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wingrovebuyer, Solicitor
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 737
Experience:  I am a property solicitor specialising in English Property Law, mines and minerals, sporting rights and rural property.
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I am the manager for a block of six flat. Each flat owner

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I am the manager for a block of six flat. Each flat owner has a share in the company holding the freehold, and several flat owners are directors/secretary of that company. Five of the flats are owner-occupied; the owner of the sixth flat rents it out. There is a long history of water escaping from the rented flat and damaging the flat below it. Each time there is a leak, the owner of that flat patches it up, and the leak stops then and there, but it comes back again and again. We believe that there is more substantive maintenance that she should be doing to ensure that the fixtures and boiler are really water-tight. My questions are: 1) Is the block responsible to pay for repairing the water damage to the lower flat, or is there a way to claim off the owner of the flat causing the problems? 2) If the block pays, must we continue to do so forever or is there a way to eventually claim from her? 3) As freeholders can we demand and gain access to her flat to inspect the fixture and boiler, perhaps with our own expert, to ascertain that they and the repairs are to a good standard? 4) Can we compel her to do anything other than the hodge-podge patching that doesn’t last? 5) If yes, how do we go about compelling her? Finally, the rented flat also makes a lot of noise, disturbing those who live below. Part of this is due to their having installed wood floors without appropriate permission or due process. Similar to above about the water leaks, what can we as freeholders do about excessive noise (caused in part by unauthorised wood flooring) from one flat?

wingrovebuyer : Hello. In order to help, I'll need you to confirm you have access to a copy of one of the leases, and that they are all on the same terms. Thanks.
Customer: Yes, I have (or can get to) one of the leases. To my knowledge, they would all be on the same terms.
wingrovebuyer : Thanks. In order to proceed you will need to have a copy of the lease, because your questions can probably all be answered by reference to it. Please let me know when you have a copy to hand.
Customer: I have the lease to hand. All are on the same terms.
wingrovebuyer : Great, thanks. Ok, taking each of your questions in turn:
wingrovebuyer : 1. It's likely that the owner of the damaged flat can claim off the owner of the flat above. They have suffered damage due to a nuisance coming from the flat above, so should be able to claim on the flat above's insurance, or from the owner personally. There is no reason any why the freeholder comlany or other leaseholders should have to pay for the damage.
wingrovebuyer : 2. You shouldn't have to pay. As with 1. above, the owner of the flat with the leaky pipe should pay.
wingrovebuyer : 3. The answer to this will be within the lease. There may be a clause regarding rights of entry for inspections and repairs for the landlord. Indeed, I'd be surprised if there isn't. Can you check?
wingrovebuyer : 4. The lease should contain clauses regarding the repair and maintenance of the flat. It is likely she is compelled to maintain the flat and the service installations in good repair and condition. As landlord, you could seek to enforce that covenant to require the proper repair of the pipe. Indeed, you probably have a power to do the work yourselves and recharge the cost, if she refuses.
wingrovebuyer : 5. If you do have the power in th lease, you can seek to enforce it by demanding she complies with the relevant provisions. If she still refuses, you may be able to forfeit the lease (attempting to do so will usually lead to compliance) or you can sue her for breach of covenant. The court would then order the repairs to be done.
wingrovebuyer : 6. Check the lease to see if wooden floors are prohibited - they often are in residentail flat leases. Again ,you can then seek to enforce the covenant, as landlord.
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