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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 30929
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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To Whom It May Concern I am the owner of my ground floor,

Customer Question

To Whom It May Concern

I am the owner of my ground floor, two bed roomed flat. I am a single woman with Multiple Sclerosis and living on my own. I purposely moved here six years ago because of the unpredictability of my Multiple Sclerosis symptoms and their effects to my future quality of life. Over the six years, I have been having ongoing problems with leaks and water damage from the two flats above me. Both flats are owned by the same landlord.

Over the years I have experienced damage to my property, my possessions and, more importantly, a decline in my health status due to water coming into my flat. I have been in contact with the landlord on numerous occasions by telephone, e-mail and face to face. He has, on each occasion, had a plumber in to rectify the leaks(s)/problem but as they have never been repaired at source (due to the instructions given to them by said landlord) the leaks have persisted on an inconsistent basis.
I have offered to pay my third of the costs for permanent repair, but this has not even been acknowledged by this landlord.

The lease has been found to be legally ambiguous as to who is liable for the cost of permanent repairs. The Management company (who have the buildings insurance for the properties) and to whom the residents pay a monthly management fee, are saying they do not accept responsibility and the said landlord is also refusing to accept responsibility. The result is they are at loggerheads. Meanwhile I am still experiencing the stress, inconvenience, financial loss and deteriorating health that this situation is causing.

I admit I have been foolish to let this situation continue for so long. I foolishly thought that the leak/ problem would be rectified each time a plumber was sent to deal with whatever difficulty was being experienced at that time. Recently my health has declined again and I am fearful that my independence will be compromised yet again.

I have over the years given the landlord numerous opportunities to rectify the problem but he has constantly failed to have the problem rectified permanently. The Management Company have also been kept aware of the situation.

I was encouraged by a friend to contact you for advice regarding disability harassment. Is there any possibility that I would have a case with either the landlord or management company?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Stuart J replied 3 years ago.
Hello, I am Law Denning and I am a practising solicitor in a High Street practice. I have been an expert on this website in UK law since 2008. During that time, as you appreciate, I have answered thousands of questions from satisfied users on a variety of subjects. Because we are all in practice with clients and court and other users, I might not always respond in minutes. Please bear with me in that case

It is my pleasure to try and assist you with this today. Please bear with me while I gather some further information from you in order for me to be able to advise you fully.

Unless I have all the facts that I need, my answer would not be accurate.

What are you hoping to achieve?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I am looking to have this situation rectified on a permanent basis. Would you advise me please on what I am able to inform them about what I could do legally to bring this situation to an end. I would rather not go through a legal process but would like to know what my next step could be in order to make them aware.... I have had enough.


I would like to enjoy living in my flat in peace and to be able to conserve my energy so that it can help me to minimize the adverse effects to me of my Multiple Sclerosis on my daily living and therefore my independence. Is there a possibility of saying that I will start a legal proceedings? If so, what would be the context?

Expert:  Stuart J replied 3 years ago.




thank you. I will
try to help you.

I will be
off-line shortly until tomorrow will pick this up then or some time over the
weekend.



Meanwhile, I need
some more information.



Is the landlord
of the upstairs flats the freehold landlord of the building or is he the
leaseholder of the above flats?



Do the pipes in
question serve the above flat exclusively or do those pipes serve anyone else
in the building? Do you know exactly what pipes they are that are
breaking/leaking and why? Why is it impossible to do a permanent repair?



I appreciate that
you may not know the answers you are going to need to know the answers in order
to be able to pursue this and get it resolved.



If I have an
indication of exactly where the problem is coming from and what the pipes do I
can answer you more accurately



Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Thank you for your reply.


As requested



Q. Is the land lord of the upstairs flats the freehold landlord of the building or is he the


leaseholder of the above flats?


 


A. He is a leaseholder



Q. Do the pipes in
question serve the above flat exclusively or do those pipes serve anyone else
in the building? Do you know exactly what pipes they are that are
breaking/leaking and why? Why is it impossible to do a permanent repair?


 


A. The pipes serve the three flats on this side of the building. There should be independent pipes providing water to each flat (this is stipulated in the lease). He was found to be tapping into my supply pipe in order to serve the two flats above. This was independently verified by the water company supplying the water and independent plumbers.


The plumbers which were sent to repair each “problem” were employed solely by the landlord therefore were only allowed to do the repairs as stipulated by him. He has now made “arrangements” whereby the water supply to each of the above flats can now be isolated from within each individual flat. Until several weeks ago the access to the water supply serving the above flats could only be isolated by the plumber having to isolate their supply by using the feed pipe which is inside MY flat. The ability to isolate the above flats only happened a few weeks ago. Since then, an inspection of the present arrangements by the water company, have “a strong suspicion” that he is now still using my supply pipe but has arranged that the water supply to each of the above flats now have the means to be isolate inside each of the two flats. This is hard to confirm because the water company have not been given access to inspect the “arrangement” in the middle flat i.e. the flat directly above mine. Although he is using my pipe work I am NOT paying for his water supply any more. I now have a water metre which has been inspected by the water company and I am now receiving and paying for the water supplying MY flat only. It was the fitting of the water metre which highlighted the existing problem.


