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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71153
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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We have recently had a extension built and agreed to

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We have recently had a extension built and agreed to let the contractor have keys to the house as it was a empty property, the only exception was the garage was not empty and had our son's motor bike in it, he was working away at the time.
The contractor said they needed to use the garage for storage so we reluctantly agreed to let them have the key but made them aware of our son's bike. The house is on a cul de sac, so very little passing traffic, the garage is at the very back of the house at the end of the drive, the motor bike was at the back of the garage covered up and chained to a gas bottle, there were old kitchen units in front of the bike so it was not visible from the street
The bike was stolen, no builders tools were taken and there were no obvious signs of a break in, the police were notified at the time. We found out that our house keys were being left on site under a bag of builders materials, we never agreed to this at any point and never would have. The contractor is saying that there is no evidence that his employees have taken the bike and is not prepared to take responsibility, Our insurance will not pay out as there are no signs of a break in.
We later found out that the crash helmet from under the stairs in the house had also been taken, again no builders tool were taken, as the garage is not integrated, the person who stole the bike had access to the house as well. there were only 2 keys to the property, one that we have and one that the builder had. The main contractor employed sub contractor so we were not aware ourselves who was coming to the site but surely the builder has a duty of care to look after our property and belonging?
As mentioned, the police were informed and have said that as there are no obvious signs of a break in and due to the amount of contractors on site, there is no obvious lead, they suggested taking civil proceedings. Do we legally have a case to take this further and try to claim back the cost of the bike?
Mick Boycott
Sorry if I am missing the point but what is the basis for the civil action?Are you hoping to argue they stole the bike?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
somebody who was on site knew that the bike was at the back of the garage .the key was being left and there was no sign of brake in
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
do they not have a duty of care to the security of the propery
Yes, I understand why you may well think that and you may be right. But to sue you have to prove it.The mere fact that they have keys is not sufficient. There are others who could be responsible.if they are responsible then you could argue that they are in duty to of their to keep this property safe.Can I clarify anything for you?Jo
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The contractor has since admitted that it is normal practice to leave keys at empty properties. we were never asked our permission for this to happen. We are the only other people with a key so if it was not us then it has to be one of the workmen on site. Also the helmet was taken from under the stairs inside the house. A key would of been needed to gain access to the house. We understand that we cannot point the finger at one individual but has the main contractor not to take responsibility for the security on site by not leaving a key under a bag of builders material ?The
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Do we have to prove that one of the workmen took the bike or prove that they had no respect for the security of a clients property?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
so are you saying that we dont have any chance of suing for damages and the cost of the bike
Not unless you can prove that they are responsible. You could try to argue that they were negligent in leaving the keys but then there is an argument that the actions of the third party broke the chain of causation.
There isn't a claim per se in leaving the property insecure.
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