My garage roof has collapsed onto my tenants car

My garage roof has collapsed onto my tenants car

8:12 AM, 9th October 2013, About 8 years ago 34

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I had a call on Saturday from my tenant to say the garage roof had fell in and covered his car in rubble.

I don’t know how this has happened and have never been advised by the tenant that there was any problems with the roof prior to this.

It appears that a couple of the other garages in the block have had similar issues.My garage roof has collapsed onto my tenants car

Ive spoken to the management company who have said that the garages aren’t part of their block insurance, so I’ll have to get the roof fixed myself.

This seems fair … however the tenant has asked who foots the bill for his car which has been damaged???

I’ve never had this issue before and wondered if any readers could help?

Many thanks

Julie



Comments

by Michael Barnes

13:48 PM, 10th October 2013, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Julie Dawson" at "10/10/2013 - 09:23":

[I am not a lawyer]

Julie,

I believe that if bits fall off my house and cause damage, then I am liable.
If I have insurance, then financial liability passes to the insurer.

I'm glad to hear that you have insurance cover for the garage.

Mark is right:
First keep your tennant happy (as far as that is possible).
Second, let the insurance companies sort it out.
The posting refering to tennant's NCD is pertinent, and your tennant may want to talk directly to your insurer.

by Joe Bloggs

21:17 PM, 10th October 2013, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Michael Barnes " at "10/10/2013 - 13:48":

there are defences.

by Puzzler

22:54 PM, 10th October 2013, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "HB Welcome" at "09/10/2013 - 13:30":

I have been in the position of a leak emanating from my flat causing damage to the flat underneath and knowing that I would probably not be legally liable as I was not negligent, I chose to do the repair in the interest of goodwill.

by John Daley

16:55 PM, 11th October 2013, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Joe Bloggs" at "10/10/2013 - 08:35":

The tort does not apply here because there is specific legislation that refers and statute overrules the common law.

S4 of the DPA does apply and the Duty of Care required is that of a competant person not the man in the street. So because the managing agents knew there were problems with the garages Julie will find it hard to mount a defence because the agents, her 'servants', knew there could be a problem and therefore should have inspected to ensure that her garage was OK.

The tenants motor insurance firm will not even take seriously any of these 'not my fault' arguments and go straight to your insurers and collect the £3-5k that this claim will be by the time they are done totting up repairs, rentals, admin etc etc

If the Tenant or anyone else had been injured this would end up as a criminal case. This is the act that prosecutors use most often when tenanats are injured in the property

by Joe Bloggs

0:08 AM, 12th October 2013, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "John Daley" at "11/10/2013 - 16:55":

you say tort does not apply here, but in your post you said that the (tort of) strict liability applies. DPA only applies if there is a breach of repairing covenant and so this would need to be established...chicken and egg! i.e. under s.4 of The Defective Premises Act 1972 the Landlord owes a duty to all persons who might reasonably be expected to be affected by defects in the state of the premises. The duty is to take such care as is reasonable in all the circumstances to see that such persons are reasonably safe from personal injury or damage to their property from a relevant defect. Under s.4(3) the “relevant defect” must constitute a failure on the Landlord to carry out his obligation to the tenant for the maintenance or repair of the premises. Under s.4(2) the duty is owed not only where the landlord knows (whether as a result of being notified by the tenant or otherwise) of the “relevant defect”, but also where the landlord ought in all the circumstances to have known of it. so the collapsed roof must be a breach of the landlords obligation and so no cause of action accrues under DPA without crossing this hurdle. DPA therefore does not establish a liability. The act refers to 'reasonableness', which usually equates to the average person, not a 'competent' person as you indicate. having dealt with inter insurance claims of subrograted rights, i think you are under a misapprehension about insurance companies. agreed DPA is used when tenants are injured in their homes, but then S.11 L&T ACT 1985 will apply thus satisfying the hurdle of 'relevant defect'. where perhaps you are confused is S.11 L&T ACT 1985 does not apply to garages/outbuildings and suchlike.

by Neil Robb

16:46 PM, 12th October 2013, About 8 years ago

Hi

I my experience a roof does not just fall down over night. How old is the garage. Where there signs of rot or damage before the incident if other garages had this defect. And the management company did nothing to inform you of this problem. Then I would hold then to account. Insurance ask for all details of property so why was it not covered by the policy.

