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Water leaked from my neighbour’s flat and damaged my property. What can I do?

First, make sure the leak has stopped. Talk to your neighbour to find out what went wrong and check that they are taking reasonable steps to prevent further damage. Write to your landlord or managing agent so they are aware and you have a record of it. 

If your neighbour is not cooperating, you may have to ask the landlord or managing agent to take the lead and get access to find the source of the problem. 

Contact your insurer and make a note of what has been damaged. 

Find out who is responsible 

Responsibility depends on the cause of the leak and the terms of your lease. It is a good idea to get some form of proof about the cause – for example, from a builder or plumber, whether your own or the landlord’s.  

If the cause is disputed, you may need an assessment from a surveyor or a professional, who can also outline what the repair should be. Some insurance policies cover the cost of tracing the cause of a leak. 

Generally, leaseholders are responsible for pipes and other apparatus exclusively serving their flat even if they run outside it. In this case, your neighbour may be responsible for the damage to your flat, if they were negligent or failed to take appropriate action following the leak. 

Any communal pipes or apparatus serving more than one flat are generally the responsibility of the landlord or management company. They may recover the repair costs through the service charge and buildings insurance policy. 

Paying for the repairs 

If the neighbour is responsible for the damage, you should ask them to cover the cost of the repairs. Negotiation is usually the quickest and most cost-effective way forward. If this does not resolve the matter, you could try mediation. 

As a last resort, you may have to take your neighbour to the small claims court for damages. Always get specialist advice before taking legal action. 

Template letters 

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