We analyse who is responsible in the event that a property gets damaged by water infiltrations.
The case study we are going to examine in this post analyses the potential accountability of the owner of a rented establishmentfor the damages caused in an adjacent property as a consequence of a water infiltration originated by the breaking of a water tube overnight. In this particular case, the insurance company initiated the lawsuit against both the tenant and the landlord of the establishment.
One of the most relevant facts of this case was that the landlord was not informed about the potential necessity of repairs. It is also relevant that the tenants did not know of the necessity of the aforementioned repairs, that being the main reason why they did not inform the landlord about this situation.
Case law from the Supreme Court state that a landlord shall not be held responsible of any damages caused because of the lack of repairs needed when the tenant has not warned the landlord about deficiencies in the property. Therefore in this case, even though our Civil Code states in article 1907 that the owner of a building is indeed responsible of the damages if these were caused because of the lack of repairs needed, the responsibility of the landlord had to be ruled out.
Stated in article 1910 of our Civil Code, the tenant is responsible of any damages caused by “things thrown or fallen down from” the property. Case Law of the Supreme Court has extended the term “things” in order to include concepts such as water or fluid infiltrations, in general, coming from a building, establishments or flats and that causes damages in adjacent or near properties.
In consequence, the Supreme Court´s resolution of April the 15th, 2021 considers that in this case the tenant is responsible for the damages caused in the adjacent property, since the owner of the building was not inhabiting the property at the time that the damages were caused, and the owner had not been warned about the necessity of maintenance either.
All in all, we strongly advise tenants to be always wary of any damages in the property in order to notify them as soon as possible to the owners, to whom we advise to make any repairs needed shortly after, in order to avoid potential lawsuits or claims.
We in Méndez Padilla Abogados & Asociados are experts in landlord and tenant law and we can assist you with any legal issue in this matter that you may have, so do not hesitate in contacting us if you are in need of legal advice from a lawyer. You may contact us via Whatsapp, phone call or email.