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  • FIRST POST
    • espritlibre87
    • By espritlibre87 28th Nov 17, 11:35 AM
    • 29Posts
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    espritlibre87
    Leak in new build
    • #1
    • 28th Nov 17, 11:35 AM
    Leak in new build 28th Nov 17 at 11:35 AM
    Hi all

    My partner and I moved into our home (a new build 4th floor apartment) in April this year. It's a shared ownership property through Moat. In July we were told we had reached the "end of defects" period (one year since the building was handed over to Moat).

    We recently started using the heating for the first time since moving in. Towards the end of last week I noticed the carpet in the corner of the bedroom was damp. Thought nothing of it until the damp was still there 24 hours later, then 48... in fact it was completely soaked. No visible damp/leak in the ceiling above, and although the damp area is by the radiator, there doesn't seem to be anything leaking from there. We've pulled up the carpet and cut away some of the overlay (which was soaked through) to let it hang out to dry. The problem is definitely coming from beneath the floor. Since turning the heating off altogether the leak has finally stopped, although the carpet is still damp and the whole room is starting to smell of mould. We are fairly certain the issue is a cracked/burst heating pipe beneath the floor.

    We contacted both Moat, and the management company for the development we live in. Surprise - neither accept any responsibility for the issue. They both simply stated that the "end of defects" period has passed. We have highlighted to them that we moved in at the start of the summer and couldn't possibly have known about any structural defects with the pipes during this time as we didn't use the heating. We are the first occupants of the property, so the heating has not been used by anyone else before us. Although it has barely been a week since the problem started, both of us are starting to feel congested after waking up each morning, with increasingly painful throats/chesty coughs. We can't use the heating at all in the property for fear of making the problem worse, and currently have the windows wide open and a fan going to try and air the room out (with the obvious side-effect of making it bloody freezing)

    The property apparently has a BLP guarantee in place of NHBC but we have never received a copy of the policy or certificate (yes, I know we should have pushed for this when we moved in, unfortunately having endured months of sofa-surfing we were just desperate to have a roof over our heads by that point) I've looked at the BLP website but am none the wiser as to our rights.

    My question is, who ultimately has responsibility for what seems to clearly be a structural defect that was present before we moved in? We've lived here a matter of months and the property was completed less than two years ago. I'm concerned about the long-term damage to the carpet/walls, and the potential impact on our health, if this drags out. We were told we couldn't get buildings insurance on the basis that the entire building is covered, so I'm extremely concerned about how we'd afford to pay someone to (presumably?) take up our floor and fix the pipe.

    Thanks in advance
Page 1
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 28th Nov 17, 11:44 AM
    • 24,051 Posts
    • 66,638 Thanks
    Doozergirl
    • #2
    • 28th Nov 17, 11:44 AM
    • #2
    • 28th Nov 17, 11:44 AM
    It isn’t structural. It’s a workmanship problem, so should be covered by the defects period, not a warranty.

    If it is covered by building’s insurance then it will come under that whole buildings policy that you will be paying towards. If you want it sorted that way then you’ll need to speak to the managing agent. Don’t forget there will be an excess and a knock on increase in premiums.

    In the grand scheme, it is probably a quickly solvable problem that doesn’t cost much money. If you are genuinely out of defects period then it might simply be better to get a plumber out to fix it now. If it is a simple case of a loose connection to a radiator (which it sounds like if it goes hand in hand with the heating being on) then it will be solved in minutes.

    Even if you want to argue the toss, perhaps you are better to organise it and seek recompense from them. Seems pretty silly to sit in the freezing cold when they clearly have no intention presently of helping you. Defects period on most new build is two years, but you’ll have your own paperwork.

    Have you checked if your downstairs neighbour has anythig appearing? Water does tend to travel downwards, not up.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 28th Nov 17, 11:46 AM
    • 24,051 Posts
    • 66,638 Thanks
    Doozergirl
    • #3
    • 28th Nov 17, 11:46 AM
    • #3
    • 28th Nov 17, 11:46 AM
    Oh and there will be no long term damage to your health if you fix the problem!

    Sitting in the cold doesn’t give it opportunity to dry out.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • espritlibre87
    • By espritlibre87 28th Nov 17, 11:49 AM
    • 29 Posts
    • 8 Thanks
    espritlibre87
    • #4
    • 28th Nov 17, 11:49 AM
    • #4
    • 28th Nov 17, 11:49 AM
    Unfortunately we already spoke to the managing agent, who also stated that it is nothing to do with them. I'm probably just naive here, but I'm just shocked that we can be held liable for a defect that we couldn't possibly have uncovered during the 'defects period'.

    I had also assumed it would be quite an expensive fix (zero plumbing knowledge) just on the basis that it's beneath the floor, but if this isn't the case then we will ask someone to come and look at it.
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 28th Nov 17, 12:45 PM
    • 24,051 Posts
    • 66,638 Thanks
    Doozergirl
    • #5
    • 28th Nov 17, 12:45 PM
    • #5
    • 28th Nov 17, 12:45 PM
    I agree with you. You haven’t been given ample opportunity to thoroughly snag the building. Have you double checked the contract?

