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Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 26070
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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Iowa a flat in a block and have had a sewerage leak into my

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Iowa a flat in a block and have had a sewerage leak into my living room from upstairs properties. The freeholder refused to fix the problem as he said it was a leaseholder problem. As a result my ceiling in my living room fell in and everything in the room was contaminated. My home insurance has covered this but I have not been able to live there since February this year. Can I claim against the freeholder for inconvenience and out of pocket expenses?
Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practising lawyer in England with over 10 years experience. May I ask if you know where the sewage leak originated please? Was it from sewage connections serving a neighbouring flat or was it from sewage pipes which serve more than one flat - i.e. communal sewage pipes?Did the main damage arise after you first notified the landlord - i.e. much of it could have been avoided if he had repaired - or had the damage already occured at the time you notified him?Do you know what caused the leak - in particular was it due to lack of maintenance?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The leak originated from a badly fitter pipe under one of the flats above my proper however it served two flats.
Yes the main damage resulted once he was informed and nothing was done, he refused to allow the property manager to use their drainage company to fix it, but wanted to use the builders that had fitted the pipes in the first place. Nearly a month later the leak returned worse than before and the site manager from the supermarket being refurbished downstairs brought I plumbers to get it fixed.
The leak was caused by the ill fitted pipes, that dis not allow for a flow which resulted in build up and eventually a burst pipe.
Thank you. If you would just a couple of hopefully final questions:From what you say above I believe I understand correctly that the landlords contractor arranged to fit the pipe which served more than one flat? If so do you have any evidence of this?Do you have any evidence of the chain of events you kindly outline below? e.g. can you prove the date you reported to the landlord and that the damage occured later following the landlords refusal to act or was it all verbal and therefore open to dispute by the landlord?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
There were issues with the pipes previously and they were re fitted 18 months ago, and there have been problems previously, our property manager has evidence of this, I have emails and pictures from the leak starting at the beginning of February till when the ceiling came in on the 19th feb.
Thank you very much for that. The starting all of this is establishing responsibility for the pipe or pipes in question. Responsibility flows from the terms of your lease. The overwhelming majority of leases for residential flats would provide that any pipe serving exclusively one particular flat is the responsibility of that particular flat owner but communal pipes serving more than one flat fall to the responsibility of the freeholder (landlord). although this is the position in the overwhelming majority of residential leases, it cannot be assumed that this is the case here and see for the avoidance of doubt, it is important confirm in your lease what structures fall to tenants and what structures for to landlord's responsibility. this will usually set out in the definition of your demise which will describe the extent of your flat and those structures you are responsible for. In the assumption that your lease follows the norm which is a realtively safe assumption, the next issue we need to establish is whether the leak was simply an accident (for which the landlord cannot be held liable) or the result of negligence (for which subject as above, he can). From what you say here the position appears to be that the leak and consequent damage may have been caused by negligence - namely the poor workmanship of putting together pipes and latterly the delay in attending to the repair which may have avoided the bulk of the damage that was caused. If you can demonstrate that the damage has been caused due to negligence of the landlord (which includes the negligence of his contractor for which the landlord can be vicariously held accountable) then it follows that (subject as above) the landlord is liable for the damage caused to your flat. If this is the case you can consider a claim against the landlord (and joining in his insurer) for the damage caused to your flat and your reasonable expenses following not being able to live in your property. Before considering a claim in the courts, you may wish to consider contacting the landlord's building insurance for the block as they may be willing to deal with the claim without it going to court. If not, then the proceedings can be issued if the landlord is not willing to settle, by using the courts online issuing service which is the simplest and cheapest way to issue proceedings. you may wish to join in the landlords insurer as a joint defendant on the claim. In the event you are successful, court fees can be reclaimed together with any expenses you incur in attending the hearing. I hope the above is of assistance? If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to click to rate my service to you today or just reply back to let me know if the above is helpful. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me I'd be very grateful
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