You come back from a long, tiring day at work, make yourself a nice hot cup of beverage and relax on your bed or sofa. “Plop, plop”, you feel some wet droplets on your head. You look up to check where the droplets are coming from and immediately get frustrated about the same old leakage. “Not again!!”, you grumble.
If you are living in a High Rise Apartment or Society with multiple floors, this problem is actually more commonplace than you’d think. Sure, staying on the higher floor has its own perks: breathtaking views, cool breezes & whatnot. But problems like cracks, leakages, and more dust particles can cause a nuisance to you and others. Let us dive into what are the causes of such Leakages, how to address leakage issues, and tips on preventing Leakages on your floors and ceilings.
What’s Causing the Leak?
Some of the primary reasons that cause cracks and leakages are faulty construction, lack of adequate maintenance, and a poor housing society management system. When we delve deeper into these problems, the following aspects come to the forefront:
- A bathroom on the second or higher floors has more chances of causing leakage problems due to leaking pipes or seepage through tile grout. This leads to corrosion problems in private residential and commercial multistorey buildings along with a serious threat to hygiene.
- Symptoms such as water drippings, damp patches, paint-peeling off, and rust stains on the ceiling indicate that the roof waterproofing system is not performing.
- If bathroom waterproofing is not up to the mark, every time the floor becomes wet, water can penetrate through the bathroom floor and into your downstairs ceiling.
- Due to capillary action, the water can flow or be drawn along or through many building materials due to capillary action. By traveling long distances, it’s possible for water to stain ceilings farther away from the water source.
- Leaks in water supply lines attached to the toilet or sink, line joints, and drain pipe leaks that appear and disappear across your ceiling are some other causes of improper apartment management.
Check out our blog on Housing society maintenance issues to know more about the causes of other maintenance issues!
How to Go About Addressing Leakage Issues?
There is a lot of contention on who should be responsible for taking care of the leakage. However, general consensus dictates how one can escalate this apartment management issue to your Builder/ Upper flat owner/ Society.
However, if the leakage is of such nature that it is only due to poor construction/ manufacturing defects, you can try reconciling the matter amicably. If this fails, you can opt to give legal notice to the concerned upper floor/unit owner with a request to either get it ratified themselves or allow you to ratify the same, within a certain notice period.
Your builder is liable to conduct repairs only up to a certain period after the building is formed. If it is a builder’s society or community, check whether the builder is a registered government-approved contractor or a private builder. If the builder is a registered government contractor, one can hand over a notice to him regarding the poor quality of work with a request to get it ratified.
If this does not work, the same copy can be given to the concerned department with details of the builder’s conduct including another copy to the police station for information.
For cooperative society management, you can make a written complaint to the secretary or MC with all the details after the builder handover is conducted. If the secretary is convinced of negligence, he/she can carry out the repair with society funds and have it reimbursed by the flat member whose floor is causing the negligence.
The guiding factor for the decision shall be the housing society bye-laws set by the RWA during its formation. In either case, you should rigorously follow up with the concerned authorities until the issue is resolved.
Who’s Supposed to Bear the Repair & Maintenance Cost?
The bye-laws of housing societies governing every community’s internal matters state the kind of repairs the society management is responsible for.
Under Bye-Law 160 (a), the following Repairs and Maintenance of the society’s property shall be carried out by the society at its cost:
External water pipes, water pumps, drainage lines, the roof of flats, all leakages of water, roofs of the flat and ceiling and the plaster thereon of the top floor on account of leakages of the rain water through the terrace.
If the leakage is not the fault of the flat owner staying above you, then the expenses to stop/repair the leakage has to be borne equally by you and above the flat owner as per law. The same procedure needs to be followed if the above flat owner is refusing to cooperate and share the cost.
Steps to Address the Leakage Issues
In order to ensure that your floor/ceiling is leakproof as a top/below floor flat owner, you can take up the following measures, especially before monsoon –
Check Drainage Points
Ensure that the stormwater drain points in terrace and penthouse areas are cleared regularly to avoid waterlogging anywhere. You can also apply cement plaster for the smooth flow of water and level the terrace.
Check for Cracks
ADDA advises conducting a thorough examination to identify and repair cracks. This ensures that there is minimal damage when leakage occurs as the paint and damage are more than what meets the eye. Opting for a fiberglass crack filling compound for both interior and exterior ensures the unmatched crack ability for plaster cracks of up to 3 mm.
Protect Electronic Items
Hire an electrician to check for any loose wiring and damaged electrical cords. Keeping moisture absorbing bags behind electronic equipment can help absorb moisture and keep your valuables safe, preventing short circuits and high expenses in the society management system.
One cost-friendly option is installing plastic or bamboo shades on top of doors and windows. Not only do they help evade water from entering your home, but also do not block the outside view.
Waterproof Open Areas
A liquid waterproofing membrane can act as an ultimate tonic for cement which can be used from the foundation up to the roof of the building. It is an especially formulated cement additive that increases the life of a building. It improves the integral waterproofing properties of cement, concrete, and plasters after curing, which makes a building’s life last longer.
Rainwater usually enters the homes through gaps in windows and door sills. Further, a split air conditioner installed at home can allow water from strong winds to enter through the wall cut out which is made for refrigerant piping. Check them, and if needed, close them using good-quality sealants.
Penthouse dwellers should ensure that open areas have adequate skirting around doors as a precaution to avoid minor waterlogging. These materials are highly durable and promote better weight distribution, covering any plumbing and electrical lines.
Leakage from top flats/floors is a contentious issue in many housing societies with such matters often taking the legal route in many cases. We hope this blog clears your doubts on cost bearing, maintenance, and the process of escalation if you find yourself stuck in these situations.
Want to know how you can raise a Maintenance request on ADDA Helpdesk with just a tap? Talk to our experts here easily or mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get immediate help on any kind of leakage issue in your apartment.