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Ask ivorylounge Your Own Question
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 33524
Experience:  Barrister at Self Employed Barrister
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I have two flats, one above the other. My upstairs tenant

Customer Question

I have two flats, one above the other.
My upstairs tenant broke the infill pipe off the toilet at 2 am in the morning, then just stood by and watched while the flat filled with 2 inches of water, which then went through and flooded the flat below.
The downstairs tenant went upstairs and found them just watching the flat flood and called the fire brigade. The upstairs tenant were not able to see the turn off valve (there was one on the pipe just inches from where it was broken) and did not think to get a bucket.
The downstairs tenant is very angry as her flat was flooded and many of her belongings ruined.
I have already offered them a £50 reduction in their rent to cover some of their inconvenience, however, they are claiming that their damages are in excess of £150 as both of their passports need to be replaced and all their personal paperwork was soaked and ruined.
In addition I am looking to replace ruined floor coverings and have had to lift the downstairs floorboards because of the risk of dry rot.
I am trying to decide what is fair to charge the upstairs tenant as far as damages go.
They had been in the flat for just one month and the flat was immaculate when they moved in (with brand new carpets.)
They have paid £390 as a deposit, but they have a parental guarantor.
I have asked repeatedly for access to the upstairs flat but they are not responding to my texts, phone calls or letters.
I am not retain, but judging by the comments by the downstairs tenants and my own observations I believe there may have been drugs/alcohol issues that lead to this damage. I certainly don’t believe that the pipe just fell off the toilet during the night.
Please can you tell me what process I follow and how to fairly judge what to charge the tenant.
Also, do I charge them now or do I have to wait to take it out of the bond?
Shelley Keenan
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  ivorylounge replied 2 years ago.
Is there landlord insurance for this type of incident?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I'm not sure if it is worth claiming as I have a high excess - would prefer not to claim against my insurance if at all possible.

What I'm wanting to know is what I can legally ask of the tenant?

Expert:  ivorylounge replied 2 years ago.
The fact is that it was not the tenants fault that the leak occurred from what you have written. He probably contributed to the level of the damage - the fact that he didn't report the leak but was simply watching it etc makes him more liable - the starting point thus would be one of contributory negligence or in this case liability. There is an argument that he would only be liable up to the level of the excess. He is entitled to see an intemised account of the damages from downstairs - but I would probably put his liability at between 1/3 and 1/2. Happy to discuss. Please remember to rate positive
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Why do you determine that it wasn't the tenants fault? Pipes don't just break off toilets for no reason? And certainly not in the middle of the night? Our thoughts are that they must have been drunk. The tenants downstairs heard them fighting and throwing things around.

Expert:  ivorylounge replied 2 years ago.
Well you never told me above about the fighting etc. You merely stated that there was a leak and they did nothing about it.