Water damage caused by a neighbour: what to do
It is common for a burst pipe or drain in an upstairs flat to cause damage to your home. In fact, every year there are a huge number of interventions by insurance companies due to water leaks. What should you bear in mind to solve this problem?
You may have had the experience of arriving home and discovering a large damp stain coming from the ceiling. Water damage caused by a neighbour is a very common incident.
If it is already a nuisance to have a water leak at home, the situation can be even worse when we suffer the consequences of a water damage from someone else’s home. Fixing our damage can be complicated if the owner of the home where the water is coming from does not have insurance and our policy does not include legal expenses.
A small leak can turn into a full-blown waterfall, so the first thing to do is to locate your neighbour as soon as possible and tell him/her about the situation. To prevent the problem from getting worse, the best thing to do is to immediately turn off the water until the technicians arrive and fix the problem.
Whether our neighbour has home insurance, we are entitled to compensation for water damage, which in this case usually takes the form of repairing the elements of our home that have been damaged.
Does their insurance cover leaks?
In the event that our neighbour has insured his house, it is expected that his insurance will take care of our damages. But we must take into account that there are some cases in which our neighbour’s insurance will not cover water leaks.
If the water leakage is due to carelessness on the part of our neighbour, who has left a tap running and has been away from home for more than 72 hours, the insurance company will not cover the damage. Neither will your company assume the repair if the neighbour has neglected the maintenance of his house and the leak can be attributed to this.
On the other hand, if the leak has occurred as a consequence of building work in our neighbour’s house, we will have to demand the repair from the person responsible for the work, who must have civil liability insurance.
What to do if the responsible party does not take responsibility for the repair?
Even if the person responsible for the water leak does not have home insurance, they are still obliged to pay for the damage, either by paying directly for the repairs at our home or by paying our bill if for some reason we have to pay in advance.
If the neighbour refuses to cover the repairs, we should take photos or videos of the damage caused by the leaks. It is then worth calling your insurance company, if you have one, to send an expert. Their report will serve as evidence if we have to go to court.
In addition, if our policy includes legal expenses, we can take advantage of this, asking for a lawyer to handle the claim. Our lawyer will send the neighbour a claim stating what happened and asking for the damages to be repaired. If the other party still refuses to pay, then we will have to file a lawsuit.
The legal process followed in these cases is quick and simple. The judgement will order the defendant to pay for the repair or settle the bill if we have fixed the damage ourselves. Ultimately, if the responsible party does not comply with this obligation, we will have to request the execution of the judgement so that the amount owed to us can be seized.
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