Flooded the neighbors below: what to do to eliminate claims on their part

Vasily Borutsky
Checked by a specialist: Vasily Borutsky
Author: Elena Mezhenina
Last update: April 2019

Sometimes we voluntarily or involuntarily become participants in unpleasant incidents. For example, we had a flood, and water, having overcome the ceilings, flooded the apartment from below. And well, if only one!

Not only that, now in your own housing you need to make unscheduled repairs, but also the neighbors will have to pay the damage, and look, you’ll have to pay it off. So, you have flooded the neighbors below: what to do in such a situation? We will talk about this in our article. We will also analyze how to identify the culprit of the flood and correctly draw up an act of flooding.

Here are the possible scenarios and ways to solve the problem, having examined in detail the peaceful settlement by means of constructive negotiations and the elimination of claims in court.

What to do first?

Did the minute dumbness, self-pity, and an acute attack of self-flagellation go away? It's time to get down to business! We need to think about how to minimize the consequences of the accident and not aggravate our unenviable situation.

The first steps should be like this:

  • if the source of the leak is in your apartment, you must shut off the water with ball valve, stopping her flow to you;
  • disconnect your housing so that a short circuit does not occur, and the electric shock does not overtake everyone who is in contact with water at the moment;
  • call the management company (UK) and invite plumbers;
  • if flooding happened on the weekend, call the emergency service;
  • as soon as possible, collect the water that is on your floor so that it does not leak below;
  • if your liability for flooding or your apartment is insured, be sure to call your insurance company and act in full accordance with the instructions received.

Everyone understands that nobody will deliberately drown neighbors, and in this situation you are not only the culprits, but also the victims.

If trouble happened during your work day, try the following:

You have no doubt that the tenants of the lower apartment will definitely come to you?

It makes no sense to hide from them and thereby contribute to the aggravation of relations: try from the first minutes of communication to find a common language with them.

Wipe the floor to minimize damage.
It is necessary to collect water from the floor surface as soon as possible before it has seeped into the neighbors: use as many rags as possible
Affected Neighbors
From the very first minutes you need to try to win your neighbors to yourself with sincere repentance if you are the culprit of the bay, or by joint clear actions if third parties are to blame

Explain to your neighbors that, despite the fact that water flows from your apartment, you may not be the culprit. This becomes especially obvious if the rainfall in the neighbors did not begin to calm down after you turned off the water supply tap at home.

It also happens that it is difficult to find the source of the leak - there are no jets upward, and water has already managed to flow through all the rooms.

We are looking for places of risk hidden behind plumbing, countertops, plasterboard partitions:

Looking for the guilty of the flood

The answer to this question is not at all as obvious as it might seem to your neighbors. In apartment buildings (MKD) there is a common property that belongs to all owners of the premises of the building. The procedure for its maintenance is established by the Rules approved by the Government Decree on August 13, 2006 № 491 (hereinafter the Rules).

Elements of engineering equipment and communal utilities are located in residential premises of apartment owners.

Management Company Responsibility Area
If the management company is negligent in fulfilling its obligations to maintain common property, you can contact its management with a written complaint, without bringing the situation to emergency

This property includes:

  • risers of hot and cold water supply;
  • sewer pipeline;
  • central heating system.

In accordance with the rules, the inappropriate maintenance of the common house property of MKD entails the responsibility of the organization with which the homeowners entered into the relevant contract, that is, the UK is a management company.

Option # 1 - management company

If the leak occurred due to an emergency condition of the riser, managers will have to compensate for the damage. By the way, floods resulting from leaking the roof of an apartment building are also the fault of the management company.

But it is worth paying attention to the circumstances that contributed to the leakage. For example, you yourself, without notifying the operating organization and not having received permission from it, replaced the sewer risers or water supply. Such actions are illegal, as well as any unauthorized interference in the operation of these communications.

If the fact of such unauthorized interference is established, the owner of the apartment in which the illegal work was carried out will be held liable.

Option # 2 - the owner of the apartment

The first shut-off and control valve that turns off the water in the apartment separates the common house property from the apartment building. If there is damage to the pipe after this faucet or water was leaked by faulty plumbing or other equipment connected to the water supply (washing machine, dishwasher, etc.), then the owner of the apartment - the source of flooding, will be responsible.

