling that is affected it is their floor so there is a possibility for a joint claim. I'll have to enquire from the Mngt Agent.
    I still believe that any excess should be added onto the service charges of the owners upstairs or added onto next years budget.
    Regardless, thanks for your thoughts/comments.
  5. JoeB

    JoeB Guest

    Hmmm.. two things I can think of...

    One is to claim directly on your upstairs neightbours policy... I know it's also your policy but you are claiming under his name and so he is liable for the excess... I know for accidental fires you cannot claim from your neighbours policy, but is this true for floods? What I mean is.. if this happened in two semi-detached houses you may be able to claim under your neighbours policy, not in the case of a fire due to the Accidental Fires Act.. but probably in the case of flooding.. so attempt to do the same here..

    If this isn't possible then consider suing the owner directly, for your loss due to his negligience.. Ok, he may not have been negligient, but neither were you, and you have suffered a loss due to his problem, so sue him personally... firstly of course ask him nicely to pay, if he refuses send a solicitors letter stating you'll be suing, and you'll be charging all costs to him.

    I think it's a disgrace if you are out of pocket and the owner causing the problem gets off scot free!!!!

    What would happen if the same thing happened in two semi-detached houses?

    I think the government needs to start 'governing' in relation to apartments, management companies, developers not handing over shared land, councils not taking estates in charge and imposing illegal planning conditions.. etc etc...
  6. Manage - ClC

    Manage - ClC Guest

    This is an internal issues and not an issue for the management company and its agents. You must ensure that the agents know of this incident for their files but it is the owners responsibility to deal with the neighbour involved.
  7. Brouhahaha

    Brouhahaha Frequent Poster

    I believe the legal position is, where there is no negligence, liability does not travel from one property to another. The affected house's insurance would be claimed against, not the insurance of the property where the damage originated. I'm not a legal expert though.
  8. Frank

    Frank Frequent Poster

    I had this happen nov last year. literally a torent of water coming in.

    I managed to contain it to heaps of towels and tiled floor.

    Managed to get talking to the guy upstairs the shower tray was full (blocked drain) and the later found the batch was leaking.

    MGMT co organised a plumber to sort the problems.

    He cut holes in my ceiling to find the problems.

    The plasterer and painter came and sorted the holes.

    All finished before christmass and no charge to me at all.
    The cost was on the accounts for this year.
  9. jonronan

    jonronan Guest

    Thanks Frank for your comments - I agree completely with them. I do not agree with the comments by Manage - CIC.
    In my opinion its not an internal issue asthe above apartments floor and my ceiling are owned by the Mngt Co (at least I'm pretty sure they are).

    So if there is damage done to the Mngt Co. Property then they are responsible.

    It's begining to sound like I might need to contact my solicitor to get the ball rolling and to get it sorted.
  10. Helen

    Helen Frequent Poster

    I'm going through a similar problem at the moment & was told the same answer as Manage CIC says (by a friend who works for the management agent, so I trust him)
    Anyway, I've posted on a similar thread what I ended up doing:-
    Still awaiting outcome, but hopefully it will work out in the end.
  11. amtc

    amtc Frequent Poster

    The apartment above my duplex flooded and came down throygh the ceiling - although Iclaimed off the block policy, legal advice was that I was liable for the excess
  12. aaa1

    aaa1 Frequent Poster

    Same thing happened me but it was my apartment leaking onto the one below. Turns out I was covered by the block insurance because the leak was caused by a ruptured heating pipe - which was under concrete in the floor. As it was 'outside' my four walls, it was covered by the block insurance.

    My understanding is that because your neighbour's boiler leaked, that is not part of the block insurance. It is within the four walls and therefore their personal responsibility.
  13. amtc

    amtc Frequent Poster

    My upstaits neighbours dishwaher leaked, and I had to pay the excess for damge to my ceiling
  14. babaduck

    babaduck Frequent Poster

    Jonronan - were any of your contents damaged? If so, then you should notify your contents insurer and make a claim. They will then assess liability and seek to recover the outlay from a third party (i.e. your neighbor).

    The Managing Agent/Management Company are in no way liable for your neighbour's failure to maintain their boiler unless they had a servicing policy in place as part of the management facility.

    I know this from experience as in my last job I worked for a builder & this issue happened a few times.