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  • Buy-to-Let

    Landlord obligations following a water leak??

    Hi, looking for some advice/thoughts.

    I have a BTL flat which recently suffered a water leak that has ruined the carpets/flooring and parts of the kitchen units i am now in the process of getting these replaced. There was also some damage to the tenants personal belongings - I want to understand my legal and moral obligations here.

    I have paid for and moved the tenant into a hotel (& paying for her breakfast) for what in total will be 2 weeks. Am i legally obliged to put her up in a hotel? pay for her breakfast? do i have to pay for her personal belongings to be replaced or (i would have thought) that her contents insurance should pay for these?

    I have also had to empty the fridge and freezer of her food because the property had to be cleared out completely - do i have to/should i replace the food that went to waste?

    I have had to use a dehumidifier to dry out the place, she is complaining that this will be using a lot of electricity and that she feels i should cover this expense?

    Would appreciate your views on this? I feel like i have done the right thing at every opportunity, but now i feel like she is taking advantage of my goodwill.

    Look forward to hearing from you.

    Many Thanks

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    Did the leak originate in your flat?

    If so from which location?

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    Yes it did, one of the pipes underneath the kitchen units?

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    OK so it sounds as if you do have some obligation to neutralise impact on tenant - was it the rising main pipe that leaked as that obvs would cause extensive damage?

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    I guess all the money that you paid can't exceeed 1 month rent.. If it does, then you have made a loss. Be candid that we can only do so much out of good will. I cant see what ground can the tenants sue you.
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    Check your tenancy agreement to see what your obligations are and check with your building’s insurer - probably via the block’s managing agent or freeholder - what they will pay for.     The tenant is responsible for insuring their personal belongings and this is likely to be mentioned in the tenancy agreement.
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    Dyou think it's possible the tenant caused the pipe to leak by accident? That would have a bearing on matters.

    Your building and contents insurance should pay out for repairs due to water damage. Some insurers will pay out for alternative accommodation, hotel room and £15 daily allowance for meals is the norm.

    As for her possessions she ought to have taken out contents insurance. Though you might feel some obligation I think you are paying out enough on everything else, just explain that to her and say you can't afford to help her! I doubt she will take you to court as that will out sour the tenant / landlord relationship.

    Insurers can also pay for the electricity used to dry out a property so it seems fair to compensate her for that.

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    Check your tenancy but if they cant live there then yes you have legal obligations 

    Buildings Insurance should cover a leak from a fixed installation.

    If the leak is an old one though and no checks have been done which could reasonably be expected to find it they may reject claim

    A comprehensive one will replace carpets , white goods etc and loss of rent

    Tenant should have contents insurance for their own stuff

    I`ve had some leaks in my time  . Tenant put up in hotel till fixed  - 5 nights

    Insurance paid out - Just keep all receipts



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    Jonathan Clarke. http://www.buytoletmk.com