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UKSolicitorJA, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 4312
Experience:  English solicitor with over 12 years experience
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Approximately twenty five years ago my father, at the age of

Customer Question

Approximately twenty five years ago my father, at the age of seventy, built a Potton timber framed house. I remember that their brochure mentioned that all their timber was specially impregnated with preservatives to ensure trouble free maintenance for many years. My father went ahead with the build in the firm belief that he would have a brand new, trouble free home in which he could see out his retirement and indeed the rest of his life.

Potton recommend that the exposed timber on all their houses should be treated with Sadolins. Since new he has had the property decorated with this product every three or four years. The last time it was done in 2010 when the decorator pointed out that some of the frames and sills were deteriating and he carried out some minor repairs, replacing some of the timber on the sills.

Last year we noticed that several of the frames had decomposed so badly that it was not possible to open some of the windows and it was even possible to push a finger through some of the rotted wood.

My father is now 95 years of age and unable to afford the cost of replacing the damaged frames himself. I approached Potton on his behalf and asked if they would be prepared to replace the damaged frames for him.

Potton were completely dismissive and said that in their opinion the timber had failed because it had not been maintained. Their offer was to donate two window sills to be fitted at my fathers cost. I pointed out that there are Victorian properties in the same road, still with the original windows intact, that received less regular maintenance than my father's.

In addition I have recently become aware that the timber frame, erected by Potton themselves on a concrete raft, has moved since it has been necessary to remove two inches from the bottom right hand corner of the back door and add two inches of timber to the top in order to make it close.

I am writing to primarily to ask if my father has any rights under common law, if it is worth pursuing the matter and if so what steps should he take.

Thanking you in anticipation

Michael Leighton
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 3 years ago.

I am afraid I do not see any valid grounds for your father bringing a claim against the company as any action is time barred now being 25 years since when he first purchased the timber.

Unless the company gave a lifetime guarantee, which does not appear to be the case.

under the Sale of Goods Act 1979 as amended, the timber should be fit for purpose, as described and of satisfactory quality.

However, claims may only be brought within 6 years of purchase. In your father's case, it is now 25 years and simply too late.

Sorry if this is not what you wish to hear.