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Stuart J
Stuart J, Property Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 27330
Experience:  Senior Partner at Berkson Wallace
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This concerns a neighbour dispute over repairs made to their

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Hi. This concerns a neighbour dispute over repairs made to their property after work was completed on our property. Summation of details. March 2021 We had work done on our property (new render to front and side of terraced house). Work completed in May 2021. Not to our complete satisfaction. Builder agreed to rectify and re-do work and offerred large discount to complete work. We accepted. April 2021 neighbour requested repair to his property front wall, quote "cement & red paint to be removed from facade wall". Builder agreed to do this which involved painting the front left hand side third of the wall. Colour was selected with neighbour (by colour matching) and work completed in May 21. Before and after pictures exist. No difference. Repair was satisfactory. 23 Dec 2021 - Neighbour complained "not happy with colour match / random finish line". We replied and sent the before and after pictures reminding them repair was done satisfactorily, there is no visual change, and this complaint was 7 months after work was completed satisfactorily. We ackowledged the paint had faded and understood their concern. The builder is not contactable but still in business. Mar 2022. Neighbour demands we repair his property. I offer to repaint but state this will not match the weathered existing paint. They do not reply. I am unabe to get estimates from contractors due to it not being my property. 12 July 2022 - We highlight our new development plans via our Architect which is extensive but within planning guidelines. Our neighbours are being obstructive and are using this issue as leverage against us. Do I have to again pay for the repairs that were satisfactory a year ago? If so, do I have to get the whole of the front of the house repainted or just contribute to the right hand side 1/3rd of the front of the house that this issue relates to ? Thank you.
JA: What steps have you taken so far? Have you prepared or filed any paperwork?
Customer: Verbal conversations and emails only.
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer about this?
Customer: No.
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: not at the moment

Hello. My name is***** you for the question.

It is my pleasure to assist you today.

I have been in the legal profession, in High Street practice, for almost 30 years so I have wide range of experience in a great many different aspects of law.

Please bear with me and I will be online and off-line from time to time and therefore, may be delayed getting back to you.

Although I am shown as online, I may be dealing with other people, on the telephone, or typing.

Please be assured that you will receive an email once I have written a reply.

Just Answer is not a chat service, it’s an email reply board and therefore sometimes it will be minutes, sometimes it may be longer, even hours or overnight.

I apologise in advance if you suffer a delay.

Kind regards.

To clarify - you had a builder in to do the work which was not done to your satisfaction - he then redid it which you were happy with -

in the meantime your neighbour asked same builder to repaint his wall etc and now hes not happy with the work done and blaming you - is this correct?

and builder still in business but refusing your calls?

Hello again.

I see that you have not had a chance to get back to me with the information I requested. It would really help me if I had the full background please.

Based on the limited information provided, let me answer you as far as I can at this stage in time.

If this isn’t what you are looking for or doesn’t answer your question, please respond and we can continue this thread until all your queries are answered.

Meanwhile.....

I’m not certain what the problem is with these repairs if they were satisfactory a year ago and all of a sudden they are now no longer satisfactory unless they have deteriorated in some way.

I’m not certain why you had to repair the neighbour’s property.

If the neighbour brings a claim against you then your servant/agent (the builder) is vicariously liable along with you. So you would bring the builder in the second defendant.

Do you have to do the repairs again or pay for them again? You haven’t got to do anything. However the next door neighbour may decide to get it done themselves and take you to court for the cost and then you would obviously have the argument to be decided by a county court judge.

Depending on the nature of the work that was carried out and how old the original paint was, depend on what you had to do and the extent of it. Let’s say the wall was originally painted dark red and it had been there for a long time and it had faded to pink. In fact it was so faded that it really need painting again.

So then along comes you and your builder and for whatever reason you end up having to paint part of it which now looks completely out of place. It would not be unreasonable to expect you to paint the whole wall although the cost of painting and the cost of the paint may pale into insignificance compared to the cost of a court argument.

However the wall was pink and needed repainting anyway so there is an element of betterment so in circumstances like that would not be reasonable for you to have to pay to have the whole wall painted because the neighbour would be getting a newly painted wall as a result of a minor defect at one corner.

