Hello my name is Alex and I will help you with this. Please note that I am a working Solicitor and may be on and offline as I have to attend Court and meet with clients, even at weekends. As such you may not get an instant response when you reply as this is not an ‘on demand’ live service, but rest assured I will be giving your question my immediate attention upon return.
Have they seen the expert report saying the cost of repairs are £5000?
On what basis did they offer a substantially lower offer please?
I see you are offline so I will make certain assumptions and if you need to know anything further you can ask me when you come back online
As you have an expert report then you have an idea of the cost of damage and to rectify it. With that in mind you should get a number of quotations from local contractors to put the work right. If you get say 3 or 4 then you would pick the lowest one and this would be the claim. At that point you would be able to write to the owners and say that unless they make payment within a reasonable time, such as 14 days you will seek to issue proceedings.
If they do not respond or refuse then you are entitled then to issue proceedings. Please remember to send this letter recorded delivery and keep a copy in case it is needed. You can then issue proceedings either online at: www.moneyclaim.gov.uk or by completing form N1 http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/n001-eng.pdf and taking it to your local County Court who will then issue a claim. This will be sent to the owner and they will have a limited opportunity to defend the claim, if they do not then you can enter Judgment.
If a defence is filed then the matter will be set down for a hearing and a Judge will decide who wins. As you have previously obtained an expert report you will need to ask the Court permission to rely on this as it is strong evidence in your favour.
It has really helped that you have this report already as it is compelling evidence; Bearing in mind the value of £5000 this would be a small claim as the limit is £10,000 and you would be able to deal with this yourself without necessarily needing a Solicitor.
Can I clarify anything further for you please?