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Neighbour Blames My Builder for Damage

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 29 Dec 2016 | comments*Discuss
 
Neighbour Dispute Roofing Tiles

Q.Approximately 18 months ago my roof was re-tiled. Today, my neighbour knocked on my door to state that he has a leaking roof and this is because he has some broken tiles, and is blaming my builder for doing this.

My builder stated he didn't go on the neighbours' roof at all. The neighbour is saying that we must pay for the damage. I feel we have done nothing wrong. What should be our course of action?

(K N, 11 September 2008)

A.

Given that your builder denies even going onto your neighbour’s roof in the first place, the onus here is on your neighbour. He must be able to able to prove that your builder was the cause of his current roofing problems.

Broken tiles are often caused by bad weather - in particular, strong winds, hail or even heavy rain - or it might simply be a case that your neighbour’s tiles are quite old and that they’ve cracked under the strain caused by inclement weather over the years. On the other hand, your builder’s denials may just be a cover up. You are unfortunately stuck in the middle when deciding who to believe.

Who is to Blame?

However, the only way to have the matter resolved would be for you to suggest to your neighbour that they hire a buildings or roof surveyor to come out and inspect the damage. A professional eye would be able to tell whether or not the broken tiles could possibly have come about as the result of your builder’s activities, if it was more likely to be down to weather damage, or the fact that the tiles were old and needing replacing anyway.

Paying for these Checks

Your neighbour would be able to claim on his household insurance for the costs of this survey to be carried out. Should the surveyor’s findings prove that your builder was negligent then you have a couple of options. You can then either agree to pay for the damage to your neighbour's roof, or you can hire your own surveyor for a second opinion.

In cases where two surveyors may have different opinions, then you could either agree to split the costs of repairing the damage with your neighbour, or make a decision to jointly agree to appoint a third and final surveyor and to stand by their findings.

However, it should be re-emphasised that from the information you’ve supplied here, there is no evidence that you or your builder have been guilty of any wrong doing, so it really is up to your neighbour to prove otherwise.

Going to Court

Your neighbour could decide to take you to court, which should always be a last resort as it can be a very costly affair for both parties. Basically, it all very much depends on how you feel towards your neighbour. If the damage is relatively minimal, you might think it’s easier to suggest splitting the costs of the repairs, as a small financial outlay might mean less hassle all round and will help you to maintain good relations with your neighbour. However, until your neighbour proves any differently, you are under no obligation to pay for anything.

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snowy - 24-Mar-16 @ 1:14 PM
Boobuloo - Your Question:
Hello, we live in a ground floor maisonette and our neighbour is having building work done on their upstairs maisonette. This has involved attaching new gas pipes and water pipes to the outside of our property (in order to reach theirs.) in doing this they have drilled holes to attach brackets into "our" walls. They did not inform us that this work was going to be happening and I was just wondering if this was alright for them to do this? I wasn't sure whether we should have been issued with a party wall agreement or at least be notified, as it changes the appearance of the front of our property and could affect the rendering on the outside of the house. Thank you

Our Response:
A party wall notice should usually be given ifthe work might have any possible structural consequences (e.g strength & support) for the party wall. If you're happy with the brackets being there and the neighbours agree to repair any additional damage, then you can usually resolve this between you.
ProblemNeighbours - 1-Sep-15 @ 11:19 AM
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Boobuloo - 31-Aug-15 @ 3:23 PM
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leaking window - 24-Jun-15 @ 8:46 PM
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Harvey - 5-Oct-14 @ 1:16 PM
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Worried pensioner - 10-Sep-14 @ 6:42 PM
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mary - 24-May-14 @ 2:15 PM
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scooby - 25-Jan-14 @ 5:17 PM
I had my roof retiled two and a half years ago by a local registered roofer , my neighbour has just sent me a letter claiming that there is a hole near the adjoining chimney that is allowing water to penetrate his internal walls , he claimed he had experts to verify this even though I was not given any of his experts written findings , his roof tiles are old and uneven in places . I have told him to contact the roofer who carried out the work on my roof who is liable?
longun1966 - 2-Oct-13 @ 8:16 PM
Our neighbour employed a contractor to replace his tiled roof.We have a one storey extension with a flat, felted roof.The neighbours contractor came onto our flat roof and broke some of our tiles on a lower roof and then concreted a hip, completely on our side of the boundary, directly onto the felted roof.When we realised what he had done, we asked the contractor to remove the hip from our roof and replace the tiles he had broken.The contractor refused to do either.He said it would cost him money to do what we requested.We have been in touch with the Guild of Master Craftsmen but who is responsible for the damage?Is it our neighbour or the contractor? We asked an independent roofer for a survery and he said that what the neighbours contractor had done was wrong and would cause us problems in the future when we tried to maintain our flat roof or even when we replaced the tiles that the neighbours contractors had broken.
Kitkat - 19-Jun-13 @ 12:20 PM
My neighbour who has caused us a lot of problems in the past (late night parties ,reversing van up grassed area of the walk etc,issuing threats to us when we reported him for this) has built a monstrosity in his back garden right up against the fence that seperates our garden and his, its on a angle that when it rains it will flood into our back garden as he has a corrugated iron roof , i am really worried about this as there doesn't appear to be any drainage,guttering etc , (he could of built it the other way and affected noone ) what can i do its about 20ft x 7ft . I know if i mention this he will yet again either go for me or attack me again but our property foundations might get affected ....
saviour1263 - 26-May-13 @ 7:57 PM
A couple of months ago we had a new glass room fitted to our sun room, the glass has a self cleaning coating. Our neighbour's employed a company that put a weather proof coating on their roof, the process involved pressure washing their roof which coated our glass roof with debris including grit and cement particles. This debris is ingrained on the glass and even with the heavy rain recently has not come off. Our roof came with a 10 year warranty which the company who installed it would not guarantee if the coating is damaged by trying to clean the grit off it. We have been in dialogue with the company who were employed to put the coating on (they sub-contracted the work to another company)the roof and currently they are not prepared to replace the roof. They have had a number of cleaning companies visit and meet with the glass installation company rep and they all refuse to give a guarantee ifthe cleaning does not work. We are now at an impasse and are getting very frustrated, legally do we continue to deal with company who our neighbour employed, the sub-contractor or our neighbour direct - who is liable for the damage?
pete - 4-Jul-12 @ 10:01 PM
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