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Good morning all.

 

I've come asking for help!

We live next to an old abandoned property which was allegedly bought by a property manangement company recently.

On Tuesday afternoon, we noticed some water dripping from our extractor fan onto the hob. The extractor fan etc is all on the dividing wall between our house and the abandoned derilect place.

We called the Property Management company after identifing that the water was coming from there. He said he was going to get in touch with his maintenance man and get in touch with us. 3 hours later and there has been no contact from him or his maintenance man and water is now all over my kitchen floor and seeping out of my back wall.

Phoned my insurance, who told me to call the water board, called water board who told me to call the council, called the council who told me to call the police! Police came out and gained entry and tried to isolate the water, they couldn't so the fire brigade were called. They came and managed to turn off the water, which was gushing, like taps on full blast gushing!

The fire brigade advised us there was 2 or 3 inches of standing water in the property and they could hand ball it all out but there would be a charge and perhaps it would be better to get the owner to do so.

Now the hous enext door, doesn't have floorboards or flooring downstairs. The previou owner dug it up about 4 years ago and has never relaid anything so its just sand/concrete/scree etc. So for there to be 2 or 3 inches of standing water must mean that the water cannot go any further down?

 

Called my insurance company the next day to make a claim (something which I have never done in my whole entire life so have no idea what to do!!) The insurance company said they would send a loss adjustor round. Loss adjustors arrives and tells us the hob and extractor fan is water damaged and cannot be used. That I would need to hire a dehumidifier to dry out my walls/floors and get an electrician in to check if the oven is usable, and that they would try to track down the owner of the next door property as the property management company had advised me earlier in the day that they hadn't actually signed for the property yet as there were missing house deeds and it was in probate.

 

So we have done everything we have been asked to and been advised that the oven is unusable.

 

Where do we go from here? We need to get the water pumped/removed from next door as surely the more time it is in there, the more time there can be damage made to our foundations etc??

 

I've been in touch with the enrivomental health who won't/can't help me as the property is 'owned' by someone!!

 

Now, I'm stuck with wet walls/floors and no cooking facilities and a horrible stench coming from our kitchen.

I'm considering hiring a loss assessor as I really don't know what to do next.

 

Does anyone have any advice or recommendations?

 

Thanks

Chica

Bank charges: Abbey won in 2006, Halifax won in 2006, Capital One won in 2006.

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Don't really know what to suggest. I had a similar situation with a next door property and the water company turned their water off before it became a problem. The owners of the property then had to move their tenants out for a few months while the house was dried out and then renovated.

 

The local authority or land registry will have details of the current owner. If probate was mentioned, obviously means the owner had died and the house is in the process of being sold. Whoever is the owner of the house would need to be contacted by the council and they would need to be given the opportunity to resolve the current environmental issues.

 

I think you are going to have to put up with the situation for a short while, to allow people the chance to do the necessary work. I am sure the people responsible for the house will want to get rid of the water in the neighbours house to stop it doing any more damage. Speak to the property management company, as they should know who currently has responsibility for the house. Get them to contact them to resolve the situation.

 

Your Insurance will cover the damage to your own property and if you needed to move out, it will also cover alternative accommodation. Speak to them about the current situation and see what they suggest.

We could do with some help from you.

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I'm not sure what a loss assessor will being to the table at this stage. UB67 is right in what their saying. Your insurers are under no obligation to remove the water, but as you have said the longer it is thre the worse the damage will be, so it will be in their interests to do anything they can. That said, legally they may not be able to enter the property to carry this out, again causing more trouble. Drying your property at this stage will not do a lot in the long term until the water next door has gone, unless the insurers are prepared to take a far more drastic measure, i.e. dry out, and tank your wall against the third party property, but again, their liability is to fix the damage caused, not future preventative works. Very sorry to say at present sit tight and see what the isnurers come up with. I'm not sure why they are suggesting it's for you to get the dryers and electrician, have they not got their own network to do this?

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My humble opinion -

 

If this unoccupied property is in probate and potentially uninsured you have quite a situation on your hands!

 

I was going to type out a number of steps to take but really, I would try for cooperation from the property management company so I could do it myself with the help of some friends. They hopefully will see that it's a common sense approach.

 

You can drive yourself crazy chasing people down but unless you get quick answers and fast action, you are potentially facing another claim and higher insurance premiums.

