Mopping up a mess

Question from Roger updated on 22nd February 2011:

My tenant was carelessly causing the water to overflow from the sink to the floor of the kitchen and the water leaked to the celling and wall of the downstairs apartment. In this situation who should pay the bill of fixing the downstairs damage? The kitchen has a tiled floor, my tenant said it should be waterproof and water leaking is a building quality problem so the cost is on landlord. But I believe it is because the tenant’s negligence and he should pay the bill.

Our expert Jeff Montgomery responded:

Tenants are responsible for any damage caused carelessly or intentionally by them or their invited guests. Landlords are responsible for ensuring the premises are maintained in a reasonable state of repair and comply with all the relevant health, safety, and building regulations. If both parties cannot agree where the responsibility lies, or who will pay the cost of the damage, you could apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to resolve the matter. To discuss your situation further, or for information about landlord and tenant responsibilities, you can visit the Department of Building and Housing website ( or call 0800 TENANCY (0800 836 262).

The Department of Building and Housing provides information and guidance on building law and compliance, services including weathertight homes, and advice for tenants and landlords.


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