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Barend B.
Barend B., Legal Consultant
Category: South Africa Law
Satisfied Customers: 1346
Experience:  BLC LLB (Pret) LLM (Augsburg)
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I subrent part of a factory on a smallholding in Pretoria.

Customer Question

I subrent part of a factory on a smallholding in Pretoria. The gent that I rent from rents the building from the smallholding owner. I had a pile of wooden stumps stored close to one corner of the property, quite some distance away from the building. Last year in July there was a veld fire in the area and my pile of wood caught fire.
I run a cabinet shop in one half of the building and the other gent that I rent from is a boatbuilder.
My woodpile was there from the day I moved in which was during October 2013. At some stage last year before the fire a boat on a trailer was parked in close vicinity to my woodpile. Because of the heat from the burning wood the one side of the boat was damaged. He now wants me to take responsibility for half of the damage to repair the boat. That is R25000.00 (half).
I feel it is not my responsibility at all. I was never at any stage since moving in there told that the woodpile lying outside was a problem of any kind.
Your opinion please.
Regards
Jaco Hoffmann
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: South Africa Law
Expert:  Barend B. replied 1 year ago.
Good evening, In my respectful opinion, he is taking a chance. For you to incur liability there must have been an action or omission on your part that caused the damage. You did not place the woodpile next to the boat, neither did you start the fire. There was therefore no action on your part that caused the damage. Was there an omission? Yes, you did not remove the woodpile. But was there a legal duty on you to remove the woodpile? Only if it can be found that there was a legal duty on you to remove the woodpile, would this omission incur liability. Why should you have removed the woodpile? The woodpile was there for a long time, no one had a problem with it, and it did not pose any reasonable foreseeable risk. One should rather ask why did the boatbuilder park the boat next to a woodpile? Because he also did not foresee the risk. His insurance should pay for the damage.Regards,Barend
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
HI Barend
Thanks for the speedy response . Although I am not a legal buff your reply has just confirmed what my gut feeling told me.
Tomorrow when I am going to tell this guy that I am not paying I know the sparks are going to fly and I might even get locked out of the property which will result in this situation turning ugly.
Thank anyway
Jaco Hoffmann
Expert:  Barend B. replied 1 year ago.
Hi Jaco,That is unfortunately what happens. Even though the law might be on your side, he will probably take the law into his own hands and lock you out. But you should have a damages claim against him then. Good luck.Regards,Barend
Expert:  Barend B. replied 1 year ago.
Hi Jaco,
If you were satisfied with my service, please be so kind to rate my answer.
Regards,
Barend