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Damage To Flat Below

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Texman | 16:34 Thu 16th Aug 2018 | Insurance
126 Answers
I was planning to retire shortly from my warehouse job and I moved into some shared accommodation, which was just meant as a temporary move before I move into a single flat when it comes available. Not long after moving into the shared accommodation I accidentally caused some water damage which then leaked into a room in the flat below.

Some students are sharing below and the water leak I caused damaged some of their property. One student had her MacBook damaged beyond repair as well as some of her furniture. It also damaged an iPad and an electronic keyboard belonging to the other student. She also had some clothes that were ruined. They also had to temporarily move out while the damage to the flat was repaired.

I had tenants insurance but had not relalised it was not valid for shared accommodation and my claim for the damage was denied. The students below had no insurance at all. I do accept that it was my negligence that caused the damage, but the students asked for £5000 for their damaged property, the damage put together could total up to be expensive but I think £5000 may be a bit excessive. They say they have receipts to back it up and will be suing me in the small claims court for the full amount.

If I have to pay for all of this, it could well mess up my retirement plan. I know the students would need to show evidence of their damage, but even if they can, I wondered as they were uninsured, should they be suing me?


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Yes, they can sue you as you caused the damage. Even if they were insured it is entirely possible that the insurance company would reclaim the monies from you.
It seems to be logical that the students should seek recompense from you, because they have no insurance cover which would give them recompense. They no doubt feel that you, who have admitted causing the damage to their property, are the one who should pay for the damage. If you do not, or cannot, pay what they ask, it is not surprising that they intend to seek redress in the small claims court.
The fact that they are uninsured is irrelevant. You admit you caused the damage. You admit your insurance was invalid.
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Yes there was no cover on my insurance for living in shared accommodation, with no insurance to claim from, the two students have made it clear that they will be suing me personally for the full cost of the damage. From the reply's posted, it does seem like they are right to be suing me.
Make certain that the students provide written - and detailed - evidence of their claim, and then you should check, very carefully, if their claim is justified.
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Yes I definitely will, £5000 does seem a bit excessive, but they say they have all of their receipts.
If/when they take you to court, remember that a court won't necessarily order you to pay all the money at once.

As long as you provide the court with evidence about your means, the CCJ against you might only require you to pay the money back in affordable monthly instalments.
MacBooks are very expensive.

I would be very annoyed if mine was water damaged, but if I was you, I would like to have independent verification that both the MacBook and the iPad were water damaged [and a valuation on their worth].
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Thanks for that information Buenchico, I definitely won't be able to pay it on one lump, I guess that the CCJ will state the amount and number of instalments to pay.
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The MacBooks are more expensive than I thought Gromit, one of the students had clothing damaged which she claims were expensive so the £5000 cost could be genuine.

They have made it clear that they want paying for everything so they will be suing me for the full cost, though I will get this verified as you suggest.

I can understand their annoyance just as you say you would be, so I guess they are just going to do what you or anyone else would do if your property was damaged and there's no insurance to cover the cost and that is to sue the person responsible which is unfortunately me.
Why don't you go and see them and ask for a meeting about it, explain that you appreciated their annoyance but that even if they take you to court they won't get that in a lump because you don't have it, and ask if you can pay them a lump sum without a court settlement and then maybe a weekly or monthly payment, that way you'll avoid a CCJ which can damage your credit rating and also you'll maybe smooth things over and get it sorted out more amicably.
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I did try explaining that to them kvalidir, I told them that to the best of my knowledge, taking me to court would not get them their money in one instant lump as I don't have it and can't just make it magically appear.

I was not certain though if there was any sort of arrangement where by they would be paid their money upfront and I then pay in instalments to the court, that may be what they are hoping.

No that doesn't happen Texman, they won't get it in a chunk. I do feel very sorry for you though, as it was clearly an accident x
If I were to recompense them (in full) for their damaged goods, I would expect that I would then "own" the said damaged articles - much like an insurance company. I wouldn't let them have the cash AND keep the damaged articles.
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I didn't think it worked like that kvalidir, perhaps if I talk to them again as tell them to check it out for themselves. It was indeed accidental but I do accept that it was my fault and I rather stupidly screwed up with my insurance.

If they would agree to accepting payment in instalments, I would pay them what they have asked for providing they can show me the necessary documentation as they claim to have.

Maybe they feel that if they agree to payment in instalments, I'll soon start missing payments and stop paying so they would prefer this to go through court. I guess that is up to them if they do, but paying in instalments is the best I can offer them.
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gingejbee, from what you say, it seems like an insurance company claims the items once they have paid out, I never gave that a thought! The damaged items may not be of any use if they are beyond repair but I guess the students would not be entitled to keep them and receive payment for them.
The students might feel they would be taking a risk in accepting payment in instalments for if you miss or stop paying, they could be looking at although taking this to a small claims court would not get them their money up front, they would at least have an official court judgement ordering you to pay in regular instalments. That's probably the way I would look at it.
Are they expecting you to pay for new stuff when obviously all or most was probably used?
What was the damage exactly? It's odd how they had expensive electrical equipment which happened to be damaged. I'd be wanting pretty strong evidence before paying out anything at all above and beyond any structural damage.

I'd be wanting receipts for the goods and proof of any damage. For all you know they could be getting you to pay for any old stuff they had in a cupboard that's be gathering dust for yonks.
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Ladybirder, most of the damaged equipment was newish and they are wanting me to pay the price they paid. So not the new price of everything but still fairly close.

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