Water damage

General questions & discussions on Cyprus property related matters
seeking
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Joined: 21 Nov 2017 14:28

Water damage

Post by seeking »

Good afternoon,

I am the owner of a single apartment in a complex of 12 other apartments within the block in total, and I have a problem on my hands regarding water damage on my property from the property above mine.

The property where the water damage has occurred from, is on the top floor, and rainwater had accumulated on the roof of the above property due to a lack of drainage, and has soaked through my ceiling causing much damage!

The problem I now have on my hands is two fold, and would greatly appreciate any advice or suggestions please.

The first problem I have, is that my neighbors who own the above property where the water damage has occurred do not live in Cyprus, but abroad (as it is their holiday home), and they are no longer responding to any emails from the management committee of my complex in regards to carrying out repairs to their roof, so the damage to my property is ongoing with every rainstorm!

The second problem I now have is, that the management committee of my complex, are refusing to hand over to me the owners name and contact details, so it is now impossible for me to resolve the issue. The management committee have claimed, that due to EU data protection laws, they are unable to hand over this information to me without the other persons consent, and as the owners are no longer responding to any emails they cannot obtain consent and therefore cannot provide me with the details!

My question is, is there anything I can legally do about this situation to get this problem resolved, as right now my hands are completely tied and my property is becoming more damaged by the day due to this issue. Do you know if I have any legal rights to force the management committee to hand me over my neighbors contact details so I can attempt to resolve this directly with them or am I powerless to do anything until the owners respond?

I thank you very much for reading this and for any advice, suggestions or help that can be offered as I am bewildered by this situation.
Nigel Howarth
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Re: Water damage

Post by Nigel Howarth »

Good afternoon seeking and welcome to the forum.

Responsibility for this issue probably rests with your Management Committee. According to the law they are obliged to "maintain in good condition and operation and to preserve the jointly owned property and such other parts of the jointly-owned building and the improvements, constituent parts and fixtures..."

The jointly owned property generally includes: (a) common-use areas/corridors/yard, (b) staircases, (c) roof, (d) foundations, (e) common structural elements, (f) main walls supporting the whole jointly-owned property, (g) common walls between units and the jointly-owned property, (h) electrical installation, (i) plumbing system and engine room, (j) lifts.

So your Management Committee needs to repair the roof and take any other remedial actions and improvements necessary to prevent the roof leaking again.

Furthermore every owner is obliged to "Allow the Management Committee and its representatives at reasonable times and after giving notice – provided that no notice is required for urgent cases – to enter his unit in order to inspect, maintain, repair or replace pipes, wires, cables and ducts of the unit which may be used in relation to the enjoyment of any other unit or jointly-owned property or for maintenance or repair or in order to secure compliance with these Regulations;"

As this is obviously an urgent problem the Management Committee can enter the property above you and arrange repairs.

(You can download a copy of the law from http://www.news.cyprus-property-buyers. ... gs-law.pdf .)

There is no need for you to contact the owners of the property above yours - it's the Management Committees responsibility.

Regards,
Nigel Howarth
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seeking
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Re: Water damage

Post by seeking »

Hi Nigel, thank you very much for your response and for the information provided - the final part you included about the management committee being able to enter owners properties is very useful, as they clamed they had no legal right to enter the vacant property to clear the drains and prevent further leakage through my neighbors roof into my property, so I will try this route next.

They did also claim that my neighbors roof where the water is leaking through was not part of the jointly owned building area as it lays on private property (i.e my neighbors property roof), and claimed that they have no responsibility or accountability to resolve the issue, and only my neighbor is responsible? Does my neighbors roof where the water is leaking through still fall under a jointly owned property and they are mistaken in saying they have no accountability, do you know?

The whole situation feels very wrong, as I feel they have a level of accountability in helping to fix the issue but it seems they simply want to cast off the problem as a purely private owners issue between two owners, absolving themselves from any and all responsibility in helping to find a solution.

Thanks very much again for your time and for kindly sharing your knowledge.
Nigel Howarth
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Re: Water damage

Post by Nigel Howarth »

Hi seeking

To confirm (or otherwise) that your neighbour's roof forms part of the jointly owned property, you will need to check with the Land Registry. They will have plans showing the jointly owned property.

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Nigel Howarth
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seeking
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Re: Water damage

Post by seeking »

Hi Nigel,

Management committee have just confirmed to me that my neighbors roof where the damage is coming from, is an area included within the title deeds of the property (and therefore included within calculation of annual communal fees, based on area squared meters per property), so that would indicate that it is in fact part of the jointly owned building.

I will have to confirm this with the Land Registry, but at first glance this sounds promising.

I thank you once again for sharing your knowledge, sir.

Kind Regards
Nigel Howarth
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Re: Water damage

Post by Nigel Howarth »

Yes - it sounds promising. But do check with the Land Registry.

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Nigel Howarth
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seeking
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Re: Water damage

Post by seeking »

Thanks Nigel. I have been studying the Cyprus Law document you provided and I have also found this power that can be used against the owner, to oblige him to carry out the necessary repairs to both his property roof/balcony area and my ceiling where damage has occurred:

Under Section 38M
In case of partial or total destruction of a unit by any cause, the owner of this unit
shall take measures, within the absolutely necessary time limit and at his own
expense, shall take measures for the reconstruction, repair or restoration of the
unit
and re-instatement to its previous state: priority must be given to the
reconstruction of the parts or areas which affect the uninterrupted use and
enjoyment of the other units
or the or the jointly-owned property. The owner of a
unit who omits or neglects to comply with his obligations under this section shall
be obliged in addition to any other obligation or responsibility imposed on him by
or under this Part or the Regulations, to compensate the other owners of units if due to his negligence or omission the interruption of the free, uninterrupted and full
use of these units
or the jointly-owned property is continued.


