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England | Landlord Responsibility for Repairs and Maintenance (England) | Responsibilities and Liabilities (England)

Water leak in tenant absence where cleaner contracted to visit

22 Nov 2020 | 2 comments

Kitchen pipe underneath sink has sprung a leak in my tenant’s absence.  Considerable damage done.

Tenant has not been at flat for several months because of Covid, and will not be there for rest of year.  His cleaner is contracted to go there every two weeks.  (I checked this in March and Freeholder’s buildings insurers said this was sufficient to maintain their cover.)

No suggestion of frozen pipes from plumber.  He has confirmed thermostat set at 20 deg C.

Q1.  Whose liability – mine?

Q2.  Tenant’s cleaner confirmed to me she had visited flat fortnightly and had seen no evidence of water leak last time she was there. However, damage is extensive: Plumber’s video shows flooring lifting and bouncy from kitchen across hallway.  Skirting board coming off.  About 2 sq foot of wall stained, including black marks which look like mould. Base of K unit affected.

Do you think that level of damage could develop in under two weeks?

Q3. Should this be buildings insurance or contents insurance claim?



  1. guildy

    We think on balance the liability will be yours. It doesn’t sound like the tenant has been negligent.

    From what’s described, it does sound like longer than a couple of weeks but it’s difficult to know if the cleaner would have noticed especially if it’s slowly got damaged and without visible water on the floor for example.

    This would be a buildings insurance claim in our view although it depends on the excess as to whether a claim will be worth making.

  2. Danny

    Thanks very much for your helpful reply. It confirms what I was thinking. Stay well.

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