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Dry rot - who is responsible for insurance claim?

(12 Posts)
WillPenn Tue 17-Jun-14 20:21:29

We live in a flat. We are having our bathroom renovated. Once the false ceiling was ripped out we saw dampness on the real ceiling that had been hidden below. It turns out there is dry rot caused by bath/shower in flat above. There was a leak of actual water once but this stopped after we notified the landlord and he assured us it was fixed.

The landlord who owns the flat above intimates that we will both have to claim on our insurance for the repair as it is our ceiling as well as his floor. However, the problem has not been caused by us. It is clearly caused by his leaking bath - the rot expert who came to inspect today said as much. Why on earth should we claim on our insurance and pay the £550 excess that comes along with this?

Lawyers/anyone - what do you think? Our insurer is flaky and said it is "up to us" to sort out liability with the landlord above!

Celeriacacaca Tue 17-Jun-14 21:02:21

What does your lease say about ceilings/floors? It might clarify who's responsible for what.

WillPenn Tue 17-Jun-14 21:13:03

Sorry, should clarify - we own our flat. I'm not sure there is a written document about responsibility.

I was hoping that any others who had been in this situation with a leak from an above flat might be able to offer their experiences.

Eminybob Tue 17-Jun-14 21:35:38

If you notify your insurance company will they not work with the other insurance company and decide between themselves who is liable? Like they do with car insurance? Your insurance won't pay out if they don't think they have to. I would have thought. I'm no expert though.

AgentProvocateur Tue 17-Jun-14 21:37:12

Yes, you claim off your insurance, and, if necessary, your insurers claim off your neighbour's insurance. Unless you come to an amicable arrangement, you just need to pay the excess and suck it up. Sorry.

WillPenn Tue 17-Jun-14 21:58:49

I spoke to the insurers today (NFU) and they were not able to give me a clear answer.

AgentP - why do we have to claim on our insurance and they claim on landlord's insurance? All repairs can be undertaken from the landlord's flat so why do our people need to get involved at all? Why should we pay the £550 excess for a problem that we have not caused?

Surely this is different from car insurance in a crash as there is no doubt here as to whose "fault" it is - i.e. it is the landlord's leaking bath that is at fault.

It just seems that no one can tell me why it works like this, which is rather frustrating

AgentProvocateur Tue 17-Jun-14 22:29:26

I don't know why - it just does. We were flooded from above, and that's how it worked. Say, for example, your neighbour didn't have insurance. Yours would pay out. If you didn't have insurance, your neighbours may not cover redecorating your ceiling. It would depend on their cover.

I guess the convention of claiming from your own insurance is thought to be the best method.

PragmaticWench Wed 18-Jun-14 12:51:06

You own the Leasehold to your flat and the Leasehold documentation from your purchase may well detail who is responsible for floors/ceilings/spaces in between. Obviously you may also part-own, or own, the freehold. You should have a copy of your Lease, or your solicitor/conveyancer will.

WillPenn Wed 18-Jun-14 16:23:18

Thanks for advice - am hoping we can come to some cordial agreement with the owner above. Because we are in Scotland there is no leasehold - the ownership is completely freehold. So all we have is the deeds of the flat (which is a purpose built flat, not a divided house) which I can't remember containing any detail about responsibility but I will go back and check. I think Scottish law is pretty different to English in these cases.

AgentProvocateur Wed 18-Jun-14 17:19:09

If it helps, I'm in Scotland too.

WillPenn Wed 18-Jun-14 17:28:58

AgentP - I think I'm just going to have to bow to convention, aren't I, and claim on the insurance because "that is just how it's done." It just annoys me that no one can actually give me a reason WHY it should be done that way - and why we should end up £550 out of pocket for damage that we did not cause....

colquhoi Mon 10-Nov-14 15:16:38

Hi, I'm in a very similar situation to yours but predicting that my insurer will state that I'm not covered for Rot (it's on their exclusions list).

Was wondering what happened in the end with your situation - did it get resolved and if so how? Many thanks

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