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Water leak in rental property.

(16 Posts)
MrsLouisTomlinson Wed 22-Mar-17 16:09:05

First off usual apologies apply about Renting a property out apply, believe me I have no desire to be a landlord but it's the situation I'm in right now and I'm trying to be one of the decent ones.

We have a rental property that is tenanted currently by a single male. A week past Sunday we got a phone call from the letting agent to inform us that the ceiling in the living room had collapsed due to a ? Water leak. It had also caused water damage to the adjoining room which is the kitchen. We got a builder out on the Monday morning and he was unable to immediately pinpoint the source of the leak, however he gave us a quote for the location of the leak and reparation works. We also contacted the insurance company who sent a loss adjuster out on the Wednesday.

In the meantime we advised the tenant we would be of course not asking for rent during this time of upheaval and recommended he moved out for the time it took for the works to be done. Our insurance policy covers rehousing in these circumstances. The tenant advised he had a dog (not agreed to at the outset but not an issue as such) and therefore had nowhere to go. The insurance company say that the house is not uninhabitable and they will not cover us for alternative housing for him in any event.

The Loss adjuster was not able to locate the source of the leak and was not able to say whether the insurance company would cover the damage so he instructed a specialist leak locater (restoration and drying expert) who has not been able to locate the source of the leak either. The loss adjuster is now recommending the complete removal of the ceiling to locate the leak as opposed to the removal of tiles etc in the bathroom which is our builders preferred option (and one which will prove a lot cheaper if we are not covered by insurance). The loss adjuster states that unless we comply then he will not be able to proceed with the claim. The builder estimates that removal of the ceiling completely could add up to 1k to the bill.

The leak expert expressed concern about mould spores and the effect on the tenant who is still refusing to move out and the insurance company still maintains the house is habitable.

Anyone got any advice or tactics for dealing with insurance companies?

madeleinecreek Wed 22-Mar-17 17:00:58

I have no expertise in this area but I would suggest getting your builder to remove the tiled area and if you can find the leak then you can call the loss adjuster and let him rip out the ceiling?

Boulshired Wed 22-Mar-17 17:19:59

I have not long had to have my hallway ceiling removed and replaced. We were not allowed to touch anything until the insurance company accepted our claim. We ended asking for a cash settlement it was close to 3k because of plastering, joists, coving and decorating. But at least I could get trades I trusted.

MrsLouisTomlinson Wed 22-Mar-17 17:31:22

So essentially we have to do what the loss adjuster demands at the risk of saddling ourselves with a bill if things don't go our way.

Villagernumber9 Wed 22-Mar-17 17:55:53

Is the bathroom above the collapsed ceiling?

PigletJohn Wed 22-Mar-17 22:22:27

if you've had a bad water leak, the ceiling probably needs to come down anyway (preferably before it falls down). The age of the building is relevant. And you need to expose the joists so they can dry out before they go rotten.

Are you sure the flood wasn't from leaving the bath taps running and falling asleep?

bojorojo Wed 22-Mar-17 22:32:48

Can the dog go and stay somewhere? I would terminate the tenancy if the terms have been breached. I would be furious if a dog was in one of my houses and I had specifically said no pets. You are too generous. Agree to the loss adjuster and accept that you need to get the claim accepted.

MrsLouisTomlinson Wed 22-Mar-17 22:58:36

In answer to questions, the affected bits of the ceiling have been removed in order to make it safe.

The bathroom is above the area of ceiling that has come down.

There was dust on the bathroom floor on immediate inspection following notification of the collapse, so unless the tenant had redusted the floor I can't see how a large body of water could have been on the bathroom floor without us being aware and he denies anything of this sort happening.

The dog, yes, well we were told that he occasionally cared for his fathers dog when he was on holiday to which we agreed, as a result of all this we have subsequently found out he took over care of the dog permanently (or so he says). He says he has nowhere to go with the dog.

PigletJohn Wed 22-Mar-17 23:37:36

OK. It will be interesting to find out where the water came from. Is there a hot-water cylinder? What colour? I presume it is not frost-related.

MrsLouisTomlinson Thu 23-Mar-17 00:11:40

There is a combo boiler in the utility room on the ground floor, no heavy frosts that I can think of recently. The tenant says there was no sign of water at all until the ceiling came down. We had a builder in for a different issue 3 weeks prior and he confirms that as docthw letting agents who inspected the property in December.

scaryteacher Thu 23-Mar-17 06:45:16

When this happened to us, it was a leak underneath the panelled bath that caused the problem. I came home to my kitchen ceiling on the floor, water pouring down the inside of the French doors, and the cats cowering under the table! I lived there whilst it was fixed, but put the cats into the cattery.

MrsLouisTomlinson Thu 23-Mar-17 08:37:33

How did you locate the leak scrayteacher? Did you claim on the insurance?

I'm just worried that we do this and won't be able to locate the leak from the ceiling and we have to pull the bathroom to bits anyway and after all that the insurance decline to pay out and we're left with a huge bill.

Doesn't look like we have a choice.

Boulshired Thu 23-Mar-17 16:05:14

If the insurance company alter anything they will cover the cost of this and pay to reinstate back to what they found. The fact the cannot find the leak is a good sign in so much as they cannot blame the tenant or yourself for maintenance which is the usual way an insurer gets out of paying the claim.

MrsLouisTomlinson Thu 23-Mar-17 17:37:40

Really? The insurance company are telling us we have to engage a contractor to do the ceiling and just keep repeating they are not admitting any liability so won't say whether they will cover any costs.

MrsLouisTomlinson Thu 23-Mar-17 17:43:29

*until we can locate the source of the leak.

Villagernumber9 Thu 23-Mar-17 18:02:01

Run the bath and then empty it. It could be the waste pipe that is leaking, that might be the reason no-one can find the leak.

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