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LondonlawyerJ, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 822
Experience:  Solicitor with over 15 years experience.
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A friend's flat which is part of a new build apartment block

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A friend's flat which is part of a new build apartment block (completed 2012) suffered a rat infestation this week. When pest control investigated today they discovered errors in the construction and connection of the drains which allowed the vermin to access the apartment. A full written report and photographic evidence is available. Much distress, time off work and cost has been incurred correcting the problem. Is there a case for the builders to answer? If so how do we proceed?
Hello, I am a solicitor with 20 years experience I will try to answer this for you.
I need a little more information. Is your friend a tenant or owner of the property. When did he move in and if he is an owner what did his survey at the time say about the drains?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
He is owner / occupier and leaseholder of the flat . He pays a service charge to a management company. He paid for remedial work himself yesterday and the management company have carried out further work today. The issue is ongoing and probably affects all the flats in the block.
This sounds like a builder/architect's negligence situation. If it is a defect in the design or in the building of the flats then it is not really an issue for the management company to be held accountable for. If they do fix it then they will look to the leaseholder's to pay for the work and then the leaseholders will need to look at the builder's in negligence.
So the short answer is that yes it does look like a situation in which the leaseholder's may be able to pursue the builders and/or the architects in negligence.
There are time limits in which these sort of actions must be started, so can you tell me when the building was completed and also when the defects became apparent.
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