Dealing with water leaks

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1 Dealing with water leaks

2 Dealing with water leaks Introduction Water leaks can cause a great deal of damage and should be treated as quickly as possible. This guide explains the responsibilities of leaseholders, shared owners and freeholders for dealing with water leaks. plumber find that the leak is not coming from a pipe which exclusively supplies your flat, you should request a detailed report. You need to send the report to us, along with the invoice for the plumber s services and we ll arrange to reimburse you for the cost of the plumber. If you fail to arrange for a qualified plumber to attend and allow the leak to continue you will breach your lease and we ll have to take legal action to protect other residents and the building. If you own a house You re responsible for any leaks on the inside or outside of your home, whether you own some or all of the equity in it. You should call a qualified plumber and have any leaks repaired as soon as possible. The cost of repairing any damage done to investigate the leak (but not repairing the leak itself) can normally be claimed under the buildings insurance. If AmicusHorizon insure your home, an insurance claim form is available for you on our website. If you own a flat As the owner of a flat you re responsible for any water pipes which exclusively serve your flat, for example, pipes running to your bath. Generally speaking there are very few pipes that are our responsibility above the ground floor. In most cases pipes are the responsibility of individual flat owners. If there s a major leak (see definition below), you should arrange for a qualified plumber to attend and make any repairs necessary. Should your Water is leaking from my neighbour s flat and damaging mine: what should I do and who should pay for it? Water leaks are very common in buildings containing flats. When your upstairs neighbours use washing machines, showers, radiators etc leaks can occur. The first thing to do is to find the cause of the leak and what immediate action is required to stop it. This is not always a straightforward matter because the building is likely to contain many pipes and appliances. Also water can travel through the structure of the building before emerging in an individual flat. To find the leak: Speak to all your neighbours in the block. Remind your neighbours they may not be able to see the leak in their flat as it may be under the floor. Contact the buildings insurers as they may be prepared to pay for a professional to trace the source of a leak. Once you have found the leak, you can move on to working out who will pay for the repairs and put things right. 2

3 Repairs; Each individual leaseholder will be responsible for pipes and appliances exclusively serving their flat even if they are not within the area of the flat. Any communal pipes or equipment (e.g. water tanks) serving more than one flat will be our responsibility. Putting things right; The damage caused by water leaks is commonly covered by insurance, but there is likely to be an excess to pay. The excess on buildings insurance may be recoverable from the person responsible for the leak. You will need to contact them to ask them to reimburse you this excess. It is very important to deal with water leaks quickly because damage resulting from damp and other associated problems can be extensive. The building insurance will not cover damage which could have been avoided You need to tell the person most likely to be responsible for the leak as soon as possible, including speaking to your neighbours. You should also take steps to mitigate your own loss. For example: drying out carpets and moving objects. Keep evidence of any expenditure incurred as a result of the leak. You should always report water leaks to the buildings and contents insurers as soon as possible in case a claim needs to be made. They will not pay out if you delay your claim. If you live in a block of flats not owned by AmicusHorizon If your block is managed by a company other than AmicusHorizon you should let them know about any leaks. If you are not satisfied with their response let us know. If it s a major leak (see definition below), we ll send a member of staff to investigate and talk to the managing agent. What is the difference between a major and a minor leak? Major Leak Water running into property which cannot be contained Persistent and constant leak with no obvious let up of flow Water running persistently through electrical fittings Dirty water causing permanent damage (i.e. waste water not clean water which is dirty from its journey.) Minor Leak Staining only or small amount of water penetration Intermittent leak, more severe than above but containable when it happens Minimal property damage, staining to walls and/or ceilings, clean water or non permanent damage to furniture, fixtures & fittings Running external overflows. 3

