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tatty

Legal Action Against Landlord Next Door

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Short version:

1. Landlord next door has rented out for last 18 months

2. Ivy grew up from their land in to my garage

3. Rang the landlord and he paid for it to be cleared and organised a roofer for a quote

4. Quote came back at £2000 to repair damage

5. Loss adjuster/landlords insurance company have said it's the tenants fault

6. Tenant says contract states she is to remove nothing from the garden (and you could question why the landlord paid for the ivy to be removed if it was her problem)

7. Tenant moving out this month

8. Landlord texted saying all dealings need to be through his insurance company and they've told him to send any mail

unopened to them

I'm pretty pissed off that he's palmed the issue off and left me having to pick a fight with his insurance company. Is this the norm and can he just pass on a solicitors letter ? He'll be looking to rent out again and I know any disputes have to be mentioned to potential buyers but what about tenants (i'm not going anywhere for a few years).

I'm sure i'll calm down a bit in the morning. :D

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I'd say your action's against him, not his insurance company. So he's the one who should deal with them, not you.

I've nothing to base that on apart from it seems logical

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You should check your own insurance, this usually has some sort of legal cover for this type of thing.

Your lawyers should deal with his lawyers, etc....

You might even be obligated to tell your own insurers. If the roofer injures himself on your property doing

repair work (e.g. falls off garage roof and garden gnome goes up his ass)to damage that your own insurers

haven't authorised, they might decline to cover you if he sues you.

This sort of shit happens.

Edited by DEATH

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You should check your own insurance, this usually has some sort of legal cover for this type of thing.

Your lawyers should deal with his lawyers, etc....

I spoke to my insurer and they said they won't get involved because the growing process will have taken so long and they didn't offer any legal support.

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I spoke to my insurer and they said they won't get involved because the growing process will have taken so long and they didn't offer any legal support.

I'd make sure you get it in writing and maybe complain to the ombudsman seeing as it's free.

If your property has been damaged you'd think they'd help....

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I'd say you deal with *him*. He may have recourse to insurance - but that's his deal not yours.

Not sure how he can pass post to the insurance company unopened. Do they want to read all his Christmas cards and junk mail? If he doesn't open it - how does he know it contains something from you?

Not sure about the degree to which he can "appoint" his insurer as his representative for communication in relation to the matter, though.

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The neighbour forwarding all correspondence on this matter to their insurance company is spot on, as their insurance company is dealing with the matter on their behalf.

It shouldn't be you that is chasing though. Assuming you have insurance, you would ask your own insurance to rectify all the damage to your garage (it is what you pay them for). Your insurance company would then try and pursue all parties at fault for the cost of fixing the damage.

Edited by Squeeky

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It is normal practice that once an insurance company is dealing with a claim, that your forward all correspondence regarding the claim to them, unanswered.

Technically, you don't need to write to teh insurance comapny directly. You can write to the neighbour at his contact address, and it is then for him to forward the relevant items to his insurer - he can, of course, open them, but what he should not do is answer them without the insurer's say so.

Similarly, the neighbour's insurers will have advised him not to discuss the claim with you. If you have anything to say about it, it will need to be in writing, so that your neighbour can forward it to his insurers.

This is all pretty standard stuff, and does no indicate any malice by your neighbour - he is merely complying with instructions from his insurer.

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You need to persue the tenant. They ate responsible for the use of the land and their contents insurer will provide the insurance of occupiers liability.

No, it is the owner's ultimate responsibility. He may pursue his tenants.

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If you want to solve the problem, as opposed to getting monetary recompense, you could try involving the relevant department of the local council, which has powers to intervene in the case of breaches of environmental health legislation and re-charge the owner of the property.

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I agree with Chumpus Rex. Your claim is against the landlord.

One other thing, and maybe C Rex can confirm this, it sounds like he's accepted responsibility of sorts by forwarding the claim to his insurance company. That's something in your favour I think.

I'd read up on the procedure for small claims courts, and then politely go through it. Letter requesting the money, followup if neccessary, final "letter before action" explaining that you will sue if he doesn't pay, then the claim etc.

You need to get all pre-legal action stuff right.. make sure you're sending stuff to the right address and saying the right things in the letter, but it's quite straightforward. Since he's insured there's no reason for it to be hard or accrimonious for either of you.. It's just business. :)

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I'm pretty pissed off that he's palmed the issue off and left me having to pick a fight with his insurance company. Is this the norm and can he just pass on a solicitors letter ? He'll be looking to rent out again and I know any disputes have to be mentioned to potential buyers but what about tenants (i'm not going anywhere for a few years).

