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Remus2004
Remus2004, Barrister
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 70695
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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can I please ask who is responsible for repairs to a party

Customer Question

can I please ask who is responsible for repairs to a party chimney repair between a semi-detached property? A part of our common chimney recently fell onto our side of the property and damaged tiles and allowed water ingress. Our neighbours ( a collection of five flats) have refused to pay for the damage saying that the responsibility is ours as the damage is on our property. Part of the chimney needs to be built back up and the coping stone replaced as well as repairs to the tiles.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Remus2004 replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

Just to clarify, are your neighbours refusing to contribute to the cost of getting the chimney repaired?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jo, did you get my response? The website ?seemed to crash so I am sending the response again. Apologise if you are being bombarded!!


 


Hi Jo, yes they feel that as the chimney coping stone fell onto our side of the semi detached property the responsibility is therefore ours to pay all the damage. The property is a Victorian semi and my family and I live on one side with the other side being split into 5 apartments with various owners and tenants. I think it is administered by a common agent? I accept that the redecorating costs should fall to us to pay but I would have thought that the chimney should be jointly administered (like a common garden wall perhaps?). I don't know about the re-tiling on our side of the roof? The insurance company. who we have made a claim through, have said that they will pay for the redecorating but only half the amount for the chimney repairs (total about £3,000+ including the re-tiling)as they feel half the costs should be met by the neighbours, I have yet to hear from them formally in writing but this was the feedback from the insurance assessor. I don't know how we stand with this, as I am being told by neighbours that the responsibility is ours and being told that it is joint responsibility by the insurance company. Either way we stand to lose out. If you feel it is joint responsibility, I can at least go back to the neighbours and say that I have this from a legal source. Thank you for your kind attention to this matter, John

Expert:  Remus2004 replied 3 years ago.
Yes, its been doing that all morning!

The situation with chimney stacks is exactly the same as any other property.

You are responsible for the part which is within your curtilage and they are responsible for the part within their curtilage.

If the chimney stack needs rebuilding, it is impossible to rebuild half and the cost then becomes joint.

If it needs to be done and one neighbour refuses to contribute, then it becomes a matter for the court.

In your case therefore it depends on exactly what needs doing. If the work needs doing on your side, then you are responsible.

If the work needs doing and also involves work on their side, you are jointly responsible in proportion.

If the latter is the case and they refuse to pay, you will have no other option than to get the work done and to sue them for the costs.

If you are doing work on their half of the chimney stack, you need consent from them to do that work on their property and if it is essential to the maintenance of your property, that is also a court matter.

If you need access to their property to do the work on yours, you are entitled to that under the Access to Neighbouring Land Act and if they will not give it, the court will grant you injunction for any access required to "preserve" your property

Can I clarify anything for you?

Jo
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jo,


 


That's fine and I appreciate the advice. I have some photos taken by the roofer and it does look like the work is on our side essentially. Although their side appears to be bulging and will need to be re-pointed the damaged side is ours.


 


What happens now with getting the insurance company to pay for the full cost of the repair work on our side as they are 'seemingly' only going to pay half the cost as they feel the repair is joint responsibility?


 


Thank you again, John

Expert:  Remus2004 replied 3 years ago.
You are lucky that the insurance company will pay anything at all because they will normally only pay for storm damage and not anything required as a result of wear and tear.

If, based upon the information that I have given you, the next door landlord is responsible for some of the costs and if he will not pay, then, if the amount he is liable for is under £10,000, you will have to pay the balance of the bill to the builder that does the work, and sue the landlord of the next-door property in the Small Claims Court.

Here is a link to the Small Claims Court process www.moneyclaim.gov.uk
Remus2004 and other Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jo,

 

Thank you again for the reply and your help.

 

The coping stone that damaged the roof did come off in a storm in October as we had suddenly developed a serious problem with water ingress during the storm. It was the next day (or day after that) that a neighbour noticed the chimney had started to collapse.

 

I guess after what has been said by you, the neighbours are right as the damage is on our side, but what I wasn't sure about was whether the insurance company should pay the full cost that being the case?

Expert:  Remus2004 replied 3 years ago.

Just because it came off on a storm does not necessarily mean that it is storm damage. The reason is that coping stones do not normally come off unless they are not securely in place. There is then an allegation of failure to maintain the roof. As the insurance have agreed to pay up your half at least, obviously this is not an issue.

If there is damage to both sides, and your insurance company is paying for your side, and they do not want to pay for their side, they should refer it to their insurance company.

Thank you for the positive rating and remember that I am always available to help with your questions. For future information, please start your question with ‘FOR JO C’

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Dear Jo,


 


I will go back to the insurance company and see what they say. I suspect no joy here as they have offered half although all the damage does appear to be on our side. I will mention what you have said about it being our responsibility as the damage is on our side anyway and see what comes about from that.


 


Thank you for sorting this matter out for me and I appreciate the time you have taken over this.


 


Best wishes, John


 

Expert:  Remus2004 replied 3 years ago.
No problem and all the best.

Remember that I am always available to help with your questions. Even if I am in Court I will usually pick up a question within 12 hours. For future information, please start your question with ‘For Jo C’