Am I Liable if My New Miele Washing Machine Has Leaked in My Apartment That I’m Renting?

I bought a Miele washer and dryer that was delivered and installed by Miele in the last 4 weeks. My neighbours beneath me said their roof has water stains on it. I discovered that beneath my washing machine it was very damp. Miele are coming on Wednesday to fix the issue.

Am I liable for any damage to my apartment that I’m renting or the apartment downstairs? I don’t have any kind of insurance, and am worried that I could be liable despite not doing anything wrong. Help!

Update: Miele came and determined that there was a leak. But, as it’s a European style laundry, he had to remove the machines. As they are heaps heavy and the access it awkward, they rescheduled to come back the next week. When they came the next week, the leak was seen to be coming from an unused spigot, that was adjacent to the spigot used to take the wastewater from the washing machine. Almost as if the bloke who installed it might have noticed? Or not…
So I had the spigot siliconed by the landlords plumber. He also happens to be one of the people renovating downstairs, who also looked after the minor leak stains on the roof downstairs. So sadly for you all the outcome is pretty boring. Leak fixed. No major water damage. I think that’s the last we will hear about this one! Thanks everyone for answering my questions!


  • +17

    In my view, yes you are responsible.
    You may, depending on the outcome, be able to claim against Miele yourself, but you are responsible for your neighbour.

    • In my view, yes you are responsible.

      Seems that way, unless there is an issue with the pipes/whatever that isn't related to the new machine.

      • Yeah what I was dreading…
        wouldn’t expect it’s a leaky tap given I’ve just had this installed it’s the only thing that’s changed recently.

    • That makes sense. I imagine dealing with Miele will be quite the nightmare. Will let you know how I go!

  • +2

    Yes, I would think you are liable for any damage caused to your apartment or the one below.

  • +4

    Hopefully the landlord will have some kind of insurance and you would just have to pay excess?

    • Fingers crossed. Will be sure to let you know!

    • +1

      Landlord insurance only covers their fixtures and fittings (carpet, blinds, etc) and doesn't cover appliances unless expressly requested.

      • Well it could cover the flooring and any damage to apartment below? I wouldn't expect the dishwasher could get replaced or anything

    • Nor I expect if OP has taken out content insurance, it will cover repair to "flood" damage to building structure

  • +1

    As an ex landlord… and in one word..

  • +1

    If your neighbours roof is stained by your appliance, and you only have it for 4 weeks, and I assumed it is installed in the laundry with tiled floor… The bigger question is should you move out of that place

    • +4

      Correct. The laundry floor should be waterproofed and have a floor waste installed. It seems neither are their due to dodgy workmanship.

  • Generally product warranties will state that the manufacturer will cover the cost of the actual fault but not for any additional costs that might stem from that - so they'll cover the cost of the faulty pipe/washer etc - but the damage done won't be willingly borne by them.

    Depending on how much damage is done you could look at a civil matter - but thats getting into high cost and drawn out stuff - you might want to contact Miele directly and explain your case to them - often good will &/or desire to avoid it being on social media can assist in them going beyond what they're legally required to do. :-)

  • +5

    If your washing machine leaked and it causes damage to the apartment downstairs, i think it should be the landlord problem or strata problem because either the drain is not working or either the built of the floor is not right. So not your problem even if it s your washing machine. Unless you put it in the lounge then it will be yours as the space wasn't design for it.

    • -1

      wow! great news for tenants.. cause some damage to downstairs apartments - but not too worry, too bad so sad. In reality, if the tenant (or Miele) caused the leak to occur - the tenant would be up for some $.

      If the tenant (or Miele who was acting on behalf of the tenant) didn't cause any leak, then it obviously falls back on the landlord's body corp insurance. If the plumber cannot determine who was to blame then it goes on the landlord's insurance.

      • +3

        If the tenant has installed correctly then the tenant would be up for $0.
        Tile floors are not meant to leak.
        Its a body corp issue.

  • +2

    You might be liable if the leak damaged the unit your are renting (e.g. paint, wooden floor, etc.).

    As for the unit downstairs, usually it's body corp's problem. If your landlord has renovated that place before, he should have waterproof cert from the tradie. Otherwise, body corp usually is the one who is responsible to fix it. Unless Sydney has different strata law.

  • +1

    From your neighbour's and landlord's perspective, it's your install, it's your problem.

    From your perspective, you paid for a product and install that's not meant to leak, it's the retailer/installer's problem.

    Both you and your neighbour/LL are correct. The neighbour/LL should and will pursue you for the damage. You need to pay for this and then pursue the retailer/installer for the damage.

    If you are insured, your insurance will sort it out. Since you are not, you're on your own.

    • what kind of insurance does the OP need in this case?

      • Hmmm. Renter's insurance?

      • +1

        Volcano insurance.

    • +3

      If the install was fine and its the building that is defective then its Not the renters problem.

      • agreed.
        but if somehow the tenant/installer messed something up I'm not sure you can then just say it's a body corp issue.
        it might be a body corp issue as to who will be involved in sorting it out - but it doesn't mean that the body corp can't chase those responsible for payment.

        • The neighbour/LL should and will pursue you for the damage. You need to pay for this

          Now if the renter turned on all the taps and flooded downstairs then yes, of course the renter will have to pay. But BEFORE that they don't have to pay.
          If the Body Corp can prove the renter is responsible then they can. But as a general rule, No - The renter does not have to pay for this, until an expert determines the renter is responsible.

