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View Full Version : Burst water pipe - where do i stand ?



googles
27-01-2009, 23:40 PM
I'm currently 1 of 4 tenants staying in a rented property, we all left for Christmas and returned 3 weeks later to find a pipe had burst in the loft, the amount of damage isn't huge, about a weeks worth of repairs, but we had to stay some where else. The landlady now says we should of left the heating on while we were away and that as we never, (we weren't ever informed we had to) we are liable for the damage. The house is currently being repaired by the insurance but it looks like we'll end up being charged to some extent. Where do we stand in terms of having to pay for the repairs? Also am I still obligated to pay the rent for the time (3 weeks) where the house was flooded?

LandlordLee
28-01-2009, 01:09 AM
If you were provided with alternative accommodation then you still have to pay the rent as usual. If you were not and had to live elsewhere then i would negotiate this with your landlord. Again if you lived in it and it was livable then really you have no case regarding the rent.

Regarding the pipe, i have in my AST's that you are required to keep heating on if not present, even if it is say for an hour a day perhaps. This prevents this happening. However new boilers come on automatically nowadays to prevent freezing.

Regarding damage, if the insurance is involved then i would only expect you to be asked to pay the insurance excess (usually around £100 - £200 which between 4 is not much).

It really depends on what your AST says

MrJohnnyB
28-01-2009, 08:14 AM
I fail to see how its your problem at all to be honest. If there is nothing in your agreement about heating the building (which would be dubious anyway!) then you don't have to, after all S11 LTA1985 states that it is the landlords responsibility to maintain the pipework of a property thus by failing she has failed in her duties to maintain it. The damage therefore is up to her to rectify, and could be covered as an insured risk.

PaulF
28-01-2009, 09:38 AM
Burst water pipe - where do I stand?Not under the leak, that's for sure! Tee Hee!

fletchj
28-01-2009, 11:03 AM
I fail to see how its your problem at all to be honest. If there is nothing in your agreement about heating the building (which would be dubious anyway!) then you don't have to, after all S11 LTA1985 states that it is the landlords responsibility to maintain the pipework of a property thus by failing she has failed in her duties to maintain it. The damage therefore is up to her to rectify, and could be covered as an insured risk.

This can't be right I'm afraid, this problem was not caused by a lack of maintenance but by the tenant failing to take reasonable care. Whatever the agreement says the tenant has a duty to look after the property whilst they are in possesion - that would include ensuring that precautions were taken against the pipes freezing during a period of cold weather. The tenant would reasonably be expected to anticipate cold weather over christmas and either leave the heating on low or turn the water off at the stopcock and drain the system down while they are away. After all, surely this is what you would do if it was your house?

The agreement cannot cover all precautions that the tenant should take as you would have to include a massive list of possible activities that could damage the flat.

johnjw
28-01-2009, 12:29 PM
I think this sort of accident would be covered by the landlords building insurance - at least to the extent that there is damage to the building or landlords possessions. Any damage to tenant possessions should be covered by tenant contents insurance if that is in place.

I don't think that the tenant can be held responsible for a burst water pipe in the circumstances described. It would have been sensible to leave some heating on, but bearing in mind that we have had warm winters for several years, it's the sort of risk that owners and tenants alike could easily take.

Regarding whether you should be recompensed for the cost of alternative accommodation while the repairs were carried out, I think like LandlordLee that this might be a matter for negotiation. The LL probably isn't insured for this particular cost and bearing in mind that a little carelessness on the part od the tenant was involved, I think such a payment would be resisted.

MrJohnnyB
28-01-2009, 13:15 PM
The tenant would reasonably be expected to anticipate cold weather over christmas and either leave the heating on low or turn the water off at the stopcock and drain the system down while they are away. After all, surely this is what you would do if it was your house?

Agreed to some extent. However as the pipe in question is in the loft space which should be adequately insulated is heating the property going to actually make any difference to the temperature of the pipe thus if they had as you say taken reasonable steps to leave the heating on for some days would it of ultimately made any difference? Is it really reasonable to turn off the water and drain the system? particularly with the nature and requirements of modern piping and insulation to prevent such problems and the nature of the recent cold weather being such a freak occurance (didnt they say its the coldest winter in 50 years or something!) I think this would all stack in T's favour.

islandgirl
28-01-2009, 14:02 PM
I just leave the door to the loft open and have some heat in the house... works for me!