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Jamie-Law
Jamie-Law, Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  Solicitor
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The repairer found that the entire caravan had problems with

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The repairer found that the entire caravan had problems with roof leaks due to issues with the ridge tiles and new internal ceiling boards had to be fitted and the roof sealed to prevent further water ingress. The Insurance Company paid over £3200 for the repairs.
In May of this year we noticed that the skylight in the ceiling of the shower cubicle appeared to have dropped preventing the shower door from opening. We had to gently push up the ceiling to allow the door to open and close. This week with the torrential rain in this part of England, water started to drip from the skylight in the shower cubicle into the bath. The repairer is coming to see the caravan next week to assess the damage.
We have looked online and found that Atlas caravans of this era (2002/2003) some have had problems with their roofs. It was at this point that caravan manufacturers started to fit pitched roofs instead of rounded roofs. We have discovered that Atlas were fitting their roofs in a manner to allow water ingress into the roof space on pitched roofs and then into the caravan itself. Apparently it was a known fact and we were subsequently told that when the problems arose, Atlas informed caravan dealers that they were going to repair caravan roofs already on parks to stop this happening in future. We believe a letter was sent to all dealers asking for known locations of the caravans so they could effect the repairs. No-one at our park is aware of this letter neither the park owner nor the caravan owner who purchased it new. Therefore no repair by Atlas Caravans have ever been carried out. According to one ex-employee of Atlas, it cost so much to repair the caravans all over the country, this contributed to Atlas Caravans closing down about 2009.
If we claim on the insurance again, they may reject the claim as the roof was supposed to be repaired in 2010. Unfortunately since then the repairer who carried out the work has died so there can be no comeback there. We may be landed with an extremely expensive repair bill.
Given that the original repair was not completed by Atlas Caravans at the time and we were not made aware of the fact that these caravans had a roof not suitable for purpose, would we have any claims on either the dealer who sold the van to the park in 2004 or the site owner who sold it to us in 2008?
Assistant: Where are you located? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: I live in South Tyneside and the caravan is in County Durham
Assistant: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: Reported to whom
Assistant: Anything else you want the solicitor to know before I connect you?
Customer: No legal advice taken before on this matter

Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.

What is it you want to know about this today please?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The repairer found that the entire caravan had problems with roof leaks due to issues with the ridge tiles and new internal ceiling boards had to be fitted and the roof sealed to prevent further water ingress. The Insurance Company paid over £3200 for the repairs.
In May of this year we noticed that the skylight in the ceiling of the shower cubicle appeared to have dropped preventing the shower door from opening. We had to gently push up the ceiling to allow the door to open and close. This week with the torrential rain in this part of England, water started to drip from the skylight in the shower cubicle into the bath. The repairer is coming to see the caravan next week to assess the damage.
We have looked online and found that Atlas caravans of this era (2002/2003) some have had problems with their roofs. It was at this point that caravan manufacturers started to fit pitched roofs instead of rounded roofs. We have discovered that Atlas were fitting their roofs in a manner to allow water ingress into the roof space on pitched roofs and then into the caravan itself. Apparently it was a known fact and we were subsequently told that when the problems arose, Atlas informed caravan dealers that they were going to repair caravan roofs already on parks to stop this happening in future. We believe a letter was sent to all dealers asking for known locations of the caravans so they could effect the repairs. No-one at our park is aware of this letter neither the park owner nor the caravan owner who purchased it new. Therefore no repair by Atlas Caravans have ever been carried out. According to one ex-employee of Atlas, it cost so much to repair the caravans all over the country, this contributed to Atlas Caravans closing down about 2009.
If we claim on the insurance again, they may reject the claim as the roof was supposed to be repaired in 2010. Unfortunately since then the repairer who carried out the work has died so there can be no comeback there. We may be landed with an extremely expensive repair bill.
Given that the original repair was not completed by Atlas Caravans at the time and we were not made aware of the fact that these caravans had a roof not suitable for purpose, would we have any claims on either the dealer who sold the van to the park in 2004 or the site owner who sold it to us in 2008?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
We purchased a 2003 Atlas Diamond pitched roof caravan in April 2008 for £20,000. It is a 2003 model but only came on site in 2004. The new for old insurance cover at purchase was for £28,000 plus £1,000 for contents.
In March 2010, we received a letter from the site owner stating that the winter had been very bad with heavy snow and at least one caravan had its roof collapse and we should check the state of our caravans a.s.a.p.
We found damage and stains on the ceiling in the kitchen with water stains also on the walls.

But you didnt have it repaired? Did you claim on your insurance that you did?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The repair in 2010 was paid by the insurance company but the repairer has since died so no guarantee on the work. It appears to be leaking again and we will know to what extent next week. My question is:- If the insurance company assume that the roof was repaired satisfactorily in 2010, they may not pay out again. What are our rights in this situation?

Ok - but the work was done?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The work was done in 2010.

Ok - why do you think the insurers will turn it down?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Because Atlas Caravans 2002/2003 when this caravan was made were having problems with poorly designed roofs. When the insurance company paid for the repair in 2010 after many months of discussions with a loss adjuster, they said that this repair should solve the problem with the roof. It obviously has not and we are concerned they would not pay again.

Ok, but you didnt know it would resolve the problem? Have they specifically excluded it now?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
They have not specifically excluded it from subsequent insurance documents, quotations or certificates. At the time of the claim in 2010 when the loss adjuster accepted the claim, he said that this would solve the problem with the leaking roof.

Ok, then it cant be excluded now. If you had the work done and it has not been excluded from insurance then there is nothing to stop you making a new claim.

If they refuse then you can take it to the Financial Ombudsman.

But as it stands unless they exclude it, then they cant refuse to pay out.

Its not your fault that the caravan is still defective.

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Jamie-Law and 3 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you Jamie. That is the clarification we needed before we made a claim. Thanks once again for that invaluable advice.