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Water Damage From Above

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Hi, thanks in advance, this is a complicated one.

About a year ago, water leaked from the maisonette flat above mine, in to my living room for about 2 hours.
I 'own' my flat on a 99 year lease. Both myself and the upstairs freeholder are buy-to-let landlords.

The immediate damage was not huge: Some stained wallpaper, a small hole in the ceiling (about the diameter of a wrist), and one or two of my tenants pictures went very soggy.

I had a reliable (but expensive) builder get quotes for doing a 'makeover' job (wallpaper and paint, and probably 'filler' on the hole), and because it looked like the ceiling might be 'bowing' a quote on 'the makeover+re-doing that whole section of ceiling'.

I presented the upstairs freeholder with a bill for the whole lot.
- He went ballistic, and we ended-up in a shouting match on the phone.
With him making mild threats, I quote 'I'm entitled to bill you for yearly maintenance amounts to the property, but I've been decent, and never have', implying that he might start.....
He had his agent look at the damage - his agent said it was really 'a stain and nothing more'. I strongly disagreed, but on his suggestion, agreed to wait a few weeks to let the wall/wallpaper dry-out and then see 'how it looked'.

I have, since then had big problems with my business, and kept being unable to find the time to deal with it. I am upset to say.
- In the meantime the ceiling has bowed a little (enough to see if you are specifically looking, but not otherwise). In my 'inexpert judgment', it doesn't seem to be getting worse. But who knows if it will slowly over time. No repair work has been done.

The upstairs freeholder is an experienced property developer, and was adamant there was no need to re-do the whole ceiling for "a little leak". - Putting up huge resistance he will fight me all the way.

To complicate matter further, he and I have joint 'buildings insurance', arranged by him. At the time, I looked in to the possibility of claiming on the insurance 'to bypass him and his arguements'. - But on doing so, the fine print of our insurance say I only have 'a 3rd party interest', which means I can't claim without the upstairs freeholder's authorisation (I phoned the insurer and confirmed this).

Now a year on, the insurance is up for renewal, and I have the time to try and deal with this whole problem - if I haven't left it too late.

N.B. 1. My lease says the building must be insured "in the joint names of the Lessor and Lessee" : But individual insurance is very hard to obtain (almost HAS to be for the whole building), and if I switch, I may not be able to claim on 'his insurance'??
2. The lease states I must re-paint the lower maisonette every three years, this I have not done....might be leaverage on his part.

12/07/2010 00:00

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