I'm sure i'll calm down a bit in the morning. :D

Your insurance company should be helping, I believe, but not 100% sure.

As long as it's worded carefully you could always put up a sign in your garden warning about legal dispute. This would be visible to prospective renters / buyers.

BUT as far as I can tell, you should try again with YOUR insurers before anything else.

Also, the council route.

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Having been through all kinds of hell and eventually winning against my deviant idiotic landlord neighbour...

Yours is correct in using his insurance. Your insurer are behaving badly IMHO. Basically you would normally claim with them and they would have a claim against the neighbour. It sounds like they are saying it's your fault for not sorting this out earlier.

In the mean time, this isn't at the legal stage unless his insurer refuse to pay out and you aren't in dispute over it as such. Yet.

I managed to sell my place despite having an arbitration in progress against my neighbour in progress at the time. I had to be open about it but since all the work had been done it wasn't a bother to the buyers. In my case I had to get the work done as the damage wasn't the sort of thing you could leave hanging around whilst your neighbour tries to find cowboys to do it on the cheap, if at all. Comically, he tried to show the arbitrator a single quote, well under any of the quotes I had got from respectable companies, and which I had found was from a company that had been dissolved a few months' earlier. He'd faked it basically as he had never had anyone out in the first place and always used cowboy mates.

He had a minor claim against me for damage due to a washing machine leak and my insurer said his insurer should contact them. They never did, he just complained about it and kept asking me to pay for months, leaving the poor tenant in a disgusting way. All his tenants left after their contract was up from this point onwards. The final one was in tears the day she arrived and saw that no work had been done as promised, but they were naive enough to sit it out and gradually do things themselves until the tenancy finished. Also turned out he had no insurance and had taken out a non BTL remortgage. He also regularly used it as his home address for his vehicle and other bills, such that we had bailiffs coming around.

My arbitrator is making him pay me a high four figure sum which is just the financial bit he owes me. It doesn't cover the years of problems I had to put up with. He claimed poverty throughout the whole thing despite the fact he owns multiple properties and refused to sell them at any point. I reported him to just about everyone I could but he still has his properties, is paying me a pittance every month, is renting them out, has property companies, and also works as a very bad law secretary or similar.

This is why I am so anti BTL as it stands. I have seen how much someone can get away with of they don't wish to play the game. The banks could have sorted him out. The insurers could have sorted him out. None of them ever spoke to each other as far as I know. They would tell me they couldn't discuss anything due to privacy issues, even though I was telling them he was literally letting the building fall down, had no insurance, and was renting on a BTL mortgage. The council could do little although partially because the various tenants were too scared of being thrown out and the guy was rather sly. No one knew where he lived, just had a delivery address to some multiple occupancy business address a few hours away. Even most agencies wouldn't deal with him in the end!

No one did anything, even after I got a ccj against him when I had won my case and he wouldn't pay even then. Oh yeah, legally it was a nightmare to go through. I had an absolute fool of a 'judge' at some point (or whoever does small claims) telling me we couldn't claim for the many hours spent researching and form filling because it was super easy to make a claim and any five year old could do it. To which my trainee lawyer friend and I, no mug, wanted to punch the twit. He nearly throw the whole thing away.

Oh yeah, this whole process took years even though it was absolutely clear legally that he had to pay. There was no argument whatsoever. But if someone really doesn't want to pay in these kind of disputes it's hellish to make them, especially when they live away from the city where the problem is (he tried to claim he couldn't do it here but only where he lived at one point, which wasted a lot more time). Imagine if he lived abroad.

Landlords need licensing and tenants need a lot more rights. No good landlord has anything to fear.

Sorry. I needed that rant!

Edited by miggy

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No, it is the owner's ultimate responsibility. He may pursue his tenants.

In your opinion based upon what - equity? I can understand why you would think that but the law doesn't work that way. It is the occupier of the land (aka tenant) that is responsible for the use of the land and the damage caused by the use.

Some buildings insurance policies will specifically highlight the fact that the policy does not cover occupiers liabilities and recommend that you take out contents insurance if you want to insure your occupiers liabilities.