It is suspected that the pipe work, which was inserted when the flats were built, have been corroding due to the fact that they are going through concrete ceilings and floors. This has not been confirmed.


 


 


 


Q. I appreciate that you may not know the answers you are going to need to know the answers in order
to be able to pursue this and get it resolved.


+


Q. If I have an
indication of exactly where the problem is coming from and what the pipes do I
can answer you more accurately


 


A. I appreciate this is a complicated and convoluted case. In my opinion the solution should rest with either the landlord or management company (either both together or separately.)


I am still willing to contribute to the cost of a permanent repair but as the management company and the landlord are both reluctant to agree on whose responsibility it is we keep going around and around.


I would like to know what I can do, as an INDIVIDUAL, to highlight what I can legally propose to both of them about my next step, as all the time they are disputing responsibility my health, my flat and my independence are being negatively affected.


That is why I am enquiring as to the possibility of a harassment case or any other case which would be possible to start if/when needed after informing both parties.



Kind Regards


Expert:  Stuart J replied 3 years ago.

Why is the leaseholder of the falt concerened with supplying water to flats above? that doesnt make sense.

Who owns freehold?

Who own lease of each flat.

That will expalin

If he tapped into your supply,has your meter been supplying his other flats water? Do you have a meter?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Apologies for the delay. The answers to your questions are as follows


 




Q, Why is the leaseholder of the flat concerned with supplying water to flats above? that does`nt make sense.


A. The concern is over the fact that the supply of water should be independent into each flat.


Q. Who owns freehold?


A. Effectively no one. There are five lessors who are also lesses


Q. Who owns the lease of each flat


A. Each individual owner of the flat


That will expalin


Q If he tapped into your supply,has your meter been supplying his other flats water? Do you have a meter?


A. I do have a meter now which was fitted in August `12. The meter is now serving only this flat but the two flats above were receiving water which was coming through MY supply pipe (being tapped into) prior to the meter being fitted.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.



Q, Why is the leaseholder of the falt concerened with supplying water to flats above? that doesnt make sense.


A. The concern is over the fact that the supply of water should be independent into each flat.


Q. Who owns freehold?


A. Effectively no one. There are five lessors who are also lesses


Q. Who owns the lease of each flat


A. Each individual owner of the flat


That will explain


Q If he tapped into your supply,has your meter been supplying his other flats water? Do you have a meter?


A. I do have a meter now which was fitted in August `12. The meter is now serving only this flat but the two flats above were receiving water which was coming through MY supply pipe (being tapped into) prior to the meter being fitted.

Expert:  Stuart J replied 3 years ago.

So the freehold is in 5 names or the name of a co of which you all own a share?

I need to know the legal structure.

Do you know exactly what flat this broken pipe serves? What exactly is the problem that it keeps leaking?

 

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Apologies for the delay again. I am having computer problems at the minute!


 


Information requested


 


Q.So the freehold is in 5 names or the name of a co of which you all own a share?


A. The freehold is managed by the management company who we employ. There are 32 flats in total with each owner having their own leese.There are 900+ years left on the freehold.


 


 


Q.I need to know the legal structure


A. I am not sure what you mean. Would you explain to me please.


 


Q.Do you know exactly what flat this broken pipe serves? What exactly is the problem that it keeps leaking?


A.The pipe serves the flat directly above mine. I do not know what the exact problem is, but as all repairs that have been undertaken have all been `superficial`, the leak comes back time after time.


 


The leak is in the process of being sorted again. Another sticking plaster repair no doubt!


 


The issue for me is, do I have the grounds for a harassment case or any other personal case? The landlord has known about the leaks coming into my flat intermittently for the past 6 years, yet he continues to have only temporary repairs carried out. He uses plumbers who will only do what he asks them to otherwise he refuses to pay them.


He is also aware of my health problems and the distress I am experiencing as a result of all this He is also aware that I live alone so sees me as an "easy target" in my opinion/


 


Expert:  Stuart J replied 3 years ago.




I am
going to opt out of this for one of my colleagues. They will be along shortly I
am sure. The question is now open to all experts. Meanwhile please don't reply
or it comes back to me. Thanks



Expert:  Joshua replied 3 years ago.
Thanks for your question. Please kindly RATE my answer when you are satisfied

My colleague has asked me to look at this for you. I specialise in landlord and tenant law. I have read your original post and the subsequent exchange of post between you ane my colleague. I believe I have almost all the information I require from the same save for one point.

  1. You mention that you suspect the leak is caused by corrosion. Do you know whether the corrosion in question has been caused to the length of pipe that serves your property exclusively (prior to the modifications) or the communal pipework?
  2. On a related not do I understand that you ave effectively been charged for other people's water supply? If this is correct have you been reimbursed for a pro rata share of these charges you have incurred?

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