The flat upstairs is leaking water into my flat

4 Jan 2017
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United Kingdom
I live in a Victorian house, I own the ground floor flat and my neighbour owns the upstairs flat, the conversion was down in the 1960s and it was converted very well. My neighbours pipes seem to be running threw my flat. A couple of months ago, I did an extension on my flat, it was quite extensive, during that process my builders took down the ceiling as my neighbour and I agreed that we could hear each other as the sound insulation was very poor, my builders then drylined and plastered my ceilings and walls.

Now unfortunately there is a wet patch on my newly plastered walls, my neighbour has taken up his floor boards and we think we have identified the pipe that is causing the leak, unfortunately the pipe is going into the wall of the house. He is reluctant to tackle the work from his flat and wants me to hack of the plaster to get to the pipe, as he suspects my builders have damaged the pipe during the work.

My builders are saying, no it's his system, that has damaged my flat, and it shouldn't even been running into your flat, so it's up to him to sort it out from upstairs.

I want to maintain good relations with the neighbour, but I'm not happy with having to hack of newly plastered walls to expose his problem pipe.

There is no community charges, it's a shared freehold between us (cross reversion).

I've attached some pictures for you to see,
who do you think should pay for this problem?
And where should the work be undertaken, from his flat or mine?

thanks in advance!
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its not actually allowing me to upload pictures, is it because I'm new?
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There's no water around the pipes, but that copper pipe is going into the wall directly above the damp patch you can see.
Upstairs, nothing it should be the edge of the house, the Otherside of the beam downstairs will be my new kitchen.
I think I'd agree that its likely to have been caused by your building work. Insulation being pushed in to place may have disturbed the pipe. Its also probable (but it would be down to the paperwork) that your neighbour has acquired rights to run his pipes in the floor. I wouldn't worry too much about the damage to the plaster - a skillful builder will have it repaired and you wont even notice once its patched and plastered.

To cover your back you might want to draft something that says its a gesture of goodwill and not an admission of liability, to avoid a transfer of responsibility.
so in your opinion I'd have to undertake the remedial work from my flat not his? and go 50/50 on costs?
If the pipes are in the neighbour's floor, serving his flat, then they are his responsibility. Normally, your flat ends at the back of the ceiling plasterboard, and his flat begins there.

It would be his job to rectify regardless of cause. Then if he thinks that your builders caused it, then he must be able to prove it, (not circumstantially), and he claims any costs off you or the builder if he can prove negligence
i understand both prospectives, I don't want to fall out with the guy, so maybe a good compromise would be for the work to take place in his flat but I pay half the costs as a good will gesture because it could be the builders fault.
so in your opinion I'd have to undertake the remedial work from my flat not his? and go 50/50 on costs?
Did your neighbour make any contribution to the soundproofing of the floor?

Either way, if the leak has only appeared after the building work you had done, i agree that that is the likely cause of the leak.

However, i suspect that you'll find that the leak is coming from the point where the pipe goes into the wall. Does the pipe go through the wall to outside? If so, it wouldn't be difficult to pull the damaged section of pipe out and replace it up to the plastic joint without damaging your plaster or anything else.

If not, then i would suggest you repair the pipe from below and ask for a contribution from upstairs. If they say no, just take the costs on the chin. You probably caused the leak and share a freehold with the upstairs flat so its worth staying on good terms.
well we went 50/50 on the sound insulation, but I didn't ask for any contribution on the builders labour,

I will double check but I don't think it goes outside, it's a tricky one, my brother who completed the work with his 2 buddies are saying it's for upstairs to sort out, but they don't have to live there, so like you said above it's best to stay on good terms.
Just my tuppence worth but....

The copper pipe appears to have an isolation valve fitted. This suggests it is either feeding something or something is feeding it (I can't see the valve direction on the pic) Are you sure there isn't something on the end??
yes it is probably active according to his plumber, we don't know what it's feeding though, maybe radiators, here are some more pictures.


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