4 Frequently Asked Questions There is water pouring through my ceiling, can you help? Speak to your neighbour immediately and ask them to switch off their water until they can get a plumber. If your neighbour is not home and you don t have contact details call us and we ll call them for you to ask them to come home straight away. Take what action you can to lessen the damage such as putting a bucket or bowl below the leak to catch the water. If it s an emergency call 999! Why can t AmicusHorizon just enter and repair the leak? If the flat above is an AmicusHorizon rented property, we ll deal with the repair of the leak and any damage. If the property is owned by a leaseholder, they re responsible for repairing any leak, even if they are subletting their home. In extreme cases where a leaseholder does not undertake the necessary repair, we can force entry. In order to do this, we may need to go to court for legal permission to do this. In cases of major leaks, we could apply for an emergency injunction to force the home owner above to repair the leak or to force entry for our contractors to repair the leak. We have no powers to break someone s door down and access their property. If there s a danger of the ceiling falling down call the fire service. The fire service can force entry to the flat above They may also turn off the water to the whole block if they re unable to find the source of the leak. 4

5 There is a water stain on my ceiling which is getting worse. What do I do? Water staining is usually the result of a minor leak. If the flat above is rented from AmicusHorizon we ll arrange to enter that property to find and repair the leak. Please let us know the number of the flat immediately above you since this is the likeliest place for the leak to come from. If the flat above is owned by a leaseholder, they are responsible for repairing the leak. You should contact your neighbour above, explain you have water damage in your flat and ask them to arrange to repair the leak. If you ve contacted your neighbours about the leak and you re sure it s coming from their flat, we can contact them to enforce the terms of their lease and get them to repair the leak. In extreme cases, we can force entry but we must go to court first for legal permission to do so which can take a considerable amount of time. Whilst your neighbour is repairing the leak also contact the building insurers as you may have a claim for the works to your ceiling. I have been told my flat is leaking into the flat downstairs. What are my responsibilities? If you rent If you rent your home from AmicusHorizon, please call Response on and we ll arrange for a contractor to attend to fix the leak and repair any damage. If you re a home owner Your lease makes you responsible for all water pipes which exclusively serve your flat so it s likely any leak will come from a pipe you own and is your responsibility to fix. You should call out a qualified plumber and have any leak repaired as soon as possible. Should your plumber find the leak is coming from a communal pipe you should request a report and send this to us together with the invoice for the plumber s services. We ll arrange to reimburse you for the cost of the plumber. The cost of repairing any damage done in investigating the leak (but not repairing the leak itself) can usually be claimed under the buildings insurance. If AmicusHorizon insure the block an insurance claim form is on our website for you. If AmicusHorizon do not own the property you need to make a claim under the buildings insurance via the managing agent. My overflow is running. What should I do? You re responsible for arranging for your overflow to be inspected and repaired by a qualified plumber, whether you own some or all of the equity in your home. You may need access to the roof area or to erect access panels on the building. If so, please speak to your Home Ownership Officer who can discuss consent for this. 5

6 I have mould in my home. What can I do? If you have mould in your home it is unlikely to be caused by a leak, as they don t usually produce mould. Instead a leak appears as a spreading water stain. If the mould is worse in colder weather and is in areas such as around windows, in the corners of a room, behind wardrobes or in cupboards, it s likely to be caused by condensation. Condensation does not cause rising or penetrating damp and will not show on a damp meter. To prevent condensation, make sure you Further information If you would like any more information on this or any of our policies or services please contact: The Home Ownership Team on or go to our website uk. Further advice on any aspect of owning a leasehold property can be obtained from the Leasehold Advisory Service. This a public body sponsored by the Government to provide advice and guidance to leaseholders. Their website address is: or call them on Always use the extractor fan(s) when cooking or using the bathroom, Ventilate your home and ensure that any trickle vents in your windows are open Cover saucepans when cooking Don t hand clothes to dry in the property. To remove and prevent mould, you should wipe down the affected areas with a mould cleaner. If you use bleach or soap and water, you won t kill the mould and you ll spread it over a wider area. If you want further information and guidance on condensation, please call Response or go online for our Condensation Leaflet. 6

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