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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 47351
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Moped/Motorcycle damaged by masonry

Resolved Question:

My moped/motorcycle was damaged by a falling piece of masonry from a building that I was parked in front of, directly joined to my building, during a stormy night in October 2014 in the Gloucestershire area.

The moped was written off, prior to this I was informed that they would hold the building owner at fault and my policy would be void once settled, with no cancellation fee. I had attempted to contact the owner of the building through my letting agency and directly once I had received their email address, but received no response.

I contacted my insurance company to update them on this and they sent a letter to the owner of the building but have got no response.

The insurance company is now holding me to the remaining balance on the policy, £400~.

The owner of the building only responded after I sent a letter of demand to their address and proceeded to state that because it was "an Act of God", that it was not their responsibility.

I talked to some of the other tenants in my building who stated that this wasn't the first time that masonry had fallen from the roof of the building next door.

I'm unsure where I stand on this as I've had to outlay to get a new vehicle and since I was told that the insurance policy would be cancelled, I got a new one.

I'm about £800 out of pocket now due to this issue and I have no idea what I can do legally. Can I take the owner to court and do I have a case?

Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Ben Jones :

It is potentially possible to hold the owner of the building responsible but only if you can shoe that they had acted in a negligent manner. Whilst the storm itself is an act of God, what matters is whether the owner knew that the condition of the building was such that in a storm it was likely to be affected and damaged so that its structure could then cause further damage. Let’s say someone knows that the tiles on their roof are loose and that in previous storms they have blown off. If the owner knew of this and took no steps to try and repair the tiles or secure them and then a new storm blows them off again and causes damage then they could be held responsible. So it is possible that the owner could be held responsible but you would need to prove that they were aware of the state of the roof and had not taken reasonable steps to try and deal with it.

As the costs you are after are only £800 if you decided to take the matter further then t would go to the small claims court. This is a relatively risk-free route of pursuing this as it is designed for small claims by unrepresented parties and even if you lose you would not be responsible for the other party’s legal costs. You would have to pay the claim and hearing fees, which will be a few hundred, but these should be the only major expenses. You may find that once the claim is issued the owner changes his stance and decides to negotiate with you. I would suggest sending him one final letter/email advising that court is the next step and giving him 10 days to cooperate before you go down that route.

I hope this clarifies your position? If you could please quickly let me know that would be great, as it is important for us to keep track of customer satisfaction. Thank you

Ben Jones :

Hello, I see you have accessed and read my answer to your query. Please let me know if this has answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this? I just need to know whether you need further help or if I can close the question? Thank you

Customer:

Hi Ben,

Customer:

Yes, that makes sense. I'll have to speak with a few of the tenants and try to get a copy of the building maintenance records from the landlord themselves - However, I'm worried that they may not provide those documents or could forge them if I do ask. How can I prevent this but still find out an accurate picture of the condition of the building prior to the storm?

Ben Jones :

Hi, I am afraid you cannot force them to disclose these documents to you at this stage. You do not have the legal power to do so. If you were t make a claim against them however then they would be expected to disclose these as part of the claims process as each party has a duty to provide any relevant documents that exist in relation to the claim. So unless you decide to claim you may not be able to get these from them. There is nothing stopping you from asking them to disclose them but if they refuse then that is when you will only be able to get them disclosed if you were to make a claim.

Hope this answers your follow up query?

Customer:

Yes, that's a good insight, thank you!

Ben Jones :

you are welcome, all the best

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