I have written this article to help other expatriates avoid a similar incident. We went on a three week holiday in May and when we got back the house we have rented had been flooded. The problem being that a water pipe had burst on the first floor and water had been running for almost a week. Our ayi was told to check in on the house once a week and it was not until she arrived that the water main was turned off. What makes matters worse is that a note had been put on our front door that management had registered excessive use of water but nothing further had been done though nobody answered the door and the water was running 24 hours a day.
We have calculated that approximately 23 cubic meters of water had run into the house destroying floors, wall panels, door frames etc. Concrete has also been partly damaged as it has expanded and cracked in several places. The landlord came over once we were back and he demanded RMB 1.2 million to repair the villa and we declined.
Obviously we had to pay so we hired a lawyer to negotiate. I was told that I would not be able to leave China until all damages had been paid, the landlord had contacted the government and they had blocked my passport so that I couldn't leave China. The settlement with the landlord ended up at RMB 576.000,- that I have to pay myself as the landlord didn't have insurance and my company won't take responsibility.
Remember to switch off your water main and gas when you go on holiday or have someone check in on your house on a daily basis.