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  • FIRST POST
    • Elinore
    • By Elinore 27th Sep 16, 2:59 PM
    • 78Posts
    • 302Thanks
    Elinore
    Completion day Damage to house !!
    • #1
    • 27th Sep 16, 2:59 PM
    Completion day Damage to house !! 27th Sep 16 at 2:59 PM
    We completed at 12.00 - However the seller’s removals had not turned up so they were still camped out in the house.

    As we are not moving in today this was not an issue at all. The agent was aware we were not moving in but the sellers were flapping.

    We then got a call from our solicitors that the seller’s removals had dropped a sofa from the top floor down three floors (it’s a town house with a large garden/ balcony on the roof)

    Apparently it’s damaged every wall in the stair well from the top floor to the ground and smashed a hole though the bottom plasterboard wall where it had gathered quite a bit of momentum.

    The removals have supplied their insurer’s details but have advised we need to claim through ours and then theirs will reimburse.

    We do have insurance on the new house but I am really reluctant to make a claim on a policy that’s less than a week old, has a 250 excess and will affect our claims history.

    OH is legging it down there now to take photos and meet the removals men, get details, names, number and even vehicle registration just in case.

    The sellers are saying its our house, so our problem.... that cant be the case? They damaged it so it must be down to them or their contractors to put it right?
    Last edited by Elinore; 27-09-2016 at 3:01 PM.
Page 1
    • HouseBuyer77
    • By HouseBuyer77 27th Sep 16, 3:05 PM
    • 757 Posts
    • 716 Thanks
    HouseBuyer77
    • #2
    • 27th Sep 16, 3:05 PM
    • #2
    • 27th Sep 16, 3:05 PM
    What did your solicitor say?

    Vendors need to complete with the property in the same condition as exchange.

    Buyer is meant to insure from exchange but I think that's for cases like house burns down and it's not the vendor's fault. This seems like a clear case of the vendor causing the damage, so it's for the vendor to put right.
    • Malmo
    • By Malmo 27th Sep 16, 3:18 PM
    • 695 Posts
    • 514 Thanks
    Malmo
    • #3
    • 27th Sep 16, 3:18 PM
    • #3
    • 27th Sep 16, 3:18 PM
    Take it up with your solicitor - my non-legal opinion is that it's the seller's liability and they incur 100% of the cost.
    • Bonfire Bride
    • By Bonfire Bride 27th Sep 16, 3:25 PM
    • 666 Posts
    • 819 Thanks
    Bonfire Bride
    • #4
    • 27th Sep 16, 3:25 PM
    • #4
    • 27th Sep 16, 3:25 PM
    At least you know that the removal company will cover the damage but I would also be reluctant. However, the property is legally yours and technically it occurred whilst you were owners.


    Could you not pay for the damage to be rectified yourself and then get reimbursed from the removal company? (rather than going though insurance?)


    This way, you have control over the repairs instead of waiting for the sellers to firstly admit liability and secondly, arrange for the repairs.
    Mummy to 2 little boys born in 2013 & 2015
    House on the market for 19 months ....SOLD! ...complete!
    Natalie
    • Guest101
    • By Guest101 27th Sep 16, 3:31 PM
    • 12,052 Posts
    • 11,476 Thanks
    Guest101
    • #5
    • 27th Sep 16, 3:31 PM
    • #5
    • 27th Sep 16, 3:31 PM
    Absolutely no need to claim on your own insurance.


    you have their details, claim it.
    • dgtazzman
    • By dgtazzman 27th Sep 16, 3:39 PM
    • 1,100 Posts
    • 656 Thanks
    dgtazzman
    • #6
    • 27th Sep 16, 3:39 PM
    • #6
    • 27th Sep 16, 3:39 PM
    I wouldn't be getting my insurance involved yet (well, maybe legal advice if you've taken that option). It may be your house, BUT a company representing the vendor has caused the damage and admitted as such. I would be telling the vendor I expect them to pay for the damage (or claim it off their insurance, as I imagine they should still have cover on the place on moving day) and chase up the removal company's insurance.

    If they are unwilling, I'd be seeking legal advice on filing a legal claim against them.

