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Alex J.
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 3493
Experience:  Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
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I bought a house under a new build policy in good faith. It

Customer Question

I bought a house under a new build policy in good faith. It has suffered a major leak. Insurers refused to accept the claim unless supported by a surveyors report which they refuse to pay for along with loss of rent. Insurers have accepted a major defect has occured. They refuse the surveyors recommendations (build costs £30K), their technical team instead said they would do £10k work even though this will not guarantee to solve the problem. They accept that if this lesser work fails they will have to pay for further repairs. They are refusing to accept that it is one cause- the surveyor said it was poor build quality but are refusing to accept it is one loss and trying to subdivide it into several smaller causes and apply an excess to each. The insurance contract talks about arbitration but also refers to other available fori. I would like to start proceedings it the small claims court and force insurers to a) do the proper repair, b) pay for the surveyor and lost rent, c) pay one excess. I would like to add the original builder as a respondent. The house has already suffered a major loss ( it wasn't plumbed properly. The builder flushed the loo and it leaked for 2 weeks between exchange and completion ruining walls, ceilings and floors. the insurers were useless then too consistently refering back to the original builder) Their policy seems to be not to answer emails and not to pay claims. I have lost £5k in surveyors fees and lost rent, I need to replace carpets. I am not able to pay £30k for the proper repairs. Here are my questions:
1. Should i sue both the insurers and the builder in the small claims court?
2. Will I be liable for costs if I lose?
3. Can I sue for the cost to do the work or do I have to go for specific performance?
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alex J. replied 6 months ago.
Hi, Thank you for your question and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I will assist you. To answer your questions in turn:(i) Yes you can sue both the builder and insurers - they will be separate causes of action. Given the sum of money this wont be in the small claims court, it may be covered by the county court.(ii) If you lost either claim you would be liable for legal costs incurred - subject to assessment by the court;(iii) Is specific performance a suitable remedy? If they have messed up the work once do you want sub standard builders repairing the problem. I would get the money and get new builders.One point to consider in order to keep cost down, is to pursue the insurance through the Financial Ombudsman Service. The FoS has the power to award compensation for the prejudicial actions of the insurance company and the costs of any complaint are minimal. www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/​I look forward to hearing from you.Kind regardsAJ
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Hi,Why would they be separate causes of action? Wouldn't I sue both the insurers and the builder in the same cause of action with the insurers paying the insured losses and the builder paying the uninsured losses? I don't understand why I would have to sue twice for the same cause of action.
I assume that the ombudsman would apply just to the insurance claim - would they also have jurisdiction over the uninsured losses against the builder?
Thanks Philippa
Expert:  Alex J. replied 6 months ago.
Hi, Thank you. Your claims are factually tied but they are seperate in the sense you (i) suing the insurer for breach of its obligations under the insurance contract - ie properly and fairly administering your claim within a reasonable period (ii) and suing the builder for breach of contract under the conveyance - presumably they provided a warranty or schedule of condition? so it would be an easy breach of contract to prove.The FoS would only deal with a complaint against the insurer. Kind regards AJ

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