Ultimately if the neighbour disagrees it is a matter that needs to be decided by the court.

Thank you for letting me assist you with your legal question. I am glad that I was able to help.

I am not certain whether that answers the question for you or not, but I am happy to answer any specific points arising from this.

It will be my pleasure to help you again either further with this or any future questions you have

Kind regards

Stuart

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Just to add. Builder damaged neighbours property, the external paintwork while completing our work. Neighbour complained. Builder agreed to fix. Neighbour selected colour. Builder selected paint. Builder fixed it. Photos to prove this. 7 months on neighbour complaining. Blaming us. Unable to contact builder, he is still in business we think. Hope that helps.

Our replies crossed. You have a lengthy reply above.

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Thank you Stuart. Interesting reply. This neighbours work was carried out because we made it a part of our contract with the builder to repair any damage caused to our neighbours, if applicable, during his work for us. Our neighbours paint was originally say 5yrs old, I.e. weathered. The neighbour and builder colour matched exactly, agreed the colour and he did a satisfactory repair. As the photos show. However, one year on the paint has faded and looks patchy now. No idea why. Builder chose the paint.
I have offered to contribute to repairs, to be neighbourly tbh. Either 1/3rd of complete repaint cost or cost of repainting area with agreement new and weathered paint would look different. Neighbours stonewalling other than demand to fully repaint house and threaten to block our new development. Unwarranted says our Architect.Just so I am clear. I don't have to repair for the second time, correct?This is about the risk of cost of court case vs second repair cost.And any cost would be for repair only vs new betterment scenario, yes?I feel that covers any lingering thoughts. Thank you so very much Stuart. Hear from you tomorrow now I guess. KR, Andy

 I’m glad to help. I agree with your architect = unwarranted.

It’s not a case of whether you have or don’t have to repair the second time, it’s a case of whether it is reasonable to do so.

As you say, the paint is weathered, it’s five years old are they going to have to repaint it themselves anyway so they’re trying to get you to do that in total for them.

Presumably the cost of whatever they want is under GBP10,000 so it Small Claims Court and you would not normally have to pay the winners costs even if you lose.

I would be inclined to make a part 36 offer.

Let me explain part 36 offer.

It relates to Civil Procedure Rules part 36.

A part 36 offer has to be in the particular format and even solicitors were getting wrong so the government kindly produced this totally compliant form:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/688550/n242a-eng.pdf

The effect of a 36 offer is that if a Claimant refuses what is in the offer and proceeds blindly to court and fails to BEAT the offer, then the Claimant pays all the legal costs from the date of the offer including the defendants costs of the trial and of course their own costs. Bearing in mind that the big costs are at trial a Part 36 offer is a good incentive to settle.

Then, if it gets to court and they fail to beat the offer you have made (I think you need to make a monetary offer rather than a percentage because then there is no doubt over how much you are offering) you can ask the court to award all the court costs and legal costs et cetera et cetera against them from the date of the offer until the end of the trial. If solicitors are not involved, (not worth involving them for this amount of money) make sure you keep a timesheet of your own time and asked the court for it at GBP19 per hour.

I can’t guarantee that you would get the costs but don’t ask = don’t get.

Stuart J and 4 other Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 10 days ago.
Morning Stuart. Do please forgive the somewhat late replies, I did say I was on holiday and my two wonderful young children utterley, rightly, distract me. Thank you sincerely ***** ***** help and advice. With replies like this and the speed you reply you must be very well thought of in your profession. I like the idea of the part 36 offer. I'll keep the powder dry for the moment. I have replied to my neighbour's recent email with a 'I'm perplexed as o wha you want me to do. I've offerred to help with the repait costs, despite the builder repairing (see before and after pics), I need your help to get estimates (i.e. it's not my house so need access permissions etc.) so to move forward, specifically what do you want' The usual reply is nothing for 4-6 weeks (stonewalling) then a repeat of the demand and a 'we await your feedback'... Thank you for prviding me with a legal option to table if required.... Best, Andy

No need to apologise for the late reply. I have the odd day off now and again and I do sleep occasionally. :-)

I would present it to the neighbour as it is “this is all I’m prepared to do so get on with it” and see what the neighbour does and if they decide to take you to court, defend the action.

Kind regards