    Would it also be an argument, that as keys had not yet been handed over to you at the moment the damage occurred, the sale had in essence not yet completed?
    • cloo
    • By cloo 27th Sep 16, 3:43 PM
    • 746 Posts
    • 502 Thanks
    cloo
    • #7
    • 27th Sep 16, 3:43 PM
    • #7
    • 27th Sep 16, 3:43 PM
    What horrid luck. I'm sure there are ways you can avoid having to take the pain of this. My brother's brother-in-law bought a place where the pipes burst between exchange and completion, rendering the whole place uninhabitable, but I'm pretty sure they didn't have to deal with all the costs resulting from that.
    • tyllwyd
    • By tyllwyd 27th Sep 16, 5:04 PM
    • 5,322 Posts
    • 4,328 Thanks
    tyllwyd
    • #8
    • 27th Sep 16, 5:04 PM
    • #8
    • 27th Sep 16, 5:04 PM
    Does the vendor have insurance to cover the house after completion of the sale? If they don't, it might not be as simple as telling them to claim on their own insurance. I think you need to talk to your solicitor to find out exactly where you stand.
    • dgtazzman
    • By dgtazzman 27th Sep 16, 6:00 PM
    • 1,100 Posts
    • 656 Thanks
    dgtazzman
    • #9
    • 27th Sep 16, 6:00 PM
    • #9
    • 27th Sep 16, 6:00 PM
    I'd say a great deal hinges on whether the transaction is deemed completed as the vendors hadn't given you access to the keys yet. In any case, they can't and shouldn't just shrug it off as being your problem now, the movers were working on their behalf and if I did damage to somebody's property, I would expect to pay for it...
    Last edited by dgtazzman; 27-09-2016 at 6:04 PM.
    • Cakeguts
    • By Cakeguts 27th Sep 16, 6:13 PM
    • 969 Posts
    • 1,155 Thanks
    Cakeguts
    I don't think you had completed because you were probably buying the house with vacant possession and if the buyers were still camping out in it you didn't get vacant possession. Or if you had completed then there was a breach of contract because the property should have been vacated at 12.00 the fact that is wasn't isn't your fault. Either way the responsibility for paying for repairs are down to the sellers insurance or otherwise and then they claim off the removal men. You can't because you don't have a contract with the seller's removal company.
    • saajan_12
    • By saajan_12 27th Sep 16, 7:48 PM
    • 83 Posts
    • 40 Thanks
    saajan_12
    I'd check with a solicitor whether money transferred but no keys / vacant possession means you had indeed completed at the time of the damage. Either way you're not liable, but it will dictate HOW you sue.

    1) If you had completed, sellers (or their agents, the removals men) damaged YOUR property, so SELLERS are liable.
    2) If you had completed, the removals men were humans in your house who damaged YOUR property, so REMOVALS MEN are liable. You don't need a contract with them for this.
    3) If you hadn't completed when the damage occurred, it doesn't matter to you who did it. The sellers are responsible for providing vacant possession in the same condition as when you exchanged, so you sue the SELLERS for breach of contract.

    If you had completed, I think you can choose No 1 or 2 (not both) as both are valid arguments.

    Whoever is liable, you can choose to sue them or make a claim against their insurance - the latter may be easier and you might not be awarded court costs if you are offered but decline the insurance way, choosing to go to court instead. However I don't think either party can demand you go through your insurance first.
    • G_M
    • By G_M 27th Sep 16, 8:28 PM
    • 37,092 Posts
    • 41,049 Thanks
    G_M
    I doubt you can claim against the removal company, or their insurance, as you have no contract with them.

    You claim against the sellers either
    * for failing to hand over the property at Completion in the same ondiion as at Exchange (or did you Exchange/Complete same day......?)
    and/or
    * for causing damage whilst moving out

    Whether they choose to pay you, orclaim on their insurace, or claim against the removal company is up to them.
    • basil92
    • By basil92 27th Sep 16, 8:47 PM
    • 10,859 Posts
    • 28,156 Thanks
    basil92

    We then got a call from our solicitors that the sellers removals had dropped a sofa from the top floor down three floors (its a town house with a large garden/ balcony on the roof)

    Apparently its damaged every wall in the stair well from the top floor to the ground and smashed a hole though the bottom plasterboard wall where it had gathered quite a bit of momentum.

    Originally posted by Elinore
    Just curious, but I'm having trouble working out how the sofa fell down 3 floors/flights of stairs, 'from the top floor to the ground'?

    Even in a large town house the stairs tend to be in a Zigzag form, but even if not, they will have a landing between each which surely would have quelled the 'momentum' of the sofa?

    ....?
    If you want somebody you can trust...trust yourself


    Basil - Lovely, a sensitive soul with legs designed for the catwalk
    Originally posted by Chopper98
    • Elinore
    • By Elinore 27th Sep 16, 9:22 PM
    • 78 Posts
    • 302 Thanks
    Elinore
    Update.

    OH has now checked in.

    1. Three flights turn out to be one turn from first floor landing to the ground floor so three sets of steps.

    2. It's the bottom wall at the end of the turn.

    3. There is a large fist sized hole through the plasterboard

    4. There are several large gouges and huge dinks in the wall and hand rails

    When the OH arrived their removals had already left. The seller didn't hand over any details and advised she would make arangments to put it right through her sols and the estate agent.

    I can post photos later if you wish.
    • saajan_12
    • By saajan_12 28th Sep 16, 11:58 AM
    • 83 Posts
    • 40 Thanks
    saajan_12
    I doubt you can claim against the removal company, or their insurance, as you have no contract with them.
    Originally posted by G_M
    You probably know more about this than I do, so a genuine question rather than a disagreement: Why can't OP claim against the removal men/company as any other person / company representative you allowed into your home and who damaged it?

