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Damage to House from gas explosion originating in neighbours house

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Hi All,

 

Need some advice on behalf of my partners Dad.

 

There was a gas explosion recently in Blackpool and the street that he lived on story here - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-41374322

 

19 - X's House

21 - House that explosion originated from

23 - Partner's Dad's house

 

Some bullet points outlining what has happened so far;

 

  • Explosion occurred
  • Damage assessed
  • 21 is found to be un-safe and needs pulling down
  • 19,21 and 23 have scaffolding erected
  • Cause is found (21mm pipe from house owners side of the meter was connected to a 15mm pipe with a connector and over the years this came lose to the point where gas was escaping, electric kettle then ignited it)
  • 21 is then pulled down

The damage to 19;

 

  • Dividing wall damaged
  • The rear half of the property collapsed
  • Front brick work has been pushed out in certain places
  • Council have decided the structure may now be to unsafe to save

 

Damage to 23;

 

  • Dividing wall damaged
  • Crack in wall from lower floor to the 1st floor
  • Windows and frames have been pushed back into the property
  • Chimney collapsed
  • Some windows smashed
  • Back Garden wall has collapsed

 

The council have come in and removed the remains of 21 and are going to be double bricking the wall of 23 and it will be the new outer wall, they have also sorted all the scaffolding, security, clear up and other parts of the whole operation.

 

19 and 21 both had private renters, 19 was just tenants and 21 was tenants and owners living there.

 

19 and 23 didn't have any form of insurance but 21 did.

 

Council has gone to 21's insurance with the bill and they have rejected it saying that they will only pay for work done on their customer (21) as he hasn't admitted liability nor been negligible, this means that the bill for repair work to 19 and 23 could go to their respective owners to either pay or have put on their property with interest of 8% per year.

 

We just need to know if this is the case I would have thought the repair for all 3 buildings would be covered by 21, like car insurance X crashes into Y and X's insurance pays for X and Y's car etc.

 

I would assume if 21 has been renting out rooms in his ex guest house he would need to have gas safety and boiler certificates every year to prove the lodgings where safe and these haven't been done and therefor this would be considered negligible.

 

I guess what I am asking is how can we get this sorted and what sort of legal action we can take to get this repair work covered by either 21 or their insurance.

 

Sorry for the long post but if there is more information needed that I have missed just ask and I will do my best to provide it.

 

 

Thanks in advance

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If its proven that number 21 is responsible and they have insurance then claim as a third party or take the insurance company to court

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Each properties Buildings Insurance covers explosion damage works, if they have adequate Insurance. If they don't have Insurance, then the technical word is 'stuffed'. As in, by not having Insuranve they have taken the risk to accept a loss might occur and if they want their house repaired they will have to fund it themselves. Locally a house was destroyed years ago with no Insurance and all that was left was the land, which ended up being sold.

 

If any liability is proven against the home occupier of the house where the explosion happened, then the Insurers of neighbouring properties will start litigation to recover any sums paid. But liability is not easily proved and this matter might drag on for years.

 

Others may know more on occupiers versus owners liability. My understanding is that most liability rests with the occupier, as they have responsibility to maintain services, unless they are a tenant, where landlord may be responsible. It is not a straightforward matter and the cause of the explosion would need to be fully investigated, before deciding if any liability was proved and who was liable.


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Cheers for the replies, how could we prove liability ?

 

The gas explosion happened on his side of the meter and they have said the gas must of been leaking for at least a couple of days and a person should have smelt it.

 

Could we use the lack of gas safety certificates with permanent paying lodgers to show neglect to the up keep of the property ?

 

I didn't expect this to be straight forward and had a feeling it could be months / years before it was sorted.

 

The only thing we don't know is who his insurance provider is and don't know how to or if we can ask him.

 

Thanks

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In my opinion, liability might only be decided if this ends up in court and a Judge decides that they have enough information to decide on balance which party was liable. Of course a Judge might say that they are unable to decide which party was liable, because the explosion has caused damage making it impossible to say on balance who was liable. The sum involved including all of the potential costs will cause the matter to be disputed for a very long time.

 

Lack of any safety certificate might not be considered in terms of liability in this situation. How do you know whether the fault only occured recently or the gas bolier was tampered with by someone in the house ?

 

Not sure why it is relevant who this home owners insurers are, as if you sue anyone then you sue the homeowner normally. If they are Insured, then they seek their Insurers assistance.

 

Legal advice is required if any court claim is going to be needed.


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In my opinion, liability might only be decided if this ends up in court and a Judge decides that they have enough information to decide on balance which party was liable. Of course a Judge might say that they are unable to decide which party was liable, because the explosion has caused damage making it impossible to say on balance who was liable. The sum involved including all of the potential costs will cause the matter to be disputed for a very long time.

 

Yeah, I don't know if this is worth taking to court if there is potential of it costing even more the repair bill is going to be in the 10s of thousands by the sounds of it.

