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Alice H
Alice H, Solicitor/Partner
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 2850
Experience:  Partner in national law firm
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A person has an uninsured out building on her land and is in

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A person has an uninsured out building on her land and is in a poor state of repair and isn`t occupied. It has been in a poor state of repair for many years and it`s poor condition has been brought to her attention in writing by authorities but the owner has done nothing to maintain the building.

During very high winds several tiles blew off and damaged four cars in a nearby private office car park. She is claiming "an act of god" and refuses their claim.

Your opinion please.

Thank you,

Chris Coulson.
My name isXXXXX and I'm happy to help with your question today. I need to ask you some preliminary questions to be able to help you.

Has there been a problem with her roof in the past?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Not as far as I am aware regarding roof tiles blowing down. The building is in a very poor state of repair and is very old. It has had no maintainance for several years. The building isn`t secure and is open to the elements. The lady has been advised in writing that it`s condition is dangerous.



In a very old case called Nugent v Smith (1876) the Court defined ‘An Act of God’ as: "Natural causes directly and exclusively without human intervention…could not have been prevented by any amount of foresight pains and care reasonably to have been expected”. In simple terms an Act of God can be relied on where a natural cause has resulted in loss or damage and could not have been anticipated.


Where the occupier has taken no steps to keep the property in good order and this has result in tiles coming loose, I think there is a strong argument to say this is not an Act of God. Had the property been maintained there is an argument to say the tiles would not have come loose. I think you should go back to her and say that you reject her defence and wish to pursue your claim. If she has any sense she will negotiate and acceptable settlement otherwise you will have to take the matter to Court.


Can I assist further?



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