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Alice H
Alice H, Solicitor/Partner
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 2847
Experience:  LLB (Hons) and 20 years legal experience
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I live in a Terrace house, my neighbour who we share a chimney/roof

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I live in a Terrace house, my neighbour who we share a chimney/roof which was in need of repairs due to damp inside the house in both properties. My neighbour had their repaired already costing GBP5,000. We are due to get our roof part fixed shortly costing GBP1500.
They believe that they were overcharged by roofer and are now asking us to pay half their cost as they said the problem was caused by our roof and unnecessary drain pipe we had to install as the water was not running off fast enough down the end of the pipe on their side ( they have semi detached). Am I legally responsible to pay half the cost, especially when no prior agreement was made between us?
My name isXXXXX and I am a Solicitor based in London. I'm happy to help with your question today.

When was your neighbours work done? What proof do they have of the roof problem they have alleged?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Hi Alex,

Thanks for getting back to me.

The work was done sometime last year. As far as I know they don't have any proof except for the say so of the roofer you carried out the work.

Here is the insert from their letter to me below.

"we were involved in substantial expense in the renewal of a roof beam and renewal of the roof valley at the junction of the house at the front. The damage to our roof was caused by the totally inadequate installation, not carried out professionally, of an unnecessary down pipe and badly installed rain guttering. I think totally reasonable, request that you might contribute to the costs was that we had overpaid for the work carried out.

Alex, also, they are asking us to pay half of some new work they are looking to have done, see below.

"You have gaps where tiles have shifted and the weight of these tiles dropping to the guttering level has caused spreading damp and moss growth on the roof we had sealed a year ago and is distorting the guttering and damaging the party wall between our back bedrooms. we are having the work put in hand. As the new lead lined valley will help remove the damp on both sides our builder is asking us for half the costs and will look to you for the other half. He estimates the work to be in the region of £6,000 costs in total. This work has to be carried out to the benefit of both of us, failing this our roofer will claim the balance via the claims court, which could involve you in court expenses as well."

Am I required to pay anything to the first work they had carried out last year?

Also, am I required to pay anything towards the cost of the new work they intend to have carried out now? Also, can their roofer sue me via the courts for half of the new expense if I have not agreed to the work being carried out as per the message above.
OK understood. Do you accept the suggestion that your misaligned tiles are causing a problem? Also do you accept the suggestion that an improperly installed downpipe has caused some problems?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Alex,


To answer both question - NO.

I have not reviewed the tiles myself to see if this is indeed the cause. I was planning on getting an independent roofer to come to assess the tiles and to verify it is indeed the cause of the problem.

If he says no, and they continue to the work done, am I still liable?


Regarding the downpipe, definitely not. The pipe was installed because of the lack of water clearing. Thus creating an overflow which was causing the water to come down the walls, so the pipe was installed to help channel the water away from the walls.

However, until this is too verified by another roofer I am not accept it.

Dear Wendy

Your neighbour is right suggest that you could be equally liable for repair if your misaligned tiles or improperly fitted downpipe was causing damage to your neighbours property. Such liability would arise under the law of 'nuisance'. However, its entirely down to your neighbour to produce evidence in support of the allegations and the contribution they are seeking. In simple terms if your neighbour is alleging he has suffered some damage then your neighbour is responsible for producing the evidence in support. I suggest that you write back your neighbour to say that you require written evidence in support of the allegations and written estimates of the work that needs to be done. Also the suggestion about the builder making a claim against you is nonsense. The person who engages the builder is the person liable for his charges. If you neighbour engages the builder he is contractually liable for his fees. As you have not engaged the builder or entered into any agreement with him, you will not be liable under the rule of 'privity of contract'.

Hope this helps.

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