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Have you got a legal helpline available on your insurance. If so they may be able to offer some advice.

 

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Alliance & Leicester Moneyclaim issued 20/1/07 £225.50 full settlement received 29 January 2007

Smile £1,075.50 + interest Email request for payment 24/5/06 received £1,000.50 14/7/06 + £20 30/7/06

Yorkshire Bank Moneyclaim issued 21/6/06 £4,489.39 full settlement received 26 January 2007

:p

 

Advice & opinions given by Caro are personal, are not endorsed by Consumer Action Group or Bank Action Group, and are offered informally, without prejudice & without liability. Your decisions and actions are your own, and should you be in any doubt, you are advised to seek the opinion of a qualified professional.

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The situatuion seems to be much worse than we thought. We removed the units that held the hob and oven today to find that the wall behind is completly soaked through - dehumidifier is currently doing its work on that.

 

We spoken to the enviromental health who haven't really said much. The councils enforcement team is now in the act too as they have details of the 'owner' so will be interesting to hear what they say.

 

Nextdoor now has slates moving on their roof which seems to me to be the effects of slight movement in that property as we have had no trong wind/rain over the last two days which could have caused that.

 

We've also spoken to our local councillor who is now championing our case!!

 

The reason for us to locate a loss assessor is that we don't seem to be getting anywhere with the insurance/loss adjustor. They just want to patch up and go rather than get to the undelying problem of removing the water and we thought the loss adjuster could potentially help us.

 

Need to get some quotes from builders this weekend to replaster and retile the whole kitchen wall.

Will keep updating here.

 

Chica

Bank charges: Abbey won in 2006, Halifax won in 2006, Capital One won in 2006.

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Slates moving on the next doors roof ! That is a bit worrying, if the foundations are being affected by the water. Is this something for the fire brigade to make the house safe ?

We could do with some help from you.

PLEASE HELP US TO KEEP THIS SITE RUNNING EVERY POUND DONATED WILL HELP US TO KEEP HELPING OTHERS

 

 Have we helped you ...?         Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

 

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As the issue is being caused by water coming from another property then the owner of the other property is 100% liable for any damages caused. This would be all well and good if they were easily locatable and had insurance themselves, but as they are not then you have to fix things in the interim.

 

Firstly you need to contact your insurance company and make a claim. Tell them that full extent of the problem and ask them to come and fix the problem. If they are unwilling to do so immediately then ask them if they are happy to let you deal with the problem, and if they are then ask them if there are any rules you should follow (cheapest of 3 quotes is a common thing insurers insist on). If they do want to let you deal with the issue and then to just pay the bills afterwards then you must get this permission in writing. This written proof is 100% essential. Do not conduct any reparation work yourself without written authorisation or else your insurance copany may find that you have been negligable and refuse to pay out any future claims (such as a future subsidance claim). If in doubt do ask to speak to a manager,and if none are available threaten to complain over how badly your claim is being handled.

 

Really the owner of the other property should be moot to you at this point. You should make a claim against your insurance and then your insurer should make a recovery against the owner.

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Your insurers are not there to resolve the underlying problem, especailly as it is not your property it is coming from. They are there to repair what has been damaged by the problem. You don't need an assesor, you need legal advice to force the property owner to do something about it. Any repair carried out right now will just be a patch up until the issue is sorted.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just to update, we have employed a loss assessor to take over our claim. They have advised us to chose our tiles etc and once the walls are dry they will buy and install etc.

 

The situation with the house next door is now with the local council, although they are dragging their heels.

 

Thanks

 

Chica

Bank charges: Abbey won in 2006, Halifax won in 2006, Capital One won in 2006.

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  • 1 month later...

I agree that it's not the Insurer's responsibility to correct the underlying issue. That's just not what insurance policies are designed to do. If I were the Underwriter looking at this policy, I would look to impose an increased excess for water damage and tack on a rate increase. That's a common sense approach for an insurer to take when they have a cilent who cannot control their losses.

 

That is why if I were walking around in your shoes, I would go after the property manager relentlessly and do what I could to get it fixed. Otherwise, you'll be looking at more money out of your pocket until you move or get lucky for a few years.

 

I really feel for you because you're at the mercy of the fates here.

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