Water Seepage from External Wall & Ceiling
Common causes of water seepage :
In most cases, water seepage is caused by leakage from defective water pipes, sanitary fitments or drainage pipes. Usually, these defects can be rectified by simple repair works. Owners should directly engage a building technician or licensed plumber to identify the cause of seepage for prompt repairs. Please also refer to the investigation methods in the “Do-it-yourself Water Seepage Test” pamphlet as published by the Joint Office.
Owners have the responsibility for maintaining and managing their building, which include resolving any seepage problem. You should quickly approach your neighbour for investigation and repair work to resolve the problem if the seepage is suspected to originate from the flat on the upper floor or next door. If issue of water seepages issue dragging on for months and even years without being resolved due to uncooperative neighbours, Minister of National Development (MND)has called for more authorities to be given to the Housing Development Board (HDB) to enter flats to carry out repairs.
So what can you do if you are suffering from a ceiling leak? The situation differs depending on where you are staying.
For HDB flats, fixing the water leakages falls on the responsibilities of both owners or residents the upper and lower floor flats. After informing HDB and/or Town Council, HDB will usually assist in the investigations to determine the source of the leak and to ensure that repairs needed are made.
If ceiling water leakage is between the upper and lower floor flats, the upper and lower floor flat owners are jointly responsible for the repair of the party floor slab between the flats). This is according to the HDB Residents’ Handbook published. A specialist contractor should be engaged for solve the repairs and the total costs should be borned equality.
For those staying at the top most floor of the flat, as the leakage is from the roof of the block, and as the roof is part of the common property maintained by the Town Council, you should contact the Town Council in your area for repairs.
HDB also has a Goodwill repair Assistance scheme to render assistance to HDB flat owners referred by the Grassroots Advisers of their estates. HDB will co-pay 50% of the repair cost, with the remainder cost split with the 2 flat owners. Each flat owner will thus only have to pay 25% each of the repair cost, subject to a maximum of $300 per repair location.
In the case of uncooperative situation between upper and lower floor neighbours, MP may be involved to mediate as and when required to settle the disputes. HDB will take legal action as an last and final option if disputes persist.
It may take times for the situation to be resolved as investigations and repairs to be made depending on the complexity of the problem/
In the case of ceiling leakage for private non-landed estates, the relevant law is governed by the Building Maintenance and Strata Management Act, which is administered by the Strata Titles Board.
According to the Act, the upper floor is presumed responsible for the leakage and thus the repairs unless he can prove to the contrary(you may refer to our thermograhic technology for more information). Thus, the upper and lower floor flats are required to come together to investigate the cause of the leak and proceed with repairs(prefably with the help of a water seepage / waterproofing specialist contactor. You should also involve your condominium’s Management Corporation when necessary.
If an amicable resolution is not able to be achieved, the flat owner can make an application to the Strata Titles Board to resolve the problem.
The STB is a tribunal, which will fairly evaluate the situation based on the evidence and mediate between the parties. The STB will then make an order which is enforceable in the State Courts.
There is an application fee of $500 which covers two mediation sessions and hearings conducted by industry experts. You may apply for the $500 fee to be paid by the other party in your application.
For more information: “Strata Living in Singapore” guide by the Building and Construction Authority of Singapore.