I have now escalated the issue to the Police (to see if the management committee could gain access to my neighbors balcony roof area) who then referred the case to the local Council whom I have a meeting with tomorrow morning, so fingers crossed this will be brought to resolution soon!

Many thanks again.
seeking
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Joined: 21 Nov 2017 14:28

Re: Water damage

Post by seeking »

Hi Nigel,

Just to update that I have now been to the land registry office and they have provided me with the document stating the plans for the jointly owned property, and from what the man at the desk advised me when he interpreted it, it appears it is not part of the jointly owned property.

I also made a mistake originally when I said it was my neighbors roof that the water was leaking from, when it was actually from his balcony where the water had accumulated and damaged my property.

One question I have now is regarding point g from your original post, where it is stated - common walls between units and the jointly owned property.

Do you happen to know if my ceiling where the damage has occurred and between my neighbors balcony (which is directly above) would be classed as a common wall between units?
Nigel Howarth
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Re: Water damage

Post by Nigel Howarth »

seeking wrote: 27 Nov 2017 16:39Do you happen to know if my ceiling where the damage has occurred and between my neighbours balcony (which is directly above) would be classed as a common wall between units?
I think it's very unlikely as neither your neighbours balcony nor your ceiling form part of the common area.

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Nigel Howarth
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seeking
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Re: Water damage

Post by seeking »

Yep, that's exactly as I suspected but thought I'd ask. At least now the management committee have taken accountability in clearing the drains from the vacant property to stop further leaking in storms, which is a start in getting this resolved. Thanks for your help, it has been very useful.
Nigel Howarth
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Re: Water damage

Post by Nigel Howarth »

You're welcome seeking

As well as clearing the drains it would be a good idea to cover the floor of the balcony with heavy duty polythene sheeting and hold it down around the edges with some bricks. This should help stop water leaking through the floor of of your neighbour's balcony into your property.

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Nigel Howarth
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jennfiermorgon
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Re: Water damage

Post by jennfiermorgon »

On a properly performing roof, ponding water isn't a problem as it will just drain away. However when your roof has uneven areas, an insufficient slope, or drainage issues, the water doesn't dissipate. Check around drain areas for roof debris or roof patching materials that may be blocking drain exits and remove them. On granulated roofs, remove all loose mineral granules as they trap moisture. For a long-term roofing solution apply a coat of EPDM Liquid Rubber.
Roofing Contractor with vast experience on residential and commercial roofing. Save thousands with the best roof sealant in the market and end your leaks today. Don't spend money on a coatings system that lasted a couple years
Nigel Howarth
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Re: Water damage

Post by Nigel Howarth »

Hello Jennfier and welcome to the forum.

I see that you're the Marketing Manager at EPDM Coatings - company based in Connecticut, USA.

Please do not promote your company on this forum. If you continue to do so, you will be banned.

Note that this forum is for buyers, sellers and investors of property in the Mediterranean island of Cyprus (not the city of Cypress, California, USA.)

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Nigel Howarth
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shatulina
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Re: Water damage

Post by shatulina »

Hi Nigel,

We have also a situation and I want your experienced advice on it. We live in a 4 floors building.
In one of the side apartments, 1st floor bedroom 'outside' wall, about 2 years ago when the 'winter' was heavy in rain, there was lots of dump and the wall was showing leakage coming somehow from above. The above bedroom wall (2nd floor) was just fine, not showing any sign of water/dump. Next to the specific bedroom there is the bath located, so the owner of 2nd floor flat did the best to find if there is any pipe broken that would lead to the 1st floor bedroom wall dumping. They even broke below the bathtub and did not find the source. The only solution they found at that time was to make sure there will be less water accumulating on the roof that will permit to overflow some 'sensitive' pipes (the roof drains were also fine, so they installed an extra 'outside' pipe to have a better flow). So, for one year the situation was fixed. At that time the respective 1st floor bedroom wall was fixed and was looking fine after damage.

This year, the winter was less abundant in rain, even so, it seems the respective 1st floor bedroom wall had again marks of dump/leakage from somewhere in the same wall.

What can be done:
1. How we do find out where is the problem to be fixed without breaking walls blindly. Is the builder giving by law some guarantee on pipes of outside walls? Where can we find such information, please?
2. Should the owner make sure first that the pipe that cause the leakage/dump is not exactly at the level of his apartment? if it's between floors, the committee should be the one to fix as it would be part of common areas? What if it is at the level of 2nd floor above, and not common area? How you would proceed if you'd be the owner and have such issue?
3. What would you answer if you would be 'committee' and the respective 1st floor apartment owner would ask you to fix the issue using building funds which aren't actually available?

Thank you in advance for your review and reply.

Best regards,
Laura
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Re: Water damage

Post by Nigel Howarth »

Hi Laura

It is the Management Committee's responsibility to deal with this. To comply with the law, the Committee must have insured the whole of the jointly-owned building - please see my article You have insurance but are you insured? - that includes everything within the boundary of the development - i.e. the individual dwelling units and the jointly-owned property.

I am aware that some Committee 'penny pinch' and get the absolute minimum insurance cover required by the law - i.e. fire, lightning and earthquake.

But regardless of what insurance cover they have, it's the Committees responsibility to get the problem with the jointly-owned building identified and repaired.

As for builder guarantees, you should get these in writing. Reputable contractors will not have a problem with this. But again, if your Committee 'penny-pinches' you could end up with a bad repair and no come-back on the contractor.

If your Committee hasn't got the funds, they'll have to pay for the work out of their pockets - and recover the costs when they set the budget for next year.

Regards,
Nigel Howarth
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