Can I get content/home insurance for my flat that has an existing flood damage

I own a flat in a purpose-built block of flats where we are both freeholders and leaseholders. It is run as a limited company by a board of volunteer directors. Though there's a flat above mine before the external roof, I reported damage to my bathroom and kitchen to the Board of Directors in mid-January 2023, thinking they needed to enforce a lease clause with the owner above to make good water damage. There was a hole in the roof above their flat, which the Board discovered after a professional survey in mid-February. This has only been fixed this week (10 months later). I had been trying to sell my flat, then took it off the market because of the damage and now about to put it back on the market now the cause has been fixed. What are my rights to compensation above and beyond them making good the repairs? I've asked the board to make good the damage, including compensation for the duress I have experienced regarding mould in the kitchen and not being able to sell, let alone enjoy my home. Any advice or knowledge of what to negotiate on this will be much appreciated. 

The second question is, are there insurers for the home (and possibly building) contents insurance who will let me start a policy with this existing issue? Now, the problem is supposed fixed (subject to future moisture testing of walls and ceilings) to help ensure the quality of the repairs done is good, as my trust in the Board is somewhat limited due to them taking ten months to fix. A managing agent took on the role in the summer - they are a member of RICS but did nothing even though they did the survey in February that identified the hole. Has anyone else had a similar issue, and if so, how was this resolved? Many thanks for any advice.

Comments

  • eddddy
    eddddy Posts: 16,143
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    So just to be clear, are you saying the following?

    • There was a hole in the roof which was causing water damage to your flat
    • Your upstairs neighbour's lease says they are responsible for maintaining the roof
    • Your upstairs neighbour knew that the hole in the roof was causing water damage to your flat
    • In spite of this, your neighbour took 10 months to fix the leak

    Taking that long to fix the leak, when your neighbour knows it's damaging your flat is probably negligent. So you could try claiming from the neighbour for the financial losses resulting from their negligence.

    But it's unlikely that a court would grant you compensation for distress, etc. You'd probably only get the additional costs of repairs resulting from the neighbour's delay in getting the roof fixed.

  • eddddy said:

    So just to be clear, are you saying the following?

    • There was a hole in the roof which was causing water damage to your flat
    • Your upstairs neighbour's lease says they are responsible for maintaining the roof
    • Your upstairs neighbour knew that the hole in the roof was causing water damage to your flat
    • In spite of this, your neighbour took 10 months to fix the leak

    Taking that long to fix the leak, when your neighbour knows it's damaging your flat is probably negligent. So you could try claiming from the neighbour for the financial losses resulting from their negligence.

    But it's unlikely that a court would grant you compensation for distress, etc. You'd probably only get the additional costs of repairs resulting from the neighbour's delay in getting the roof fixed.

    Thank you for your speedy advice. I've been advised not to pursue the legal route until the work is done, as this could prolong the process of getting the flat made good if the Landlord goes into 'legal' mode and slows down my ability to sell. My original thought was that the flat caused the water leakage (but potentially, they're in the same position as me as the Landlord is responsible for the roof), but it transpired that the Board (Landlord) found a hole in the roof and only had that fixed. My challenge is that I need to rely on the same Landlord to make good the repairs (mould in the kitchen), and I'm concerned whether they will do a thorough job (i.e. look into areas that are currently covered by boarding around areas like the communal soil pipe). Therefore, I wondered if an insurance company would take on this as I'm not currently covered.
  • DullGreyGuy
    DullGreyGuy Posts: 9,182
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    Forumite
    Any insurance you buy now will exclude pre-existing damage so yes you can buy insurance, it won't help you with the damage caused by the prior leak. 

    Does your freehold not buy buildings insurance? Your lease would tell you if they should. That being in force before the leak may cover the resultant damage. 
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