jade59

Is it likely that the renovation work we are doing has caused structural damage to a neighbours property?

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In October 2020 we brought a 1930s semi-detatched house that needed work. When we brought it, it was full of cracks, mostly hidden underneath wallpaper, plaster crumbling down when wallpaper was removed etc. Most cracks were just from the old plaster, but there were a few bigger ones - including one that you can also see from the outside. When we took up the floor, it had a huge crackin the middle which made the floor higher in the middle.

 

Anyway, since then we have been doing a lot of renovation work. Taken down a chimney and rebuilding an internal wall, putting in steel for structure (just once), then also battening out the ceiling and walls in the bathroom and kitchen. Last week, we also installed our kitchen (which backs onto the neighbours property) so there was a bit of drilling into that joint wall, but nothing more serious that just hanging up a frame.

 

The neighbour at the weekend came round and asked us to take a look at her property - she found a couple of small cracks in her spare room (on the first floor, which joins onto our house) and is accusing us of it being our fault from the work we're doing and I guess, subsequent vibrations from the drilling. We have done nothing yet in the room opposite her spare room, but it is the same side of the house as the kitchen we just installed. She's also concerned that we're causing structural damage from all the renovations, and said that prior to us moving in, she had a survey done and the house was all fine.

 

My question is, could what we be doing actual cause structural damage? The most we're really doing is drilling into the walls and ceilings to put up wood or plasterboard, and I think it probably sounds worse to her than it actually is. But I'm also now concerned that she could accuse us of doing something that is damaging to her house, when we think it's likely just because the houses are old and she's maybe now more aware of what's going on. Our house was in such bad shape it seems unlikely hers wasn't

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Very unlikely, be nice but don’t do anything for her 

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3 minutes ago, SteamyTea said:

Are you/your builder insured?

 

We're doing the work ourselves so no builder is involved. We only have house insurance. 

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2 minutes ago, jade59 said:

We only have house insurance.

Check it, and maybe get extra cover.

Don't mention when your neighbour came around.

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What evidence will she have?

a crack in an old property?

will she have evidence that this wasn’t there before you started?

millions of semi detached houses are renovated.

 

assuming the steel work was installed correctly of course I would just be nice and humour the neighbour.

 

 

 

 

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1 minute ago, TonyT said:

What evidence will she have?

a crack in an old property?

will she have evidence that this wasn’t there before you started?

millions of semi detached houses are renovated.

 

assuming the steel work was installed correctly of course I would just be nice and humour the neighbour.

 

 

 

 

 

Yes basically, just a crack, that i think from what my boyfriend said, looked mostly just cosmetic. She did have a survey done before we moved in and apparently there were no issues, but we have been renovating for a year now and no issues prior to this. She's quite elderly and I believe was concerned we are making structural issues that may devalue her house. 

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Have you seen this survey?

sounds like a good way to pass blame😀

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1 minute ago, TonyT said:

Have you seen this survey?

sounds like a good way to pass blame😀

 

No we haven't unfortunately 

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She’s making it up probably, so you admit to the damage!

 

 

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Why would she have a survey done ..??? Sounds odd … I’d smile and say that you’ve done nothing near that wall and carry on. 
 

And buy her some flowers and say sorry for the inconvenience of skips / dust / etc and when you’re finished she can come round for tea and see what you’ve been up to….

 

In reality, if yours was a knackered semi that you have improved then it’s likely you’ve increased her property value not decreased it. 

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