Finding a solution when neighbour refuses to discuss structural damage

Buildings insurance Insurance

Bryony got in touch with us when her neighbour's reluctance to agree to planned work on their property was giving her cause for concern.


What happened

Bryony put in a claim for structural damage to her semi-detached house. Her insurer said the cause was subsidence, and affected the entire property, not just her half.

The insurer only covered Bryony's part of the property, not the other half that belonged to Jonathan. But he wouldn't discuss the situation with her when she tried talking to him.

Her insurer got expert advice about what to do, and they decided to do work on the foundations of the entire property.

They said that if they only treated Bryony's part of the house, there could be future movement between the two parts. If this happened, it could result in a recurrence of the damage, or even new damage, to Bryony's house. This could also then damage Jonathan's property, who might hold Bryony responsible.

Bryony's insurer spent a long time trying to persuade Jonathan to cooperate with the planned works. They even threatened legal action. But he still wouldn't agree.

Bryony was frustrated that nothing was being done to fix the damage to her property. So he complained to her insurer and then to us.

What we said

We could see that this was a very difficult situation, and needed to get resolved. Joanthan cooperating with the works would be the best solution - the work could get done and keep things friendly between the neighbours. But we didn't think this was likely to happen.

Bryony's contract meant that she was entitled to get the damage to her house repaired properly. But her insurer insisted that their proposed solution was the only viable option.

We decided to speak to the expert that the insurer used and they told us about another possible solution to the problem. This alternative wouldn't need to access Jonathan's property. It would also prevent the subsidence from causing any further damage.

The alternative was more difficult than what the insurer wanted to do, and would cost more. But we had to consider all the circumstances in this situation. So we told the insurer that they would have to take this alternate approach so that Bryony's house could get the repair it needed.