 

Lack of any safety certificate might not be considered in terms of liability in this situation. How do you know whether the fault only occured recently or the gas bolier was tampered with by someone in the house ?

 

The investigation team deemed that the explosion was caused due to the gas leak from under the floorboards due to this coupling connector coming loose over time with it being so close to the floorboards, it didn't originate from or around the boiler. There was nothing in either 23 or 19 that contributed to this explosion.

 

 

Not sure why it is relevant who this home owners insurers are, as if you sue anyone then you sue the homeowner normally. If they are Insured, then they seek their Insurers assistance.

 

Legal advice is required if any court claim is going to be needed.

 

Sorry don't know how legal proceedings work, I thought you had to go to their insurer first, from your stand point what do you reckon the likely hood of this being won in court ?

 

Thanks again

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How would anyone responsible for maintaing the house know if the coupling connector was not secure ? If it was hidden under floorboards, no inspection of the boiler weeks or months before would have revealed this, unless there was a gas pressure issue at the time. Perhaps the connector was secured OK until recently and for some reason it loosened causing gas to escape.

 

Perhaps whoever installed this coupling connector is liable ? Why should such a hidden connector ever become loose ? Should not happen.

 

There might be other explanations which I won't go into because this is a real live case. But if told me about a ficticious case somewhere else in the country, I might ask whether any illegal action was being considered by an unknown party e.g deliberate loosening of this connector for a purpose you can only speculate about.

 

Before any legal proceedings, you would have to know who you were going after and what case you were making. You don't know if the home owner or their tenant is liable. The loose connector suggests they were not. So if there is any legal case, it would need to looked at carefully to consider the basis of the claim.

 

Your Partners Dad needs to seek formal legal advice from a Solicitors that has the knowledge to pursue this. It won't be the average Solicitors in your local high street. If he has Home Insurance legal cover, that is worth looking into, what help they can provide. The might have a specialist Solicitors this can be referred to.


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Your Partners Dad needs to seek formal legal advice from a Solicitors that has the knowledge to pursue this. It won't be the average Solicitors in your local high street. If he has home insurancelink3.gif legal cover, that is worth looking into, what help they can provide. The might have a specialist Solicitors this can be referred to.

 

UB, if I read the OP correctly, the houses either side of the one that had the explosion didn't have insurance.

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Did they have Contents Insurance as that sometimes has legal cover as an option ?

 

If you own a property and don't have Insurance then you are self Insuring. Anything happens and you have to find the money. Don't look to a neighbours Insurance if a fire started next door first.


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I'm going to be honest

 

I have no idea of the legal side

 

But after years of going to/semi living in Cleveleys I know the area is big business...

 

Is it worth putting a crowd funding up to repair the house proming some sort of reward (postcard from Blackpool, tour etc)

 

Might not be the best idea but it's one way of fixing things


Please note:

 

  • I am employed in the IT sector of a high street retail chain but am not posting in any official capacity,so therefore any comments,suggestions or opinions are expressly personal ones and should not be viewed as an endorsement or with agreement of any company.
  • i am not legal trained in any form.
  • I have many experiences in life and do often use these in my posts

if ive been helpful kick my scales, if ive been unhelpful kick the scales of the person more helpful :eek:

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Labrat

 

I though the same earlier. A crowd funding campaign, as well as local help. If you have no way of paying to repair a house, because there is no Insurance or legal option, then other options need to be looked into.


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#19 (rented) should have basic LL Buildings Ins but may be not T's contents Ins. It would appear the owner-occupier of #23 had no Ins, pres to save on annual Premium, so he will have to bear all attributable costs until liability can be determined. No-one likes paying for Ins but every householder should be reqd to pay for min Property cover, as per motor Ins with optional extras eg Legal Cover.

How many times after floods, do we learn many Properties had no Ins, putting a drain on local Govt resources?

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Hi All,

 

Thanks for the replies, I have passed all advice on, I was surprised he didn't have insurance myself, I guess it is what it is now and it's a lesson learned.

 

I don't understand myself why you would own a house and not have basic cover, I bought my first house this year and took cover for near enough everything, unfortunately I had to claim within the first month as we had a major leak in the bathroom.

 

Will speak with him about the crowd funding side of things but I doubt he will want to get others to pay for his mistakes.

 

We had a look into the loan route of things too but because of his age and minimal earnings I don't think he would get offered anything.

 

Thanks again

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for No 21 to be liable there has to be a common law tort which means showing negligence or wilful action on their part. There are things that are completely unforseeable and I suspect that this falls into that particular bracket as owner couldnt be expected to know about the dodgy step down connection unless he had it done.

A theoretica; case would be a wild animal running out in front of you and causing you to crash your car. You cant sue the landowner the animal came from because he has no way of controlling the animal and nor can he be expected to. So, you either claim off your own insurance or pay for the damage yourself.

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