This is a question to the blog clinic from Sebastian who is a tenant.
In the house where I live there was a water leak. I share the house with 3 other people.
The leak was invisible to us, as it happened in the toilet on the ground floor.
The leak was reported by our neighbors directly to our landlord. They noticed the water in their garden. In our house, we did not notice any changes in terms of water pressure, noise, water was not visible on the floor.
The landlord came and fixed the leak. Nothing was damaged. The leak is fixed.
The leak was for a couple of months/weeks (hard to say) and it generated big water bill. We have extra 271 GBP to pay – this is the actual cost of the leak only.
Our view is that it was a failure of the landlord’s water installation and the landlord should take the responsibility for the consequences of the leak (bigger bill, we want to pay what we usually pay).
What does the law say about it?
We had a chat with the landlord and he does not want to pay for the leak, he is asking us to cover the bill.
The first thing you should do is take a look at your tenancy agreement and see if it covers this situation. Subject to anything you find there, this is my view.
The loss, ie the extra water charges, are as a direct result of the leak. This was your landlord’s obligation to fix under his statutory repairing obligations under s11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.
However, your landlord’s obligation to carry out repairs only ran from the time the leak was reported to him. He was under no legal obligation to carry out repairs before then. As he cannot be expected to repair a problem he knows nothing about.
So my view is that although your landlord will be responsible for additional water charges, this will only be from the time he was notified of the problem. If he carried out the repair work promptly then this will probably only be a small sum, if anything.
So, unfortunately, it looks as if you will be responsible for the additional water bill and you should be grateful to your neighbours, for reporting the problem, so that it is not higher.
The only other thing I can suggest is to see whether this is covered under the terms of your insurance.