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I agree with Chumpus Rex. Your claim is against the landlord.

One other thing, and maybe C Rex can confirm this, it sounds like he's accepted responsibility of sorts by forwarding the claim to his insurance company. That's something in your favour I think.

I'd read up on the procedure for small claims courts, and then politely go through it. Letter requesting the money, followup if neccessary, final "letter before action" explaining that you will sue if he doesn't pay, then the claim etc.

You need to get all pre-legal action stuff right.. make sure you're sending stuff to the right address and saying the right things in the letter, but it's quite straightforward. Since he's insured there's no reason for it to be hard or accrimonious for either of you.. It's just business. :)

The landlord thinks that he is responsible (as do most on this thread) but the insurer knows that he is not, hence the reason why they have correctly declined the claim. It would be helpful if they directed the claimant in the right direction though.

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Having been through all kinds of hell and eventually winning against my deviant idiotic landlord neighbour...

Yours is correct in using his insurance. Your insurer are behaving badly IMHO. Basically you would normally claim with them and they would have a claim against the neighbour. It sounds like they are saying it's your fault for not sorting this out earlier.

In the mean time, this isn't at the legal stage unless his insurer refuse to pay out and you aren't in dispute over it as such. Yet.

I managed to sell my place despite having an arbitration in progress against my neighbour in progress at the time. I had to be open about it but since all the work had been done it wasn't a bother to the buyers. In my case I had to get the work done as the damage wasn't the sort of thing you could leave hanging around whilst your neighbour tries to find cowboys to do it on the cheap, if at all. Comically, he tried to show the arbitrator a single quote, well under any of the quotes I had got from respectable companies, and which I had found was from a company that had been dissolved a few months' earlier. He'd faked it basically as he had never had anyone out in the first place and always used cowboy mates.

He had a minor claim against me for damage due to a washing machine leak and my insurer said his insurer should contact them. They never did, he just complained about it and kept asking me to pay for months, leaving the poor tenant in a disgusting way. All his tenants left after their contract was up from this point onwards. The final one was in tears the day she arrived and saw that no work had been done as promised, but they were naive enough to sit it out and gradually do things themselves until the tenancy finished. Also turned out he had no insurance and had taken out a non BTL remortgage. He also regularly used it as his home address for his vehicle and other bills, such that we had bailiffs coming around.

My arbitrator is making him pay me a high four figure sum which is just the financial bit he owes me. It doesn't cover the years of problems I had to put up with. He claimed poverty throughout the whole thing despite the fact he owns multiple properties and refused to sell them at any point. I reported him to just about everyone I could but he still has his properties, is paying me a pittance every month, is renting them out, has property companies, and also works as a very bad law secretary or similar.

This is why I am so anti BTL as it stands. I have seen how much someone can get away with of they don't wish to play the game. The banks could have sorted him out. The insurers could have sorted him out. None of them ever spoke to each other as far as I know. They would tell me they couldn't discuss anything due to privacy issues, even though I was telling them he was literally letting the building fall down, had no insurance, and was renting on a BTL mortgage. The council could do little although partially because the various tenants were too scared of being thrown out and the guy was rather sly. No one knew where he lived, just had a delivery address to some multiple occupancy business address a few hours away. Even most agencies wouldn't deal with him in the end!

No one did anything, even after I got a ccj against him when I had won my case and he wouldn't pay even then. Oh yeah, legally it was a nightmare to go through. I had an absolute fool of a 'judge' at some point (or whoever does small claims) telling me we couldn't claim for the many hours spent researching and form filling because it was super easy to make a claim and any five year old could do it. To which my trainee lawyer friend and I, no mug, wanted to punch the twit. He nearly throw the whole thing away.

Oh yeah, this whole process took years even though it was absolutely clear legally that he had to pay. There was no argument whatsoever. But if someone really doesn't want to pay in these kind of disputes it's hellish to make them, especially when they live away from the city where the problem is (he tried to claim he couldn't do it here but only where he lived at one point, which wasted a lot more time). Imagine if he lived abroad.

Landlords need licensing and tenants need a lot more rights. No good landlord has anything to fear.

Sorry. I needed that rant!

you haven't said what your damage was. The only indication of nuisance was on your behalf with respect to the washing machine. A one off leak is not actionable, however, a persistent leak is if you knew about it and did nothing. For you to have any liability, you would have to be a pretty poor neighbour.

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