Water damage in rented apartment caused by neighbouring unit


I’ve been renting in France for a couple of years now and things have been mostly trouble free up until last weekend when I returned to find water marks all along one of my walls.

It turned out that there has been a leak coming from an apartment on the 5th floor since about a month ago (I’m on the 3rd floor). During this time, unknowingly to me, it has been causing chaos on the 4th floor apartment but now it has also started affecting me as things have gradually worsened.

I don’t know why it took so long, but they started work on repairing the leak today.

As soon as the issue became apparent to me last week, I notified my agent/landlord, the building syndic and my insurance (HSBC) but while I’m waiting to hear back from various parties, I wanted to get a better understanding of how things work…

My experience from the UK is that I should just notify the landlord and they should deal with everything, but my landlords response here was that I should notify my insurance which suggests to me that I’m going to be the one who has to handle everything? There is no damage to my personal property, just the walls of the apartment itself.

Is it normal for this to fall on the tenant? Am I within my rights to push back and tell the landlord to deal with it? I suspect that at the end of the day the liability lies with the apartment where the leak originated from but I’d rather not have to be the one that has to deal with getting any repairs done and coordinating things.

Any suggestions/insight about how the process works would be much appreciated as I think I’m getting confused trying to understand it myself. Thanks!

You tell your insurance about the dégâts des eaux, they will send an expert in and then sort everything out with the insurance of those actually responsible. There’s a whole wodge of stuff about it here

But tell your insurance asap.


Thanks! That’s good to hear. Given that I’m not at fault, can I safely assume that I won’t have to pay any kind of excess if they are going to end up following up with the insurer of the apartment that is at fault?

I sent a registered letter to my insurer on Tuesday (I became aware of the damage on Sunday) but weirdly after just checking now, the tracking says that it’s still in transit… I guess this is why I haven’t heard back from them yet… I’ll try calling them tomorrow again as well

Your insurance will deal with the other insurance company. It will be most likely slow. The issue you need to keepan eye on is that they will most likely want to do the cheapest repair job. So try to get details. This happened to us and insursnce company just wanted to repaint half the wall.

1 Like

What was the outcome of all this…??? (A good one I hope)

Yes, all was good thank you!

It was slow progress, but the leak was eventually repaired before it caused any signifiant damage to my apartment.

I notified my insurance as suggested but they told me that since there was no damage to my own possessions, the responsibility remained with the owner.

Once the agent returned, they came to assess the damage and arranged some “repairs”. As Jane predicted, they pretty much seem to have only painted over it, but the owner signed off and it’s not my responsibility so I’m at peace with it :sweat_smile: I’m not planning to live there for much longer anyway

1 Like