          (Body Corps have more than enough funds to cover any initial repairs).

          • +1

            @Other: That quote wasn't me - but doesn't matter.
            I had written above that a plumber needs to determine who was at fault and if no one could be found to be at fault then it falls back on the landlord's insurance (which they pay through the body corp). That is often the case, unless it's clearly obvious - such as tenants blocking their toilet or whatever. A botched install might be more evident as well but we aren't sure what happened.

      • That is true but given what's involved in installing a dishwasher, the probability of a building defect manifesting only after a dishwasher is installed is unlikely.

        The install most likely involved changing cold water isolator to a split and tapping into the S/P bend under the sink for drain.

        These are existing connections and if it didn't flood then, why would it flood now?

        (Lol, for some reason I kept thinking dishwasher but it is a laundry machine. Same applies though.)

        • Its a (clothes) washing machine.

  • -1

    Why would you have no insurance?

    Mate in Sydney had his hot water system die and flooded his joint and damaged the 2 places below him..

    From memory, the bloke directly below him was O/S on holidays came back to a mouldy stinking mess….
    And the little old lady on ground floor Im sure he said she went through her own insurance as she wasnt aware of any problems with his water heater…

    Good news was he was about to sell, got a new kitchen, new floors, and repainted place

    • +2

      A flooded hot water system is a landlords responsibility Not a tenants.

      A tenant would Not need insurance for this.

  • +4

    In my opinion, its a strata/landlord issue caused by faulty waterproofing. This is a wet area I assume, a bathroom/laundry?
    Having a shower and mopping tiles that results in water finding its way to the unit below is the fault of the tenant?
    A wet area, if properly waterproofed, should contain normal amount of water. Water that floods and escapes the wet area is another matter entirely.

    • Having a shower and mopping tiles that results in water finding its way to the unit below is the fault of the tenant?

      I'm assuming the unit isn't brand new. I could be wrong but I'm running with the scenario that it isn't.

      If it isn't brand new, someone has showered, someone has wet the tiles and a washing machine has been there in the past.

      Why would this new machine destroy the waterproofing that's been working this whole time?

      • Building 100 years old. Apartment recently renovated.

  • +5

    I am going to go against the grain here, and say the homeowner is responsible, if the bathroom was waterproofed correctly and didn't fail, then it never would of affected your downstairs neighbor. The excess water would be drained correctly instead.

  • Be sure to update us! :)

    • Will do! Good or bad…

  • +1

    If this was the neighbour above you, how liable do you think they should be. Water dampening your ceiling and dripping on your whatever you got in your apartment.

  • +1

    Miele washer and dryer that was delivered and installed by Miele

    OP, did you pay for the installation?

    • Actually doesn't matter if he paid - the only question is, did the installer install it correctly.
      If they did and their was a defect with the building then its not the renters problem.
      If its a blocked drain then its the landlords problem.

  • +1

    Miele will cover the damages. They have a lifetime guarantee for any leaks, if it's a product fault. As their WPS and WCS shouldn't have any leaks. If they leak due to procure fault, Miele will pay for damages caused by such fault. So you need to find out of its an installation error or a faulty WCS or WPS, if it's the former you would be liable, contact strata to see how they will deal with it. I'd it's the latter Miele will cover all costs incurred.

  • In this type of situation, the owner below would claim on the Body Corp insurance policy, that insurer would then recover the costs of repair from Miele’s insurer.

    Happens a lot with appliances, and is a good reason to always have appliances professionally installed.

  • +1

    I would say no, you are not responsible. A leaking washing machine, assuming it is installed in a wet area, should not cause damage to the apartment below. It should only result in a wet floor.

  • Yes. However I would speak to Miele, they are very customer focussed.

  • Sounds quite likely to be a drainage problem. Wait on the advice from the Miele tech. They are normally pretty careful, and would have queried the install if they saw anything.
    There could easily be problems with the apartments drains that a newer, higher flow device could bring to light. As others mentioned, if tiles let water pass through and there is no floor drain the plumbing/waterproofing may not be to spec.
    You have operated in good faith, and had it properly installed.
    Maybe do some light reading about your state plumbing and tiling requirements to arm yourself.
    If you can use a search function you may find renovate forums very useful, but don’t waste everyone’s time asking legal type questions.

  • Good machines from reputable manufacturers have alarm sensors to notify you of such malfunctions.
    Plus, you do not leave your taps ON when not in use.
    Plus, your "wet area" should include a drainage hole - where is your drain?

    Maybe the washing machine mob are liable… see what their policy states.

  • If the leak is caused as a result of a manufacturing fault then Miele is responsible for everything, fixing the machine and the cost to rectify the damage the manufacturing fault has caused but obviously Miele will try to side step it.

    If the leak is caused due to misuse or incorrect installation then you are responsible.

  • -1

    smh…Why would you not be liable?

    The onus is on you to ensure no damage is done from your end if you have new appliances installed.

    Yes the washer may be faulty and thus cause the damage itself..but you are still liable as you are the "adult" who made the decision. You can bring this up with miele at a later stage but for now.. you are most definitely liable.

    The fact that you are even questioning your liability speaks volumes regarding the growing sense of entitlement & lack of personal responsibility that is so prevalent these days.

  • What happened, OP?

    • See update above!

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