Nightmare with unidentified leak coming into my apartment in Paris

Has anyone had a similar problem? I own a holiday home which I occasionally let out when I dont use it in an old Housmann apartment in central Paris - I have owned it for about 12 years. There has always been a slight problem with humiditee, but nothing major as it is an old building. It is run by a good co-propriete and I am friendly with the President who liases with the Syndic who manages it.

Last May after having the master bedroom decorated a damp patch appeared on a wall which adjoins an adjacent property. I declared it to my insurance company who came out to check it twice - they unfortunately sent the appointment info to the wrong Syndic address ( I had provided the correct one).

I had sent a recorded letter last year to both my Syndic and the next door one - the next door deny any problem and I have no idea where the leak is coming in from but suspect a poor roof join from the adjacent building ( I am on the 1st floor and there is a flat wall adjacent next door) we eliminated the flat upstairs though they caused a leak in another room previously.

I have legal Protection insurance. My insurance company says the expert who has been twice says the wall is 100% soaked and insists that the Syndic is responsible for external leak problems to the communal areas - it is spreading to the ceiling and some of the ceiling is dropping off! My Syndic refuse to arrange a plumber to investigate the origin in spite of letters sent to them by the experts, myself and the insurance company.

My friend says it is up to me to pay a plumber to do a report, which is contrary to all professional advice I have recieved- I wouldnt even mind to do this however where do I send the plumber ?My flat is not causing the problem. Also I did get some legal advice to say that it is up to the Syndic and their insurance company to to the report.

What should I do next -My insurance will not take it any further now. I could sue the Syndic I suppose but I am a little reluctant to do this. I have had advice to this effect and I think the legal protection should pay a solicitor's fee ( I do know a London based French firm) my French is not up to trying to deal with this. They say that the court appoints an independant expert and what ever they find and whoever is responsible has to fix it.

I am worried it will take years ( already nearly 2 years next May) and my apartment will be unihabitable.

Any suggestions anyone ?

Michelle, in addition, I meant to say that in response to your question about where to send the plumber if you happen to get one yourself, I would send him firstly to your appartement and then see what the next step would be according to him. He would surely be used to this sort of situation and know how to deal with it perhaps? Bon courage!

I have had a similar problem here in Paris. The comments, so far, are correct. The syndic is responsible... so, bombard them with letters, faxes and phone calls. For the letters: there is a free legal service, at your local town hall, called ADIL. They will write the letters if you explain what happened. Good Luck!

Sorry to hear about this, so frustrating I know. We did have a similar problem. Personally, I think the only way to get through to these people (the Syndic) in this sort of situation is to bombard them weekly/daily if not hourly with calls, letters, faxes, texts, emails, the point they will get so sick of you they will do anything to get you off their backs. I worked once in a customer complaints department and I usually dealt first and promptly with the people that never let me rest...they were on the phone to me from dawn until dusk :-) I expect they know that they are responsible for to sort this out but they are burying their heads in the sand as syndics often do. I know believe me! Meanwhile, I think your friends idea to get an independant plumber is a good one.