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Remus2004, Barrister
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 71159
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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We have a property in Shaldon, Devon, that we let out. The

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We have a property in Shaldon, Devon, that we let out. The tenant has insisted that we put netting over the dormer windows and roof as he is worried a seagull might swoop down to the small garden and attack his little child. The agent says we would be liable if we don't do something but unless they are in the garden and see where the seagull comes from it could fly from any roof around the area.
Can you advise us of how liable we are and what we should do. We have had a quote from a company who put the netting up and its for £900 which is what we get in rent per month!! Also we intend to renovate the property in about 12 months time, so that we can move into it, and the roof line will change and this amount of money will be for paid out just for a short period of time.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Do you have insurance?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Just Landlord insurance
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hello Jo - my name is ***** ***** we have a basic landlord insurance. Our tenancy started last February and we need two months notice to get them out, or they have to give us a month. We are concerned about being responsible for a seagull attack as we live near the sea and its all part of the situation down here in Devon.
Are nets common in the area?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
No, not that we've noticed. The property is in Shaldon at the entrance to the river from the sea so there are dozens of seagulls!
Our agent has told us we would be liable if the young child was attacked and we would like to know if this is true, or if this is our legal responsibility.
Well, you could be. It depends. Obviously you are not liable for the actions of a seagull but you would be liable if the property was in a dangerous condition and that was the factor which allowed the seagull to attack the child. To be wholly honest though, liability is not as substantial as he will think. He will swiftly find out that the sum of the compensation does not reflect the value of his child to him. Not everybody considers his child the centre of the world. This issue will come down to reasonableness. A reasonable person would spend a small amount for a safety measure but this is not a small amount. Then it would be a balancing exercise between gain and risk. This is an area affected by seagulls and there would seem to be a remedy. It just comes down to whether a court would expect you to suffer the financial loss. Generally speaking, courts are not in favour of landlords. In the Uk generally we don't like successful people. We much prefer victims who live their entire life blaming somebody else. Can I clarify anything for you? Jo
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The property has a flat roof for the dormer windows out of the roof area, but the property is in good order. The tenant believes that seagulls could nest there but we have not seen any evidence of nesting in the past. Would this reflect on any decision concerning netting or not netting the flat roof.
The reasonableness test does consider factors like that. It is a matter of balancing risk against the cost of stamping out risk and that against the gain.
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