Night. You sleep sweetly in your bed. You have a dream about how neighbors flood your apartment. You wake up and realize that this is not a dream.
For many residents of multi-storey buildings, the problem of flooding an apartment by neighbors from above is well known. No one is safe from flooding an apartment, anyone’s battery can burst or low-quality plumbing fail. But not everyone knows what to do if streams of water pour from the ceiling. Let’s consider what steps should be taken in this case.
Step one: turn off the electricity and go up to the neighbors above to clarify the situation
After you have discovered the fact that the apartment is flooded, you should turn off the electricity in the switchboard, remove valuables from the flooded place and immediately go up to the neighbors. You need to find out what happened, and, if necessary, provide all possible assistance in eliminating the leak.
Step two: contact your home service provider
If it is not possible to turn off the tap on their own, or the neighbors do not open it (maybe they simply are not at home), you need to urgently call the organization that serves the house, the emergency service, with the requirement to immediately send a plumber who will cut off the water supply.
Try to negotiate with neighbors about compensation for the damage caused. If you manage to come to an agreement, then it can save you nerves, and possibly money for legal proceedings. Such a peace agreement must be fixed in writing, indicating the amount and timing of compensation payments. It is best to have this agreement certified by a notary.
3-4 days after the flooding (so that all its consequences can manifest themselves), you need to call an employee of the management company to draw up an act on flooding. This act must contain the following points:
- what are the reasons for flooding;
- what are the consequences of the accident, what damage was caused to the decoration of the premises;
- what things and to what extent were damaged by the flooding.
It is advisable to attach photos or videos with the consequences of the accident to this act. They will be additional evidence if you have to go to court. You must leave a copy of the act.
Step three: call an independent expert to assess the damage caused
If neighbors refuse to plead guilty or disagree with the amount or timing of payments, you will have to go to court. First, you need to contact an independent expert so that you can assess the damage caused. The work of the expert must be monitored carefully so that all damages are indicated. Fix the expert’s attention on the details that have passed his attention. Insist on measurements, present receipts or receipts that you have kept to confirm the cost of repairs or damaged items.
The work of an independent expert can take place in the presence of the perpetrator of the damage, who must be notified about the inspection 3 working days in advance, or without him, if he was notified, but could not or did not want to be present.
Photo and video materials are attached to the report on the assessment of the damaged property, which show the extent of damage and their quality.
Step four: going to court
To go to court, you need to draw up a statement of claim, to which an act of flooding, a report on the assessment of damaged property, photo and video materials, and other necessary documents must be attached. You can draw up a statement of claim yourself or contact a housing lawyer. A lawyer will help you formulate your complaint correctly, and will represent your side at the hearing, helping you win the process.
If, after the court decision, the neighbors are in no hurry to compensate you for the damage, you can go to court for a writ of execution. In this case, the bailiffs will determine the amount of the minimum monthly cash payments and the ways in which these amounts will be paid.
Is the upstairs neighbor always guilty of flooding?
At first glance, everything is simple: it was flowing from the neighbors, so they are to blame. But this hasty conclusion is not always correct. The guilty party can be:
- a person who is the owner of the apartment (if the apartment is privatized, and the owner forgot to turn off the taps or the plumbing, poorly installed, let him down);
- management company, housing department (if, for example, a riser or other communications that the management company had to serve has burst);
- the state (if the apartment is provided under a social rental agreement and the state is the owner of the property).