Ceiling Leaks in HDB Flats: Who Should Pay for It?

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16 March 2022 - 16:22, by , in Uncategorized, No comments

Having trouble because of ceiling leaks? Well, you’re not the only one. Ceiling or inter-floor leaks is a common problem faced by many homeowners in Singapore, especially those who live in HDB flats.

Even if it sounds like it’s not a big issue, ceiling leaks are not something to be you taken lightly. Water leakage can cause severe damage to your home, but more importantly, it can pose risks to you and your family’s health.

Ceiling maintenance is a significant household issue, and finding a solution is not as easy as it may seem. Unless you are living on the topmost floor of your building, ceiling leaks are not only a problem concerning your own home. You have to communicate with the neighbours who live right above you. Having your neighbour’s cooperation in solving this problem is not always easy.

However, do not be discouraged. If you are experiencing these problems, here is a quick guide on solving your leakage problems.

What to Do When a Ceiling Leak Occurs?

First of all, check for any signs of ceiling leaks in your home. Even if you do not find any signs of water seeping into your house, it doesn’t mean you don’t have to take extra caution.

Make sure to have ceiling maintenance as a part of your household practice. This includes cleaning your ceiling regularly, getting rid of any bugs, dust, or dirt. It is also advisable to have your ceiling painted every now and then, as the paint serves an additional layer of protection from elements that may cause damage to it. Also, make sure to continually inspect every spot of your house for any signs of leaks; you can never predict when a leak may start happening.

If your home is above someone else’s, you also need to be cautious of any possible problems that may root from your unit. Check your floors if there are any cracks or holes where water can seep through. Also, regularly check your drainage and water system for any problems. If you find something unusual, have it fixed immediately. It is crucial to have proper maintenance of your home, but it doesn’t hurt to be conscious of the people living around you as well.

Once you notice any signs that point out to ceiling leaks, do not put the matter into your own hands; contact a professional team to check the problem immediately.

Who Should Pay for the Ceiling Repair Cost?

Like mentioned earlier, ceiling leakage is not an issue that only concerns yourself. Dealing with this problem usually concerns three parties: the HDB and the owners of the upper and lower flat. For cases of ceiling leaks between the upper and lower floor flats, both owners share the responsibility of having it fixed. The total ceiling repair cost is normally split 50-50 between the two of them.

You can obtain HDB’s Goodwill Repair Assistance scheme if you are worried about not having enough money to make the repairs. Once you get the referral of the Grassroots Advisers of your estate, the HDB will pay 50% of the ceiling repair cost, with the remaining half to be split between the two flat owners. Paying 25% of the total cost is all you need to do, which usually amounts to $300 per repair location.

We have established, however, that having the cooperation of your neighbour is not always easy. They may deny any queries about possible problems in their unit, or at worst, they don’t allow professionals to investigate the root cause of the problem. Grassroots leaders can serve as mediators in these situations. If the flat owner continues to be uncooperative, the HDB can initiate legal action against them.

If you are living on the topmost floor of your building, the leakage is most probably from the roof of the block. Because the roof is part of common property maintained by the Town Council, you should contact the Town Council in your residential area to have it repaired.

In general, ceiling repair takes a few months to be resolved. The period involves investigating the source of the problem and the whole waterproofing process. The amount of time needed for the repairs will also depend on how cooperative the two flat owners are.

Will HDB Help to Pay for Part of the Repair for Ceiling Leaks in Condominiums?

Unfortunately, the HDB does not offer the same scheme for ceiling maintenance for condo owners. For cases of ceiling leaks in private non-landed estates, it follows the Building Maintenance and Strata Management Act, administered by the Strata Titles Board (STB).

Here, the owner of the upper flat is presumed liable for the leakage and must cover the ceiling repair cost, unless proven otherwise. That is why both flat owners need to cooperate in a joined investigation to determine the cause of the leak and immediately proceed with repairs. Also, make sure to inform and involve the condominium’s Management Corporation in solving the problem.

Again, you may come in contact with uncooperative neighbours. If this happens, you can make an application to the Strata Titles Board (STB), a tribunal made up of lawyers and experts in the building industry. This panel of experts will evaluate the situation based on the evidence and mediate between the parties. The STB will then carry out an order that is enforced by the State Courts.

Regardless if you live in an HDB flat or a condo, it is best to have a team of professionals to help you in fixing your problems with ceiling leaks.

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