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I live in a pre-war building with plaster-covered masonry walls. My upstairs neighbor has a tendency to flood my kitchen. After the latest incident, I figured that since I had to take the upper cabinets down anyway then I might as well renovate. I want to minimize the damage my neighbor can do in the future. I'm thinking of cement board screwed into the masonry over the plaster, and then tile on top of the board. Is this a good idea or are there better options?

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    Think getting a lawyer would help more unless the neighbour is paying full cost each time. You could only try to seal water coming into the living space, but what about the supporting structures between the two floors from rotting, growing mold.
    – crip659
    Sep 3, 2022 at 20:48
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    Build a swimming pool to keep the water at his floor level - it is his water after all. Seem to remember a stated case about this type of thing : Rylands V Fletcher…
    – Solar Mike
    Sep 3, 2022 at 20:51
  • Tendency to flood your apartment requires more info. Does he start to fill a sink/tub and then go out for a beer or does his pipes burst when he is out at work. Most building materials can do weird or get nasty things if getting wet and not being dried out soon after.
    – crip659
    Sep 3, 2022 at 21:32
  • @crip659 I haven't been told what he did this time, but I've had him leave the sink running before so I assume he did that again. The co-op waits for the water to dry and fixes visible damage to the plaster, and I assume they bill him for that. But they don't go looking for damage behind cabinets, inside walls, etc. I'm personally not entirely happy with that level of response to water, but I don't know what I'm actually legally entitled to. I'm more comfortable with engineering than with law, but maybe you're right and this doesn't call for an engineering solution.
    – A_K
    Sep 3, 2022 at 21:39
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    Water has a bad habit of getting into stuff we can't see and where it can get nasty. You are probably lucky and the water only went where stuff could be replaced/repaired. It is also possible it got into stuff and might become a health or structural issue. Rental/apartment insurance or health department/building inspection, might be handy to get stuff checked out if co-op does not. Unfortunately the internet can only give opinions, will need a hands on look see for proper advice.
    – crip659
    Sep 3, 2022 at 22:10

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This is serious. If you don't think water can do damage, look into the fate of Champlain Towers South.

I know you just want to live your life and don't want to deal with it, but if so, this could deal with you.

You do need an engineering solution, but it's a structural engineer to make sure the Right Thing happens, and then, a lawyer to make sure the right person pays for it.

By the way, in the United States we have sinks with "emergency drains", a port on the side of the sink near the top that routes down the drain. That would solve their problem without making it your problem. A lawyer might help you compel the person to get one of those, if they are incorrigible about leaving faucets on.

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Best answer you have gotten is to hire a lawyer. Any other fix can just be a band aid over a serious structural issue.

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Check with your insurance company and see if you are covered for damage. If so follow their recommendations. There are probably several remediation companies in your area, contact one and get an estimate, let them know what your concerns are. They can also do a mold analysis for you, which I would recommend. Your insurance company may also recommend one. The fact that it got wet there is damage that you cannot see.

Have the remediation company also quote your remodeling, it may be a good price. They may instead recommend another source.

Your neighbor regardless if it were an accident or not should be liable for the damages to not only the building but your personal possessions and the restoration of them to before loss condition. If you lost use of part of your domicile you may be entitled for some reimbursement.

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