It can be expensive - Fugen verdict: That's why tenants should know it

Silicone joints are primarily intended to prevent water from penetrating the masonry. But who is liable if the joints are leaky and this causes water damage?

Building insurance usually covers water damage. However, no rule comes without exceptions: insurance does not actually have to cover all types of water damage, as a ruling by the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) shows (ref.: IV ZR 236/20). For example, if the joints are leaky, the insurance coverage does not apply.

What was the case about?

The case under discussion concerned a silicone joint in the shower. The joint was leaking and resulted in damage amounting to 17,000 euros. The building insurance didn't want to cover the damage. However, the Bamberg Higher Regional Court sentenced the company to do so because, in the court's opinion, this was an insured event. The shower tray should be viewed as part of the water supply facility.

Who has to pay?

The BGH did not follow this ruling: According to the insurance conditions, compensation is only owed in the event that water leaks from the facilities connected to the pipe system. That is not the case in the present case, because a leaky joint led to the damage.

A joint has no connection to the pipe system. According to the clause, such a case is not covered by the insurance. Among other things, damage to pipes or water-carrying parts such as the heating system, but also waterbeds and aquariums, was listed.

To avoid hassle and stress , as well as water damage and mold, tenants should check the condition of the joints in their apartment. If they are leaking, you are entitled to have the “brittle” joints replaced by the landlord (see Section 535 Paragraph 1 Sentence 2 BGB). However, the landlord must be informed of the situation in good time and in writing.

  • Judgment of the Federal Court of Justice