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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10915
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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We live in Maidstone and on the immediately adjoining park

Resolved Question:

We live in Maidstone and on the immediately adjoining park land, belonging to Maidstone Borough Council (MBC), there are some very large trees. The branches directly over hang the roof of our house. We previously contacted MBC and advised that branches were falling onto our roof and needed to be trimmed (we have all the call references and dates logged).
MBC dragged their feet for a number of years but finally, after around 4 years, this year came and cut back some branches. However the work was VERY minimal and the branches still directly over hung our roof. We advised MBC at the time that the work was insufficient (we have the call references logged). Approximately three weeks ago one of the large branches finally broke off and crashed down on our roof, very badley damaging several areas of tiles and the flew to our aga cooker. We contacted MBC again and they responded by immediately (later that week) sending tree surgeons to cut back ALL the overhanging branches.
We took photos/video of the damage and of MBC finally cutting back the overhanging trees.
However, to date MBC have refused deal with the damage to our roof. They sent an official out to have a look and I recorded him agreeing that they hadn't cut the branches back sufficiently before and that he'd be prepared to sort something out about the broken tiles. However they STILL have not done anything and have sense complained to me that I recorded the meeting and the MBC official has threatened to complain to his union!!
Bearing in mind this problem has been on-going for around 4 years (which was the only reason for me finally recording a meeting), am I in the right to be claiming for the repairs to our roof. They have recently sent me the name of the councils insurers and told me to talk to them, however the insurance company never comes back to me. MBC say I should claim on my buildings policy... we don't want to do that as the policy would go up and their is an excess of some £250.00... also we feel this damage was a direct result of MBC's failure to address the overhanging trees over the past years.
The roof of the house was fully replaced/re-tiled approximately 10 years ago.
MBC's attitude appears to be very much "We're big, your small go away!"
We are in the process of selling our house, having recently accepted an offer, however the damage to the roof could now jeopardise that sale so we need the repairs carried out urgently.
I was intending taking out a small claim action in the local court once I have a couple of quotes from roofing companies. Any advise would be appreciated.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Alex Watts :

Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.

Alex Watts :

For now please let me know whether any damage has been caused to your property?

Customer:

Yes! Please read our question.... "...roof very badley damaging several areas of tiles and the flue to our aga cooker."

Alex Watts :

Forgive me yes.

Alex Watts :

Have you made a formal written complaint to the Council?

Alex Watts :

I mean a complaint that has been investigated by the Chief Officer Department of the Council?

Alex Watts :

Or do you just want to claim the cost of repairs etc back? If so, how much are you seeking?

Customer:

I'm sorry and don't mean to be rude but could you please read my question... I have already said that we have been emailing and have all the references to the calls and have all the copy emails. Also an office has been to see us and I recorded the meeting (pleas see my question). Thee cost of repairs is likely to be under£1000

Alex Watts :

Yes I have read that you had an ongoing problem, they did minimal work and a branch fell 3 weeks ago. The Council have refused to deal with the claim. That is why I need to be clear, you want to sue and claim for the repair?

Customer:

In my question to you I said: "I was intending taking out a small claim action in the local court once I have a couple of quotes from roofing companies. Any advise would be appreciated." So yes, I am thinking out a small claim action in the local court for the repairs.

Alex Watts :

Well you have a number of quotes, this is your loss. You need to pick the cheapest one as the Court will expect you to mitigate your loss

Alex Watts :

You need to write and set out your losses and request a payment for the damage within 14 days or say you will go to Court within 14 days. You should make sure you send this signed delivery and keep a copy.

Alex Watts :

If they do not pay you then you can issue proceedings in the County Court. You can either do this online at: www.moneyclaim.gov.uk or by completing form N1 http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/n001-eng.pdf and take it to your local County Court.

Alex Watts :

The Court will then issue a claim which a copy will be sent to the Defendant who will have a limited time to defend it, if not you can enter Judgment and enforce.

Alex Watts :

If the matter is defended it will be set down for a trial. If the claim is for £10,000 or less it will be a small claim and you will not need representation.

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer:

Yes... was I wrong to record the MBC official when he called to see the damage? Can I use that recording or a transcript of it in court?

Alex Watts :

If the MBC official knew that it was being recorded then yes, you can use it

Customer:

He didn't at the time but I told him at the end of the meeting and he then carried on talking. He complained that I'd recorded him but accepted (on tape) that they should have cut the trees back before and that he'd said he'd get the tiles replaced. So could I use that part of the recording (when he knew he was still being recorded)?

Alex Watts :

Then you could adduce the evidence but you will probably need permission from the Court.

Alex Watts :

You can ask for this if the claim is defended and the matter is set down for hearing

Customer:

Okay, thanks

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer:

No that's fine, thanks.

Alex Watts :

Can I help with anything else today?

Customer:

Not unless you would like to read one of my legal thrillers! My name is***** http://www.amazon.co.uk/Chequered-Justice-Unabridged/dp/B00LPS7PAO/ref=tmm_aud_title_0 Thanks for the help today!

Alex Watts :

Ok - I will take a look

Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10915
Experience: Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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