John you sound very angry and asking for regulations for landlords are you aware of how much regulations we already have to deal with.

From tenants behaviour, Gas cert, electric Certs, land lord registrations complying with council policy and much more.

a tenant does not pay the law is on there side and after months and some case's over a year you might get it back.

tenants deposit scheme 20 inventory document . Then try claim for damage caused tenant to find out the form had a small mistake on it so therefore up held in tenant's favour

I think landlords use this to inform others and help them with there experience
or to learn.

I wonder how many current regulations your are not complying with at present.

Please remember we all have different level of knowledge and like to hear form more experienced Landlord's

by John Daley

15:51 PM, 14th October 2013, About 8 years ago

Hi Neil

Lets turn this around for a moment. Apologies to Julie for using her case to illustrate a point but I think this post goes to the heart of some of the things that need addressing in the PRS.

If one of your children had been the tenant here and the car was something that you knew to be precious to them, what would your reaction be if they said the garage roof at home fell on my car, it's wrecked and my landlord said "Oh well that was bad luck, nothing to do with me !" I rather suspect almost every reader here would not take this response particularly well.

by Tom Thumb

11:28 AM, 29th October 2013, About 8 years ago

What's the latest on this?

Julie, could you clarify something for me, please?

When your property was rented out, did it state in the 'particulars' that it came with a garage? If so, the letting agent should have been fully aware of its presence. So why are they saying it isn't covered by the building's insurance?

by Julie Dawson

7:58 AM, 30th October 2013, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Tom Thumb" at "29/10/2013 - 11:28":

Hi, I bought the property with a garage and then let it to a tenant with the garage. To be honest i never thought to keep an eye on it as the only person that ever uses it is the tenant. The latest is that the insurance does cover the garage, but our management company for the block doesn't "repair" the garage, they never have and don't have the funds to. We are at a yearly meeting next week so I'm going to bring it up. If an insurance claim was going to go through it would be with my tenants insurance and my building insurance, as he's a taxi driver he doesn't want it to effect his insurance in the future so he hasn't pursued it. I have had the roof secured/made safe so nothing further will fall.

by Tom Thumb

9:51 AM, 30th October 2013, About 8 years ago

Thanks Julie.

Good news that the buildings insurance cover the garages!

Ok, my understanding of the situation - and I'm not a pro - is that IF the garage roof collapsed through being neglected/ lack of maintenance/repair, then the 'owner' (or management company, if the garage is included in their remit) has been negligent through not keeping it in adequate condition. Therefore the 'victim' can make a claim against them for any damage - no question.

But the claimant may well need to 'prove' there was negligence by taking photos of the rotten joists etc. (Unless the owner just accepts liability, of course.)

If, however, the roof had been in a reasonable state of repair and the collapse was caused by, for instance, the strong winds we've just had, then the claimant doesn't have a case of 'negligence' so would have to make the claim against his own insurers. That is not to say that the car owner's insurance won't then try and claim their money back from the garage owner's insurance by targeting the 'public liability' part. Basically - let the insurance co's sort it out.

(Say you didn't 'know' the claimant - they were just someone who parked outside your garage and part of the roof fell on their car(!) - then what would you do? Yes - let them make their claim and you make yours - and let the respective companies sort it out).

It might still have to come to this - you both submit your claims. I doubt you are in a position to 'accept' liability - your insurance company wouldn't be happy with you, and probably wouldn't accept what you say anyway.

I know you want to do the right thing by your tenant, and feel it's unfair he should have to fork out £££s to cover his excess and increased premium , but - really - that isn't your problem. That's the deal we have with insurance companies - we all need to be prepared to cough up the excess should we make a claim - end of.

(Which is precisely what he'd have to do was involved in any other kind of accident.)

I reckon he DOES have a good chance of claiming against your insurer for the full amount, so it might work out fine for him and he gets his excess back.

(Or, should he not manage this, and you are that way inclined, you could - as a gesture - cover part or all of his excess for him.)

Mind you, I suspect there's another issue here! You may need to find out pretty pronto WHO is actually liable to keep the garage in good repair; insurance companies AREN'T willing to pay out to cover poorly-maintained properties or cars. If you drive a death-trap car that has rotten suspension, and it's this that causes an accident, do you think they'll pay up?! Ditto if the house wall that's been crumbling for years finally gives way.

Fingers crossed it's the block maintenance group.


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