Overflow in the bathroom
Do not leave the operating washing machine and dishwasher unattended; When collecting water in the bath, make sure that the technological hole for the overflow of water is not blocked

But even in this case, there may be nuances that must be taken into account.

These include:

  • The presence of tenants. The owner may not live in the apartment. If the leak was made by the tenants or tenants who officially live in this place according to the concluded agreement, it is necessary to read the terms of liability prescribed in this agreement.
  • Defective equipment. When buying a washing machine or dishwasher, toilet bowl, faucets, taps, and other equipment, keep your checks. They confirm the fact of the purchase and allow the owner to invoice the seller if the examination finds the goods sold by him defective. In this case, the seller will have to answer for the damage caused by defective products that he sold.
  • Poor repair or installation work. If the hired organization has installed equipment in violation of the standards, it will be held responsible for poor performance of work and for the negative consequences caused by this circumstance.

Sometimes it can lead to floodingwater hammer or a surge in voltage. In this case, resource-supplying organizations may be guilty. But do not forget that working electrical appliances (washing machine or dishwasher) must not be left unattended.

If the apartment is leased, then the owner of the apartment is usually responsible for the faulty faucet or emergency pipe located in the area of ​​responsibility of the owner. But the tenant is responsible for the overflow in the bathroom or kitchen due to the open tap left unattended.

As you can see, having established the cause of the flood, we will determine the culprit of what happened. But sometimes it will be necessary to spend both money and time on revealing the truth.

Option # 3 - Third Parties

If there is confidence in the fault of third parties, then it's time to remember that your apartment and property also suffered. To fix the fact of flooding and determine the damage caused by water, an act of the bay should be drawn up.

Third party flooding culprits
Not always the owners of the apartment from which the leak occurred are guilty of an emergency: sometimes they suffer from the flood no less than others

It's time to determine which of the lower neighbors suffered during the accident. Explain to them the reason for what happened. Proceed to the collection of documents that are useful for establishing the fact and extent of damage. Try to take everything that happened and take a video.

The nuances of the act of flooding the apartment

The act, which records the fact of flooding and the damage caused to the apartment and property of the victim, is perhaps the most important document for you. Therefore, its content should be taken very seriously.

Be sure to invite two to three witnesses to write this paper. Then it turns out that the act is drawn up by the commission. It is good if the document itself and the defective statement that is attached to it are signed by the representative of the Criminal Code. If he refuses the signature, just mark his refusal in the act itself.

This document must contain the following information:

  • you need to record the very fact of flooding your home with the date and time of the act, the full address of the apartment, the number of rooms in it and the floor on which it is located;
  • a description of the damage caused to the premises and property (furniture, household appliances) located in them;
  • the cause of the leak (accurate if it is not the subject of a dispute, or assumed).

In fact, the preparation of such an act is the responsibility of the representative of the management company, but it is better to duplicate this document, especially in case of disagreement in its preparation.

Practice shows that in any situation, the specialists of the Criminal Code try not to “notice” their own fault, reduce the scale of the consequences of the accident and ignore the facts that are significant for the injured party. Sometimes they even try to postpone the writing of an act so that then they do not make it up at all.

Flooding damage
Not all damage from flooding manifests itself immediately: sometimes it takes some time to understand that the floor covering is out of order, and a fungus has started under the wallpaper

The act should reflect all disagreements that arise between the parties in the process of determining the culprit of the accident or in establishing the amount of damage. By the way, all the damage done to the property of the victim can not be detected immediately, but after 2-3 days.

For example, yellow circles may appear on the walls or parquet may rise. These property losses may be added to the defective statement as a supplement.

If you were to blame for the flooding, be sure to get your hands on one copy of the act and the defective statement so that it would not be “accidentally” caught, for example, broken household appliances that have nothing to do with what happened.

The next step is to file a complaint to the culprit of the flood. All victims can do this collectively or each individually.

Damage assessment options

As a result of flooding, the room as a whole suffers: the stretch ceiling can sag, wallpaper and decor elements can peel off, laminate or parquet can suffer.Wiring may fail. Wet furniture loses its appearance, appliances burn out. How to assess the damage in monetary terms?

