Hi I am new to the site but have

Vesparina65 Image
05/25/2014 - 06:58

Hi I am new to the site but have visited it on many occasions. I see that there are lots of knowledgeable people on here and I was wondering if anyone else has found themselves in the same predicament....I own an apartment in a old palazzo in Liguria ( there is no administrator ) . About a year ago I developed a leak from the apartment upstairs (there is a flat terrace)  and it has been getting worse. The apartment upstairs is empty but I approached the lady who owns it and she won't fix it. I don't live there and when I last visited the place is covered in mould, all the plaster is crumbling and it rains in the flat too! I have been to the vigili but they won't get involved and a solicitor wants to charge 500 euros just to send a letter....any ideas what to do? Any advice greatly appreciated as it's driving me to despair! 



Is your apartment insured? The insurance company will take care of everything. Otherwise, you have a legal problem in your hands... and not a nice one. Technically, if the leak really comes from the upstairs apartment and the flat terrace is private property, its owner (or her insurance) should fix it, which does not generally mean that she WILL fix it...

You need a lawyer but a cheaper one. If the leak is from an apartment above, the owner has to fix it, but you'll very likely have to go to court to get any action. Don't be afraid to do that but don't expect to recover costs - usually, the losing party will give up at the last minute so as to not pay costs. As Gala Placidia says above, try to get your insurance company to handle it - they're expert in this kind of thing. I actually insure the upstairs apartment to avoid exactly this problem. It costs less per year than the cost of one letter from a lawyer.

Thanks for the advice. I do have buildings insurance but I suspect she doesn't. She owns a lot of properties in all states of disrepair. I will have to shop around and get some advice from a solicitor etc. is there anything a justice of the peace can do? Someone in Italy mentioned it but I don't know how it works thanks

Insure her place as well. Your insurance rep will handle it. He has to ask her but she can hardly say no - possibly can't say no. Then it's the insurance company that will squeeze her for damages caused to you by her own negligence because of course they'll want to recover anything they pay you.

I don't think that any insurance company will accept insuring HER if there is damage caused by her property. Insurance policies are not retroactive. Glad to hear that you are insured. Go and see your rep and put on a claim as soon as possible. Best wishes!smiley

A little update on this situation which is not good news. With the weather so bad in Liguria I am on the verge of  throwing away the keys to my apartment and never going back! A tecnico and muratore looked at my leak and they said the whole building needs a new roof. I then went to a geometra and they have estimated roughly 20,000 euros to fix with the scaffolding costs ( the building has four floors). There is no condominium and I have no idea how to get this sorted. I cannot afford to do this alone but split between all the other residents it would be ok. I am now in the Uk until April.i have been told that the other residents are obligated to pay as it's is leaking badly but how do I go about this? any ideas  ? I can only assume the costs are so high because it is a centro storico? I am being driven to despair ....thanks

Sorry to hear about your predicament. Have you contacted your insurers? They should be the ones handling all this. Depending on the scope of the work, 20,000 € may not be unreasonable. Just the scaffolding needed for a 4 storey building and the difficulties that an old building in the centro storico will present will justify a high cost. 

Thanks that's what I thought. As for the insurers the property has not been maintained so it is invalid. i am unsure of the process regarding employing a geometra? I do not know all the other residents so do they take control in contacting all the relevant parties? If I start the process am I liable for the costs of employing the geometra or will other parties have to pay? sorry for all the questions but I am so out of my depth on this one!

Visit the other owners and see what they say. Also get a second opinion on the repairs. If the leak comes from a terrace, that should be relatively easy to fix. You'll probably end up paying in this case but it could cost less than a lawyer - I'm assuming the owner would allow you to do the repairs if you paid. Actually, the usual procedure here is to get your geometra to write to the owner upstairs in the first instance, indicating that you'll sue if nothing happens. This is then followed by a negotiation where, as a sweetener, you offer to pay half. Again, I'm assuming a terrace problem. If it's the entire roof, sooner or later you can force the owners to pay their share.

Unfortunately insurance has nothing to do with it, unless all the apartments were insured - and that is not the case.  It is between you and the owner of the terrace who is has the legal responsibility as she has use of your 'suolo' as her terrace, but the roof is legally yours.  As with most things in Italy it takes alot of cajoling and threatening to get anything done.  She may well refufe, but a judge would order her to pay so you need to threaten court action.  If its a new roof which needs to be shared between all the owners then you share payement - assuming of course that the other owners want to pay - if not then you need to threaten court action.  So its your only option - a formal legal letter from a lawyer telling the owner that she is at fault and if the work is not done by her, then it will be done by you and she will be billed.

I agree with modicasa. Legal action is your only option. And I also agree in that , although it may take a long time, you will win the case. You must convey the image that you are not prepared to accept anything else but to repair the roof and that you will go as far as it is necessary.AT the same time you must have a body corporate for the building. The current situation is a recipe for disaster. Good luck!

Fantastic so all is not lost....it has been easy for her to avoid the issue because I am not there all the time. I will see what I can do when I go back in April. I dread to think what damage this winter will cause but it might be enough to spur people into action.Thanks for the advice & fingers crossed !