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Neighbour Blames My Builder for Damage

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 9 Oct 2019 | 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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Kat - 28-Mar-19 @ 2:39 PM
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Kat - 28-Mar-19 @ 2:39 PM
karan - Your Question:
My neighbour has damaged the gutter of my property, because of this damage rain water directly pouring to the wall and damaged the wall,also water coming to one of my bed room through the window. Where can find assistance regarding this issue please?

Our Response:
Talk to your neighbour? Are they aware they have caused the damage? Will their insurance pay? If you can't resolve this between you, you may have claim damages via the courts.
ProblemNeighbours - 30-May-18 @ 11:59 AM
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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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pete - 4-Jul-12 @ 10:01 PM
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