Drawing up a contract in the pretrial order

If the injured party expresses a desire to agree in a pre-trial order, then you can use one of the following assessment methods:

  • Take as a basis the act of flooding and, together with your neighbors, estimate the approximate amount of compensation that could suit both parties. If agreement between the parties is reached, then this fact needs to be fixed by drawing up a separate agreement. Indicate the agreed amount in it and certify it with signatures.
  • You can determine the consumption and types of materials that will be needed to carry out the restoration of the damaged apartment, after which the culprit of the bay buys all this at the store at his own expense and pays for the repair work.

It is better to draw up this arrangement in the form of an act so that the victims do not change their minds.

Gulf Remediation
One of the advantages of a peaceful resolution of the conflict is the ability to quickly eliminate the negative that arose as a result of the Gulf: the courts take time, effort and health

In the acts do not forget to mention that after the repayment of the damage all claims of the injured party will be fully satisfied. Money must be transferred only with the preparation of a receipt in their receipt. After completing the work, you also need to take a receipt that the agreed work of appropriate quality has been completed in full.

Independent Expertise

If the parties to the conflict fail to agree on the amount of losses, you can resort to the help of independent experts:

  • As an independent expert, an appraiser from the appraisers agency or the Chamber of Commerce can be invited. An agreement should be concluded with him, and, based on the results of the work done, he should draw up a conclusion and issue a receipt for the payment of his services. The services of an expert can be paid by one or both parties in agreed shares.
  • It is possible that the expert’s opinion does not satisfy the parties, then it remains only to apply to the court.

Based on the act of flooding, photo and video materials, testimonies of witnesses and documents confirming the value of damaged property, the court must make a decision. He may require an examination.

Peer review
This option may be considered ideal if you choose an independent expert evaluator who is fully trusted by both parties to the conflict.

Litigation is not soon. When embarking on this path, one should have a good idea of ​​the prospects of one's business.

Ways to resolve the conflict

The case will end with minimal losses on both sides of the conflict if both of them show a desire to communicate politely and constructively.

Method # 1 - bilateral constructive negotiations

You can always find a compromise if the victims remember that there was no repair in their apartment for a long time, and the damaged property was old, although it was in working condition.

The trial is not beneficial to both parties to the conflict: these are additional costs associated with the court itself and the preparation for it in the form of an independent examination

Perhaps the following arguments set forth by third parties that both parties trust can influence an aggressively-minded neighbor:

  1. Prior to the trial, the plaintiff will need to pay a state fee, which depends on the amount of the claim. That is, he will incur preliminary costs. Also, his expenses should include the services of a consultant and lawyer.
  2. We have no case law, so it’s very difficult to say exactly whose side the court will support. It is possible that the costs of the plaintiff will be in vain.
  3. If the court decides to appoint an examination, the services of an independent appraiser must also be paid by the plaintiff. The court needs a specialist opinion, on the data of which it will rely.
  4. As a source of compensation for damage established in court, only the earnings that the defendant officially receives can be. If the defendant does not have an agreement (contract) with the employer, then the maximum amount that the court will oblige him to pay is 1/5 of the subsistence minimum.

Usually, the realization of what can be obtained by agreeing peacefully, a certain amount now, or by court order to recover for a long penny, which inflation will inevitably eat, is sobering.

Perhaps the victims simply do not know that when calculating the damage, it is not the purchase price, but the estimated value of the property. For the money that can be obtained as a result, new equipment will not work. In the best case, you can just repair the old one.

If its own nuances and when claiming moral harm. Since moral suffering is an ephemeral concept, and the court needs material evidence, you will have to present extracts from the medical book confirming the facts of going to the doctors due to poor health due to flooding worries. Checks from the pharmacy are also good.

Method # 2 - resolve the conflict in court

Not in all cases, conflicts end in world conflict. What awaits you in court if you are really the culprit of the flood from the neighbors below? As practice shows, the court usually takes the side of the plaintiff. The defendant’s actual presumption of guilt can be overcome by the facts in his defense.

Evidence of innocence is recommended to the defendant in writing in the form of objections. The arguments need to be argued, confirmed by photo and video shooting, testimony of witnesses.

