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Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 26070
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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Over the last 2 years my flat has had 3 separate leaks of

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Over the last 2 years my flat has had 3 separate leaks of water into the basement flat below me. None of which were negligence on my part, all repairs were carried out immediately afterwards. My downstairs neighbour doesn't have contents insurance and wants compensation for damages. I am trying to sell my flat and she is demanding that I pay her £20,000 or she will tell my solictors that I contravened my lease by having Airbnb guests in the flat. She wants to derail the sale. It is true that I did have Airbnb guests at one point. They are no longer in the flat. But I naively didn't tell the freeholder. I want to tell the freeholder and get it out in the open but just wonder how best to proceed. I don't want to lose the sale and I don't want to be blackmailed. I think I need to tell my solicitor, but I haven't been happy with their advice on the house sale to date. What is the best course of action?

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.

I am sorry to read of the above. Do you happen to have a copy of your lease to hand?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Hi Joshua. I do - attached.

Many thanks. If you can leave that with me for a few minutes and I will revert.

Sorry for the delay in reverting to you. Thank you for the copy extract of the lease. Obviously this is not the whole of the lease but fro what I can see it includes the relevant sections which would contain covenants preventing you from subletting under Airbnb though there are some more restrictios referred to in the first schedule.

Renting out the flat on Airbnb or similar would be breaches of clauses 3.7 (due to the decision in Nemcova v Fairfield Rents Ltd [2016] UKUT 303 (LC) and also clause 2.6.3.

However the landlord is not entitled to damages arising out of your breach of covenant. His remedy is to serve you notice and require that you undertake not to do so again. Given that you are no longer breaching the covenant it would be bold for him to serve a notice of breach of covenant now but technically he could. The worst that could happen is therefore that he serves you with a notice of breach of covenant and claims solicitors costs for doing so which might amount to £2-300+VAT. That in itself would be extremely draconian if you make it clear in any disclosure to him that you have long since ceased to breach the covenants above but he could argue it being valid service.

Otherwise there is nothing more he can do. So the neighbours threats do not have a great deal of weight. If you feel that your neighbour may contact our landlord you may be better to preempt this by disclosing the breaches of covenant making it clear that you have not done so since [date] and undertake that you will not do so again.

Otherwise as you say the neighbour would need to prove negligence in order to make a claim for damage caused as a result of leaks.

Does the above answer all your questions? If it does, I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to click a rating for my service to you today. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me though

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Thank you Joshua. I forgot to mention that the second leak happened when the Airbnb guests were there, not us. Does that constitute negligence in your view? It was the smaller leak so I'm not too worried about any potential compensation. I think I will tell the landlord about the breach by email ASAP. Thanks for the advice.

A pleasure. No the presence or not of guests would not be material. What is relevant is the cause of the leak - if it was due to negligent disrepair (i.e. you know something is faulty but don't bother to fix it) or leaving a tap running and water overflowing - this would be negligence and your neighbour would be entitled to damages. However your neighbour has to prove negligence. An accident - e.g. a pipe bursting which was not known to be faulty is not negligence and she would have no claim against you.

Has the above answered your questions satisfactorily?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
understood perfectly. Thank you.

Many thanks. If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to click a rating to rate my service to you today. I am very grateful to receive any feedback.

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