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Started by Ginmonkey on Dec 9, 2018 1:33:17 PM
How do I make my neighbour pay?

Back in the summer the pipe to our upstairs neighbours toilet cistern broke. She did not know how to turn the water off so it flooded down to our bathroom damaging the electrics and bathroom ceiling and breaking the lightfitting.

She did not want to claim on her insurance and so agreed for us to arrange to get the work done and bill her. The work was done and the bill sent to her - £600. She asked for details as she thought the bill was high. We sent details and said if she did now want to make an insurance claim we would co-operate. I also knocked the cost of a new light fitting, £70, off the bill as a gesture of good will.

A month on we have heard nothing, the bill remains unpaid and we struggle to make contact. What should we do next?

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rearranged - 09 Dec 2018 14:13:15 (#1 of 29)

A short letter threatening the small claims court. If that doesn't work then start action. You can do it all online.

Alternatively, does your insurance cover have legal protection? If so, speak to a solicitor. A letter from them will likely get things moving.

HoHoHoff - 09 Dec 2018 14:15:50 (#2 of 29)

Rubber hose. Big Vern. Job done.

HoHoHoff - 09 Dec 2018 14:16:12 (#3 of 29)

Or small claims as per #1

JohnIlly - 09 Dec 2018 14:21:26 (#4 of 29)

Claim on your insurance. They will either pay you or pursue her for the money or both.

Ginmonkey - 09 Dec 2018 14:34:14 (#5 of 29)

Thanks all. I will write her a stiff letter and have a conversation with my insurer, who are generally a GBOL when it comes to claims.

Jacob_Richter - 09 Dec 2018 14:37:30 (#6 of 29)

Job done. And don't forget to shit in her handbag.

pranzingfrogg - 09 Dec 2018 14:46:28 (#7 of 29)

Wonder if she actually has insurance. Why would she offer to pay herself if she has insurance that would cover the situation?

Ginmonkey - 09 Dec 2018 15:11:51 (#8 of 29)

It's a possibilty. We only need to get contents insurance as buildings insurance is taken out by the freehold company and covered by our servive charges.

JohnIlly - 09 Dec 2018 15:27:55 (#9 of 29)

Wonder if she actually has insurance.

Good point. She would have to pay the first £100, say, as an excess but that would be it. If you claim too often your excess will go up but it's not normally like car insurance which can go down if you don't claim.

Ginmonkey - 10 Dec 2018 10:18:22 (#10 of 29)

I've spoken to my insurer who promptly put me in touch with their legal bods.

They have recommended another informal letter and then a letter before action.

darkhorse - 13 Dec 2018 07:02:35 (#11 of 29)

I would stick in a few statements like, “ you acknowledged liability because you were aware of the leak but didn’t know how to turn off the water”.

I think she’s only liable if she’s negligent (so if it had been a totally unexpected leak which occurred while she was away for a week, she probably wouldn’t be liable, unless you could show some negligent failure to maintain her pipes).

For this reason, I might try to cajole her (without making it obvious) to formally admit liability, in case you do end up in small claims and she tries to wriggle out of liability.

Peacock - 13 Dec 2018 07:07:30 (#12 of 29)

I had this problem last year GM. Sorry but it’s tricky. If you have buildings and contents cover then claim on yours. Unless you can prove negligence then she’s off the hook. Or you need to persuade her to claim on her insurance.

Ginmonkey - 13 Dec 2018 09:58:44 (#13 of 29)

We have contents cover (building insurance is taken out by the freeholder).

Annoyingly we could have claimed this on our contents insurance and they would have dealt with it well (they are good at settling claims promptly) however we, stupidly it seems, took our neighbour at her word when she said she was more than happy to pay us directly for any work needed to repair the damage.

We had no reason not to trust her. She co operated with us and sent her electrician to check the safety of our electical supply on the same day as the flood without us asking.

Ginmonkey - 13 Dec 2018 10:03:46 (#14 of 29)

I think we could prove negligence. She was present in the flat when the pipe to the toilet cistern sheered off unexpectedly and suddenly. That was unforseeable.

However the damage was caused to our flat because she left the water flooding out for a good half hour while she phoned a plumber because she did not know how to turn off the water (all our flats have two water stop cocks - one for the kitchen under the kitchen sink and one for the bathroom usually in the bathroom.)

If she has taken prompt action to turn off the water the only damage would have been to her flat - probably a broken toilet and a wet bathroom floor.

Peacock - 13 Dec 2018 10:03:49 (#15 of 29)

then please claim on your buildings insurance for the works

Peacock - 13 Dec 2018 10:04:33 (#16 of 29)

fwiw, I had this issue, its hard to prove negligence but good luck, the best option is to get her to claim

AlanII - 13 Dec 2018 10:05:42 (#17 of 29)

Wouldn't the fact that she sent her electrician round unprompted be an acceptance of liability?

Ginmonkey - 01 Jan 2019 16:54:54 (#18 of 29)

Update - we sent a letter asking her a response by 2nd January or we would take action to recover the money.

We got a letter back yesterday saying she is claiming on her insurance and will reimburse us in full.

AlanII - 01 Jan 2019 16:56:06 (#19 of 29)

Good one. Glad it's getting resolved.

HoHoHoff - 01 Jan 2019 16:59:33 (#20 of 29)

Nice one.

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