Repairing neighbouring flat after leak

First time landlord here, so would really appreciate any advice. I had a leak in my flat, totally unseen as it was from a pipe behind the shower tiles. I was alerted by a note from the neighbour in downstairs flat. I sought a plumber and fixed promptly. I now have a note asking for me to pay to redecorate her bathroom. Where do I stand on this if I fixed the problem as soon as I was aware? The house insurance for these flats is done via the management company.

It should be covered by insurance, downstairs flat will have to claim. You are not liable if you have fixed quickly.

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I agree with Richard19. You are not obliged to pay for “acts of god”. Neighbour will have to claim on the insurance unless they can show negligence.

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How do you tell acts of god from negligence? We evicted T, who (we suppose) loosened the connection in the kitchen pipe. It didn’t leak straightway, but when new T started using water. How is it classified? Does it matter if previous T didn’t loosen it?


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It would be up to the neighbour or their insurance company to investigate and sue you for the costs if they believed it was due to negligence.

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I’ve been in a similar situation before and looked into the law etc in detail.

Have you read the insurance policy bought by the management company?
It could be that it only covers building shell and common areas (which is what my buildings insurance covers).
If that’s the case all residents should have bought either contents or (in your case) landlord’s insurance, to cover interiors, white goods, etc.

When I had the problem, the owner of the downstairs flat, who is a landlord, was adamant that I had pay.
But it turned out it was only because he had not bought landlord insurance.

Unless it can be shown that you have behaved negligently or shown intent, then it’s simply not your responsibility, and should be covered by your neighbours contents insurance (which he may not have, but probably does).

If the damage is very small, and under the excess, it may be worth considering contributing to the costs, but only if you make it clear that no precedent is being set (though this is probably a bad idea).

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