When flooding occurs it is a particularly stressful event for any homeowner, and matters can be made even worse where the cause of a flood to your property are the actions of others. Damage to property can be costly to repair, result in significant stress and inconvenience, not to mention the time these issues take to resolve.
In situations where flooding or water ingress is caused by a local authority or Scottish Water, it is possible to hold either of these parties liable for damage to your property.
The relevant provisions are contained in the Water (Scotland) Act 1980. Section 10 (1) of this Act states:-
‘… a local authority or Scottish Water shall make full compensation to any person who has sustained damage by reason of the exercise by them or it of any of their or its powers under this Act in relation to a matter as to which he has not himself been in default.’
Section 10(A) further provides:- ‘the escape of water, however caused from one of Scottish Water’s communication or supply pipes or mains shall for the purposes of subsection (1) above be taken to have been brought about by the exercise by it of powers under this Act.’
What these provisions mean is that for an individual to have a right to claim compensation they must show three things, these are that:-
- there has been escape of water,
- Scottish Water are responsible for this, and
- this has caused damage to their property
To pursue a claim for compensation, expert input would likely be necessary to identify the source of any water and that Scottish Water is responsible for maintaining the drain or structure. Should Scottish Water dispute the cause of any flood this will be essential. It is also very important to note that unless your claim for compensation is made within 24 months from the date of the alleged damage then it will be out of time and you will lose your right to use the Act to support your case. This differs from the usual 5 year prescriptive period for claims.
With regards to evidence, it would be advisable to keep receipts or invoices for any repair works that prove your loss.
Although claims of this nature are likely to be complex these are important provisions that allow individuals to claim compensation where they have suffered damage through no fault of their own. At Jackson Boyd we have the necessary experience to represent you if you are seeking compensation from either a local authority or Scottish Water.