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Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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I employed a roofer to replace a flat roof on my

Customer Question

Hello, I employed a roofer to replace a flat roof on my kitchen in August last year, local roofer, good reputation, evidenced his work, insured etc. Half way through the job he became ill (subsequently died) and left my roof exposed to the elements. He sub-contracted to another roofer who took the job on. This roofer, also insured, is 'believed' to have set fire to my neighbours property. Fire Report is not 100% conclusive but Letter of Claim from neighbours insurance says on 'balance of probabilities' he was at fault. Fire caused damage to my house as well. My insurers are paying for damage to my house but neighbours are suiting me for upwards of £300k for their damage citing Balfour v Barty King and Ryland v Fletcher. My insurers are now telling me they will not handle this claim under my Building Insurance as it falls under Occupiers Liability insurance which should be covered under my contents insurance. Unfortunately, I had no contents insurance in place at the time. (Since been rectified). Everyone seems to be suing the sub-contractors insurers so is this the route I need to go down. I'm obviously horrified at the thought I'm being held responsible for a sub-contractor who I had no decision on appointing and what this could mean to me. My insurers (ESURE) have a clause under my Buildings Policy which states "Your liability as the owner of your home £2,000,000" which I believed would cover me. Any advice would be much appreciated. Thank you.

Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you.
What is it you would like to know please?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi, I am trying to understand where I stand on this issue. Is it correct that I am responsible for the fire damage because I engaged the contractor? I am unsure as to why I have received the letter of claim and threat of legal action and not the contractor. I'm also unsure why I am not covered under the insurance for the buildings and am being told this falls under the contents insurance 'Occupiers Liability' insurance which as explained above I didn't have in place.

Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
What do your terms say about Occupiers Liability?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I understand that the Buildings insurance (liability section) covers mefor Property Owners Liability - for instance a slate falls from your property and injures someone.

Contents insurance (liability section) covers me for negligent acts or omissions I commit as the occupier of the property. This bit would include escape of fire etc.

The claim against me from my neighbours and their insurer is stating the fire was caused by the roofers breaches of duty to take reasonable steps to avoid causing damage and that I owe the Claimants a non delegable duty of care in negligence to see that the works were carried out with reasonable care and skill. Quoting Balfour v Barty King as I mentioned above.

Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
That case is slightly different as it involved a fire which was started deliberate. That does not apply here I assume. In any event you would counter sue the roofer and would not end up being liable.
This is because it was not your fault, if it was not your fault then you can't be held liable. At worst you would counter sue.
Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.

I am just following up to see if there is anything else I can help with?

If this answers your question might I ask you to rate my answer before you go today please, the button should be at the bottom of the screen.

If you need more help please click reply.