    The seller's contract at its core is about what to remove, where to deliver, cost, damage to items.. so how does this cover any damage they cause to the property? Sure, more detailed contracts will often have all sorts of disclaimers / clauses about any damage, but this is unlikely in a verbal or man & van agreement.

    I would argue neither seller nor buyer have a contract with the removals co. that is about damage to the house, so why is there a difference between the seller or buyer being able to sue the removals co?
    • Ithaca
    • By Ithaca 28th Sep 16, 12:18 PM
    • 126 Posts
    • 113 Thanks
    Ithaca
    You probably know more about this than I do, so a genuine question rather than a disagreement: Why can't OP claim against the removal men/company as any other person / company representative you allowed into your home and who damaged it?

    The seller's contract at its core is about what to remove, where to deliver, cost, damage to items.. so how does this cover any damage they cause to the property? Sure, more detailed contracts will often have all sorts of disclaimers / clauses about any damage, but this is unlikely in a verbal or man & van agreement.

    I would argue neither seller nor buyer have a contract with the removals co. that is about damage to the house, so why is there a difference between the seller or buyer being able to sue the removals co?
    Originally posted by saajan_12
    You can sue whoever you like!

    I think the argument is that the removal men have an implied duty of reasonable care under their contract and should therefore make good the damage, and that should be a considerably easier (and cheaper / quicker) process than the legal route.

    They can't just knock lumps out of your walls while moving a sofa and then say "we never actually said we wouldn't knock lumps out of your wall", especially if they are selling themselves as experts in removals.

    So the OP can sue for the damage if they want but the removal firm would be pushing it a bit if they argue it from a contractual point-of-view; so the contractual route is the best approach initially but as noted OP has no contract with the removal firm so it would need to be the vendors who progress the claim.
    • saajan_12
    • By saajan_12 28th Sep 16, 3:50 PM
    • 83 Posts
    • 40 Thanks
    saajan_12
    You can sue whoever you like!

    I think the argument is that the removal men have an implied duty of reasonable care under their contract and should therefore make good the damage, and that should be a considerably easier (and cheaper / quicker) process than the legal route.

    They can't just knock lumps out of your walls while moving a sofa and then say "we never actually said we wouldn't knock lumps out of your wall", especially if they are selling themselves as experts in removals.

    So the OP can sue for the damage if they want but the removal firm would be pushing it a bit if they argue it from a contractual point-of-view; so the contractual route is the best approach initially but as noted OP has no contract with the removal firm so it would need to be the vendors who progress the claim.
    Originally posted by Ithaca
    Maybe I didnt explain clearly: I dont mean the OP can claim under some contract, I mean that neither the buyer nor seller have a contract regarding damage to walls. Anything implying I will make good any damage would benefit the owner of the property whether that is the buyer or the seller at the time of the damage.

    What if it was a neighbour (in a block of flats) whos door got damaged, or a parked car that is dented when the removals men were manoeuvring a sofa into the van.. surely if someone damages my property, I can * sue / claim against them directly, regardless of any contracts with a nearby / prior homeowner.

    As outlined in my post, I agree there is also an argument to hold the seller responsible, but I dont see why this isnt possible (and more options is a good thing?)

    *by I can sue I mean I can sue and reasonably win (given sufficient proof of the damage etc)
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 28th Sep 16, 5:59 PM
    • 12,147 Posts
    • 10,520 Thanks
    AdrianC
    Seems open-and-shut from here.

    It was unequivocally your property at the time. The removal company damaged your property. The removal company's insurance pay the cost of repairing the damage to your property. Job jobbed.
    • Elinore
    • By Elinore 28th Sep 16, 9:02 PM
    • 78 Posts
    • 302 Thanks
    Elinore
    So called the estate agent today, given the run around re handing over the removal men's insurance details. They are just shrugging their shoulders.

    Data protection, apparently.

    I am irritated with my OH as I told him to get the insurance details! To be fair to him he is not a people person and when the seller said she would sort it all out with the removals and deal with it through the estate agent, he took her at her word.

    So we may have just done up like a Christmas Turkey. As we don't now know where the sellers live, we don't know which removals were used or have their details.

    I will speak to our sols if we don't hear anything by Friday as they were notified of the damage, not sure if directly by her or her sols (she's a sol herself at the firm that did her conveyancing)
    Last edited by Elinore; 28-09-2016 at 9:13 PM.
    • Elinore
    • By Elinore 12th Oct 16, 2:23 PM
    • 78 Posts
    • 302 Thanks
    Elinore
    Not much of an update...


    So we have now involved our sols. We were promised contact but its not been forthcoming.


    Our sols have written to the TP Sols - They responded with a 'gesture' of 500 to bring the matter to a close.


    We thanked them for the kind offer but pointed out that this would not cover the works to put the damage right. We reiterated that we are not looking for a cash settlement but the damage actually repaired.


    The TP sols have refused to hand over the removals details and have advised us that currently we will have a wait time of 21 days to have any claim reviewed by them.
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