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Stuart J
Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 22385
Experience:  PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street practice
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I have a flat which I rent out; managing agents reported a

Customer Question

I have a flat which I rent out; managing agents reported a leak into the store cupboard below. MA instructed owners to inspect properties for leaks. I instructed my letting agent to get someone with appropriate knowledge of water heater (MA said it was hot water leaking out) to check it out. He instructed plumber. who proceeded make a fix as he saw best. This resulted in the water heater being condemned and needing replacement. It also resulted in the hot water/steam rising up through the communal pipes and causing condensation problems to 2 further properties.
MA said insurance will cover damage to store cupboard below but not to flats above as this was due to poor workmanship. Damage to flats is some £4000.
What can I do
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: UK Property Law
Expert:  Stuart J replied 4 months ago.

The plumber is in breach of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 if the work was carried out after last October.

He has failed to carry out the job with reasonable care and skill and he is also in breach of contract.

You should write to the plumber giving details of how much this has all cost and asking for details of his insurance company. If he has no insurance, then you will have to sue him personally if he will not pay up.

You may also have a claim against the managing agent if you can prove that they employed someone who was incompetent.

Does that answer the question? Can I answer any points arising from this?

Please do not forget to use the rating service to rate my answer service positively. You may get the impression the thread closes after rating but it does not, it remains open and we can still exchange emails if anything needs clarifying.

Kind regards

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
The work was carried out in June 2015 - how does this changes things?
The managing agent has added the repairs to the flats above to my service charge account - should this not be claimed for via the buildings insurance policy?
I did specifically ask the letting agent to appoint someone with knowledge of Ariston Hot Water Boiler ( the type installed) the fact he instructed a 'Joe Bloggs' plumber - would this be sufficient to prove incompetence?
Expert:  Stuart J replied 4 months ago.

It just means that it’s a different piece of legislation. It’s the earlier act which Is the Supply of Goods and Services although the breach provision is exactly the same.

The cost of the repairs are not your fault and they should either go through the buildings insurance or come from the plumbers insurance.

You don’t need to prove incompetence, the legal maxim Res Ipsa Loquitur applies. “The thing speaks for itself”. The plumber did the job and screwed it up. It caused all these problems and hence, he has been negligent.

If he didn’t have experience of working on this particular piece of equipment, he shouldn’t have touched it.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I want to make sure I don't open myself to be sued, what ware your thoughts on the following points:
1) The flats above make an insurance claim for the damage from my flat. The Insurance company could then make a claim against me?
1a) Could I direct them to the plumber or would it rest with me?
2) Is the letting agent not covered by the law of Agency?
3) If the plumber does not have the means (assests) and no insurance, I assume I would foot the bill?
Expert:  Stuart J replied 4 months ago.

1& 1a… Yes, and then you direct your claim against the plumber you bring in as an additional defendant

2 the agent may be able to rely on the law of agency in that the agent was acting on your authority and therefore escapes liability on the basis that he was in effect your alter ego. However, that’s for them to argue and plead not for you to mention to them. Let them try to use.

3 if the plumber is a man of straw, you can ultimately bankrupt him or have him paying over a period of time.

Does that answer the question now? Can I answer any further points arising from this?

Please don’t forget to use the rating service to rate my answer positively. Unless you I get a positive rating, I don’t get paid.

You may think that the thread closes after rating, but it does not, it remains open and we can still exchange emails if you wish.

Kind regards

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