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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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On july 23rd i noticed the kitchen floor was darker and scraped.

Customer Question

On july 23rd i noticed the kitchen floor was darker and scraped. The area expanded and i tried contacting the letting agency on july 28th. Due to their mailbox not allowing large emails the email only got through on the 1st of august when i realized it and resized the images attached. These images were a good visualization of the situation. Only on the 4th the landlady and the property manager of the letting agency came by. They immediately indicated it was water damage and that there was water beneath the floor. This was caused because of a dishwashers pipe that came loose, thus the water went into the ground. They immediately told me i had been negligent and say i'm liable for the damage and the costs of the reparations. I strongly disagree. This was obviously due to a defect of the machines out of my control which i didn't know anything about. Since the fourth NOTHING has happened. They came by a couple of times with builders to make some pictures, but that's it. The water damage hasn't been adressed and meanwhile the water made it's way into the walls. Should I hire somrone to come and adress the damage. What should i do?
Regards
Matthias De Meulder
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Hi.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
why do they say you have been negligent?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Because in their eyes i didn't report the matter in an appropriately timely manner.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
But you have an email ?
I presume they are saying the fault was there for a much longer period?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
No they say that i should've acted immediately.
Timeline of my emails
23rd noticed damage
24th asked for the property manager's details
25th property manager emails me
28th i reply stating my concerns on the kitchen floor and requesting someone to come have a look. Emails dont go through due to the large size. Tried a couple of times.
30th try again
1st of august at noon resize the images and the email gets through
4th they come and pay a visit
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Ok.
But when is immediately?
Are they suggesting that you should have instructed somebody on the 23rd without the landlord approval?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
They're saying i should've contacted them sooner and that i should've turned 'the mains of the water off' and not use the dishwasher anymore. I didn't even know the cause of the damage. For all i knew it was because of the heat.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Thanks.
Obviously the cause of this was beyond your control. That is probably not even disputed by them. Its down to a structural issue.
Their point though is that you were negligent in that you failed to take reasonable steps that could only be taken by you. I am really sorry but I am afraid there is a risk a Judge could find that noticing something that could plainly have been caused by a flood of some form and not turning the water off was negligent.
You can seek an expert report if you want to although I don't know what that would achieve. Its not very likely that they are arguing that you caused the initial leak or flood. Their argument will be that you failed to address it and an expert is not likely to be able to assist with that.
In relation to the damage, you can achieve your purpose by taking photographs. There is no need to go to the cost of an expert.
All that said, they should have taken some remedial action since the 4th August. You should get photographs if only to prove the situation now so that if it gets worse then they cannot blame that upon you.
I'm sorry this isn't the answer you wanted but it is the position that you face and I have a duty to inform you truthfully.
Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.
Jo
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69516
Experience: Over 5 years in practice
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Okay thanks. One more thing: they haven't had an expert come and officially note the damage and it's source. Is this normal?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Its not really an expert issue but it is not good pratice that they haven't put this right.

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