Party wall dispute over damage to £100,000 kitchen reaches High Court

Wiseman Admin2019, LitigationLeave a Comment

The High Court has heard a party wall dispute case following damage to a £100,000 kitchen.

Reiko Stewart is seeking £100,000 in compensation, claiming that her neighbours caused a tilt in their kitchen floor, resulting in damage to handmade cabinets, which subsequently had to be replaced.

Mrs Stewart says that work on a basement extension by their neighbour, Bis Subramanian, created the tilt which then caused extensive damage to fixtures in their kitchen.

The excavation work at the Subramanian household was allowed with the condition that it “must not cause unnecessary inconvenience to adjoining owners”.

Mr Subramanian says that the work on the £10 million home did not cause the slope in Mrs Stewart’s kitchen, and denies liability for the “structural movement” in their neighbours’ six-bedroom home.

The High Court heard that the work at the Subramanian household began in 2014 on a basement that is under their home and most of their back garden. Mrs Stewart complained of damage, and then both parties appointed a surveyor to assess the damage, at which point they both agreed that building work had caused the kitchen floor to sink.

A neutral surveyor then ruled that the Subramanians should pay compensation, including £85,950 in damages. However, the Subramanian’s surveyor withdrew before the process was complete, and their new surveyor claimed that the damage was not caused by the building work.

A ruling by the City of London magistrates was overturned by High Court Judge Rowena Collins Rice, who said that both parties had been “going along with the idea” that the building work had caused the damage.

The dispute will return to a neutral surveyor who will make a determination on the bid for a Party Wall Award.

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