Downstairs neighbor suspected a leak in their bathroom and opened up their ceiling to see where the water is coming from. It would appear that a small leak is coming from below my bathtub, this was not known or visible to me otherwise. There is no water leak or damage upstairs, issue seems to be in the piping between 2 floors.

Of course I will fix the leak problem. But the neighbor is also asking me to replace their ceiling that they opened up without my knowledge. The neighbor is also insisting on doing repair work themselves and just having me pay for it which I am not comfortable with.

Am I responsible for fixing the neighbor's ceiling that they demolished themselves even though the leak came from my apartment? (the question is only about the ceiling damage that neighbor himself caused)

Additional details requested from comments:

  • this is in US / Florida
  • I am a tenant
  • Building is a condo with many units
  • Is this a condominium or cooperative building? If yes, what do your condo documents define as common elements? (a water supply pipe or drain pipe may very well be a common element, possibly even the neighbor's drywall)
    – user662852
    Mar 30, 2021 at 21:48
  • Thank to all for commenting, just added additional details that were requested to the post.
    – AlexVPerl
    Mar 30, 2021 at 22:26

1 Answer 1


The person responsible for the leak pays

This is a general principle that if your stuff causes harm, you are responsible for it as well of the costs of doing what’s necessary to stop it.

This might or might not be you.

Assuming the water is normal “splash” that is making its way into the unit below then it will be the person who is responsible for maintaining the waterproofing in your bathroom - that might be you or it might be the common property owner, you would need to check your by-laws.

Of course, this assumes your building is new enough to have waterproofing - older buildings just relied on the tiling. If so, this is almost certainly your responsibility.

If instead, it’s a leak from a pipe or fixture, then the owner of that is responsible. That could be you or the building owner or even your downstairs neighbour. Again, check your by-laws.


The OP has indicated they are a tenant, not the owner.

In this case, it’s nothing to do with you unless your lease says you are responsible for building maintenance or you have been negligent. Residential leases almost never do the former and, unless you did something stupid, like allowing the bath to overflow or having water balloon fights, you probably haven’t been negligent.

Refer the matter to your landlord and ask your neighbour to direct all future correspondence to them.

  • What about reasonableness of repairs required? Ie can the affected person reasonably expect a full bathroom remodel because they ripped it all out to find the leak, or are the upstairs owners allowed to only pay for reasonable repairs and damage they actually caused?
    – user28517
    Mar 30, 2021 at 23:07

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