Are You Liable For Water Damage To The Flat Below?

Thursday 15th June 2023

Ellen Warren

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Water leaking from ceiling into a bucket


Living in a property building where you rent a flat is much different to owning a property. Although you may be covered by your landlord for appliance breakages, you could be responsible for damage done to the neighbours below you if the incident was due to negligence.

When thorough water damage cleaning services are required, our technicians here at ICE Cleaning can provide this for you. We will assist in containing the source of any water or flood damage and dry the property to ensure it is safe to decontaminate.

Read on to learn how you may be responsible for water damage to the flat below you.

How can water damage occur on your rental property?

Water damage on your property can occur in several ways, some out of your control due to the age of some appliances in your home or the pipework. You could experience this in your home due to the following:

  • Leaky or burst pipes
  • Blocked or damaged drains
  • Broken water appliances
  • Clogged or damaged gutters
  • Sewage backups
  • Flooding or excessive rainfall
  • Leaking roof
  • Poorly fitted windows or sealants

Sometimes these can be unavoidable, like natural weather events or broken-down appliances that have reached their expiry date. However, some may be because of your negligent actions.

Taking no precautions to keep your home clean or disposing of waste efficiently can result in significant water damage.

What happens if water damage spreads?

It takes time for water damage to spread across your home when you decide to leave the issue alone, leading to irreparable damage to the infrastructure. If you live in a rented flat, this water damage can spread to your neighbours and the people residing below you.

Water seeps through porous materials, including wooden or carpet floors, which results in bulging and swelling in the material. Depending on the material, water can cause wood to rot and result in an unsafe environment.

Once water seeps through the floor, it will begin leaking through the ceiling of the flat below you. This could damage lighting fixtures and lead to excess moisture and damp in the apartment. Similarly, this may encourage the growth of mould and damp.

Are you liable for water damage to your neighbours?

Responsibility will differ depending on an individual lease and the specific pipework that serves each flat. A tenant is considered liable for pipework that exclusively serves their flat, but communal pipework is the responsibility of the landlord or property manager.

As a tenant, you must maintain your property and ensure all water-based appliances are used properly. If you have a leak in your flat and fail to report the issue, or it was due to your negligence, you may be responsible for any damage to neighbouring homes.

When water seeps through the floor and damages a neighbour's personal property or electronics, they might pursue legal action against you. The landlord may also charge you for any damages due to your lack of care depending on your lease.

Is your landlord responsible for water damage?

In most cases of leaks or floods, your landlord will be responsible for paying for repairs and cleaning services.

Most leases contain a term that implies they are responsible for keeping things in good repair, but some leases may not include this. If you are unsure, you should check your contract or discuss it with your landlord.

If any water damage to the infrastructure or your belongings occurred due to the leaseholder's negligence, your landlord is liable for covering the costs of repairs to you.

Any refusal to keep things in repair or well-maintained by the property manager or landlord will make them responsible for covering all damages. This includes the flat where the water leak occurred and any damaged neighbouring properties.

What to do when your property is water damaged

Whether a flood has occurred on your property, or the cause of water damage is related to leaky pipes, you must act quickly to contain the water damage.

The water flooding your home could harbour bacteria or unseen hazards, especially after a flood has invaded your home. If the leak was caused by a burst pipe, you can reduce damage by:

  • Switching off the water supply
  • Identifying damage
  • Switching off the electricity if outlets are wet
  • Containing standing water with sandbags or flood mats
  • Ventilating the property with open doors and windows
  • Encouraging circulation with fans
  • Contacting your landlord and insurance company
  • Calling a water damage restoration company

Get in touch

If you or your landlord require professional water clean-up services, our team here at ICE Cleaning can step in and restore the property. Our industrial-grade tools and solutions can contain and drain excess water from the property, effectively drying it.

To learn about our water damage services, talk to our friendly customer representatives at 0208 066 0360 or We can be on-site at your earliest convenience and perform jobs regardless of time or day.

Zoe Dunning

Zoe Dunning

Sales Representative

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