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Have I made structural damage to a neighbours property?

Postby jade59 » Mon Oct 18, 2021 12:50 pm

I brought a semi-detached house in October 2020, built originally in the 1930s, so it's pretty old. It needed a lot of work and so we've been working on it since then.

When we purchased the property there were a lot of cracks in the walls (mostly behind wallpaper so we didn't notice originally), the floors are very unlevel (also when taking up the old flooring there was a huge crack in the floor underneath) and so on, so it's not a perfect house.

Yesterday we had a neighbour come round and accuse us of damaging her property. Essentially, she has just found cracks in her house and believes it's because of the work we've being doing on ours, e.g. vibrations from the drills. She said she had a survey done just before we brought the house and there were no issues. From our perspective, our house was full of issues so it seems only natural that hers would have similar problems.

The question is, could it be us? We have done a fair bit of work, we removed a chimney and had to put up a new internal wall that required a structural beam - so drilling into the main house walls. We've also battened out the ceiling in the kitchen and two of the walls (kitchen is one of the rooms that does back directly onto her house) so again - drilling into the walls, and then also put new plasterboard up in the bedroom ceiling and 3 of the kitchen walls and ceiling. We also batted out the bathroom and put new plasterboard up. In the kitchen, we have installed a new kitchen, which did require some drilling into the wall that backed onto hers, but nothing more than probably just having up a frame. The cracks she has found are not in the same room we have done work in - it's the floor above our kitchen, we have done no work in the room opposite hers where she has found the cracks.

It's obviously difficult to know for sure, but just wondering if the work we've done above could have been a cause of the cracks she is now seeing or if it's just a coincidence? Could it ever be proven it was us?
jade59
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Postby stoneyboy » Tue Oct 19, 2021 9:34 pm

Hi jade59
If your neighbour has had such a survey carried out and all was clear it is fairly certain that the blame will end up at your door.
What you do will depend on the scale of the problem, if minor works are needed to put things right then it’s probably better to offer to pay - without prejudice. This will be far preferable to the legal profession getting involved.
Regards S
stoneyboy
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