Court session
All objections of the defendant to the essence of the claim must be expressed in writing, reasoned as much as possible and confirmed by the testimony of witnesses, photo and video documents

The most effective arguments are the following:

  • the flooding occurred as a result of the improper fulfillment by the management company of its communications maintenance duties;
  • The documentation relating to the inspection of the premises after the bay, as well as the assessment of damage is not objective, since the inspection was carried out in the absence of the defendant or the act did not reflect his comments, there are no signatures and other significant details;
  • the plaintiff’s claims were overestimated, since depreciation of his property was not taken into account or works that were not related to the liquidation of the consequences of flooding were included.

The culprit of the accident should understand that if his arguments are not accepted by the court, he, in addition to the main amount of the claim, will have to reimburse the legal costs, which include the state fee and payment for the services of a lawyer, legal adviser, independent expert. Therefore, every effort must be made to resolve the conflict peacefully.

Liability Insurance
And now just imagine how many troubles and expenses could have been avoided if we insured our liability in case of flooding of the neighbors' apartment from below

The court pays special attention to class action lawsuits. If there are several flooded apartments, then most likely the requirements will be just collective.

Obviously, from a prank or by malice, a normal adult will not flood the neighbors from below, but the possibility of such a situation cannot be excluded. After all, that's the accident. But, despite the fact that damage to the property of neighbors was accidentally caused, troubles for this can be very, very significant.

If you happen to flooded neighbors from above, we recommend to figure out where to turn and how to act in this situation.

Conclusions and useful video on the topic

However, you can insure your civil liability for flooding your neighbors. Find out about this product of insurance companies from the following video:

A video consultation of a representative of a law firm will allow you to systematize the information contained in this article, summarize all the information received and determine your sequence of actions in case you are guilty of flooding a dwelling located below floors.

If the information contained in this article was received by you before an unpleasant situation with flooding occurred, we hope that you will protect yourself by checking once again the condition of plumbing fixtures and household appliances connected to water supply networks. It is possible you decide to insure your civil liability, which is also correct.

Are you familiar with the flooding of property of neighbors from below not by hearsay? Share your experience with other users, tell us how serious your situation was and whether you managed to resolve it peacefully. Or maybe you specialize in legal support of such cases in court and want to supplement our article with useful recommendations? Write your comments in the block below.

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Visitors Comments
  1. A lot has been written, but there are also nuances. For example, there may be a malfunction of the water meter, which consists precisely in its leakage. Here it is necessary to pay attention to who installed it and who bought it, and also to establish the cause of the leak. If the installation and purchase was carried out by an employee of the Criminal Code, then in court you can not only shift all the blame on them, but also get compensation. Only it is necessary to save all documents and checks on such counters.

    • Leonid

      It is very interesting how you will be able to shift the responsibility to the management company when leaking water metering devices. Indeed, according to paragraph 5 of the Rules for the maintenance of common property (Government Decree dated 13.08.2006 No. 491), water meters, which are usually installed after a stopcock, do not belong to common house property, for which the Criminal Code is responsible. Here, unless with the help of an examination, to prove that the meter was incorrectly installed by the representative of the Criminal Code, or the cause of the leakage was the action of the Criminal Code in the water supply system, for example, a water hammer occurred. Another option is to try to prosecute the manufacturer of the meters, but this is all through technical expertise.

      • Expert
        Vasily Borutsky

        You are absolutely right. The fault may lie with the owner (responsible for the meter) as a mechanical damage, by the installer or the manufacturer. Who is right will be proved only by examination.

  2. Marina

    From my own experience I can say that you do not need to show your guilt at the first moment and you should not be afraid to assert your rights. My sister flooded my neighbors, but the fault was on the part of the management company. At the first moment, the sister was ready to immediately compensate for the damage, but the neighbors demanded an awkward amount, and it sobered up. As a result, the year of expertise and courts ended in her favor - all the blame for the damage and costs was laid on the Criminal Code.

  3. Svetlana

    Neighbors are not always some kind of “monsters”, although there is such an opinion. My mother had a similar incident. It was possible to calmly agree with the neighbors without drawing up an act on the part of the management company. Of course, the minor damage caused played a role here. People have come into our position.Mom is an old man, everything in life can happen.