Who is responsible if the unit above me that is vacant but owned by a bank had a water leak into my unit causing extensive damage?

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Who is responsible if the unit above me that is vacant but owned by a bank had a water leak into my unit causing extensive damage?

The fire department had to come out to find out why the water was pouring into our unit. When they entered they found the water line for the washing machine left on and in a drain line unattached to any washing machine. They turned it off and the leak was stopped but not after much damage to my unit living room, kitchen, bathroom and closet.I do not have home owners insurance. Can I recover from the banks insurance because they were negligent?

Asked on January 14, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You can't necessarily recover from the bank's insurance: their insurance is not your insurance, and you have no right to submit a claim directly to it. (Their insurance protects them, not you.) What you can do is contact the bank and ask for compensation; if the bank will not pay you, you can sue them. If you can prove in court that the leak was the bank's fault, such as by not checking/monitoring/maintaining/etc. the property and so allowing the water line to be left on, the drain to be unattached, etc., then you can get a judgment against them, which either the bank (or at that point, it's insurer) will pay. A property owner--and you indicate that the bank is now the property owner--is responsible for damage caused negligently, or carelessly, to other people's property.
But before suing, speak with the bank; they may voluntarily offer compensation, to avoid a lawsuit if they think they'd lose anyway.


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