    Is it shared-ownership or something?
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • espritlibre87
    • By espritlibre87 28th Nov 17, 1:01 PM
    • 29 Posts
    • 8 Thanks
    espritlibre87
    • #6
    • 28th Nov 17, 1:01 PM
    • #6
    • 28th Nov 17, 1:01 PM
    Yes, shared ownership. Although we are the first occupants, the defects period apparently started from when the building was handed over to Moat (July 2016) rather than the date we moved in. However I would argue that any snagging during July-April was minimal - in our first week we reported that the fridge wasn't working (turned out the builders had never plugged it in before installing it - the kitchen had to be taken apart in order to do so). There was damp in the kitchen that took several months to rectify. And a minor issue of a broken door chain (broke immediately the first time it was used) that has yet to be replaced. I can't prove anything but I doubt Moat tested the heating before we moved in.
    • Furts
    • By Furts 28th Nov 17, 2:51 PM
    • 3,625 Posts
    • 2,263 Thanks
    Furts
    • #7
    • 28th Nov 17, 2:51 PM
    • #7
    • 28th Nov 17, 2:51 PM
    Been in a similar position to you, I work in the construction industry and I know a little about Housing Associations - will leave it at that!

    Yours is a can of worms. In essence buying off a Housing Association is a risk, and that risk and all that goes with should (ideally) have been explained to you during the legal/conveyancing stage.

    Whilst I have every sympathy for your situation, you are dealing with property law, and not consumer law. Consequently your rights become something akin to diddly squat. The Moat position will be you had every opportunity to inspect before purchase, you had the right to undertake a full structural survey covering everything imaginable before purchase and you were then given three months to test drive your new purchase. Clearly in all this you failed, but here I sympathise. It is highly unlikely that all this was clearly spelt out to you.

    Moving on, you know Moat were tardy, or non existant, with snagging (nothing new there with Housing Associations) so this in turn should have flashed up alarm lights. You could have fully snagged on a Saturday morning, for example, (so hardly a great demand on your time) or employed somebody professionally to do this for you. Unfortunately you have failed on these areas.

    Your choices now are to: 1)try an insurance claim, 2) pay from your own funds. If so, seek quotes and be wise if you expect to take this to Court. (First check all the small print in your BLP Warranty - only you know if defects are covered in here.)

    The lateral approach would be a written complaint direct to the Chief Exec of Moat. His/her staff have been negligent, but whether they care is another matter. It could be water off a ducks back, and you will get a fob off. However they will have access to far cheaper labour than you and on fast turn around times. I would be trying to shame/embarrass them into this route - it would be the easy, and no/low cost route for you.

    Hope this helps.
    • espritlibre87
    • By espritlibre87 28th Nov 17, 4:44 PM
    • 29 Posts
    • 8 Thanks
    espritlibre87
    • #8
    • 28th Nov 17, 4:44 PM
    • #8
    • 28th Nov 17, 4:44 PM
    As it happens, the complaint approach seems to have been successful, and rather swiftly too! I forgot to mention in my original post that I sent an e-mail to both Moat and our managing agents expressing our displeasure at their initial response to the situation, highlighting again that we would not have known about a problem with the heating during the defects period due to the time of year, and that we would be contacting trading standards/seeking legal advice about our rights, with a view to writing to our local MP.

    Moat have contacted us this afternoon stating that they now agree with our position and will treat the leak as a defect after all. A huge relief as we were feeling pretty despondent about the whole affair. Furts makes some good points above and hopefully our situation will be a 'cautionary tale' for others thinking of purchasing through a housing association.
    • Furts
    • By Furts 29th Nov 17, 6:28 AM
    • 3,625 Posts
    • 2,263 Thanks
    Furts
    • #9
    • 29th Nov 17, 6:28 AM
    • #9
    • 29th Nov 17, 6:28 AM
    Well done, and I wish you well.

    Keep all us good folks posted on how things pan out - there might still be blips in the path to resolution. Here it depends, to a large extent, on the calibre of the investigation undertaken by Moat and then the calibre of who gets given the job of doing the repairs. Both are key areas of weakness with typical Housing Associations. Take that as a gentle hint!
    Last edited by Furts; 29-11-2017 at 6:33 AM.
    • missile
    • By missile 29th Nov 17, 4:34 PM
    • 9,021 Posts
    • 4,388 Thanks
    missile
    You seem to be very unfortunate with a shoddy builder and an unhelpful agent.
    The builder is responsible and ought to put it right.
    Your management company responsible for arranging insurance for the mutual property, i.e. buildings. They are required to issue you with a copy of the certificate of insurance or post a copy in the building. A good agent would arrange a plumber and make an insurance claim on your behalf.
    If I were you I would contact a plumber and the insurance company direct and make a claim. Note insurance will not cover work to repair the leak(s), but will cover consequential damage.
    "A nation's greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members." ~ Mahatma Gandhi
    Ride hard or stay home
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