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Patrick H.
Patrick H., Lawyer
Category: Australia Law
Satisfied Customers: 5421
Experience:  Dip Law LPAB - Sydney based lawyer
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I am a housesitter of around 12 years' experience, residing

Customer Question

I am a housesitter of around 12 years' experience, residing here in Brisbane, Australia. I have a good friend (Fiona) who is English and lives in London. At the beginning of this year, Fiona asked if I could 'sit' for her but as I was already booked for another friend in London, I advised her that I knew another sitter (Diane) here in Brisbane whom I could recommend. Diane subsequently flew to London and completed the sit. When Fiona arrived back in London after her trip, I didn't hear from her immediately regarding Diane and if all was well. When Fiona eventually contacted me, it was to say that she'd had to have her bathroom floor replaced, Diane had run up huge power bills, there were stains on her towels, her pot-plants were swimming in water and she had left dirty sheets on the bed! Fiona's expenses amount to around $A600. The replacement of the bathroom floor alone was 210 Sterling.
When I confronted Diane regarding this, her response was that she was on a Disability Pension and no longer working, so how could she recompense Fiona. She didn't even offer to pay the damages over a period. When I wrote to her again, suggesting she should repay Fiona, I received a nasty email advising that she was sending my emails to her solicitor and that if I contacted her again, she would take legal action. She has admitted in one of her emails that her actions were to blame for the state of the bathroom floor. Fiona has all the receipts for the expenses incurred - if we were to take Diane to the Small Claims Court, would we have a good chance of recouping these expenses and how much would it cost to take this action? Because I recommended Diane int he first instance, I feel responsible for her actions. She had the money to fly to London, to spend around 100 Sterling on clothes there and to visit her sisters in Manchester following the sit. I hope I have given you enough information in this case.
Thank you in anticipation
Jan Haines
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Australia Law
Expert:  Patrick H. replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thank you for your question.

Although you did recommend this person, you do not have standing to act for your friend, so cannot pursue a claim against this woman on your friend's behalf.

Your friend could try to pursue a claim herself but if the amount in question is only $600 then it may not be worth pursuing, at least not to the point of litigation, as to pursue this through the courts would likely cost considerably more than the amount in question, and although if your friend were successful, she may recover some of her costs, it would likely be considerably less than the full costs.

That said, if she has provided you with an email which essentially admits to the damage, then it may be that a strongly worded letter, referring to her apparent admission and threatening legal action may be sufficient to pressure this woman into paying for or at least contributing to the cost of repairs, otherwise it may be commercially wiser to simply let the matter go.

I trust the above assists your understanding.

Good luck and please rate my answer.

Patrick

Expert:  Patrick H. replied 1 year ago.

I note you have reviewed but not rated my answer.

Please rate my answer so I can be paid for my time and effort.

I am paid out of the funds you previously deposited, there is no further charge for rating my answer.

Thanks,

Patrick