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Lindsey Christie’s achieves great success in professional negligence case for faulty renovations

A DURHAM doctor who bought a dream ‘barn conversion; only to find renovations on the house were faulty, has won a massive £190,000 compensation thanks to North East solicitors Sweeney Miller Law.

Solicitor Lindsey Christie fought doggedly for more than two years to ensure that her client received support for faulty renovations and the insurance company opposing the claim – which they could have settled with the client initially for £20,000 – ended up paying almost 10 times that amount.

Mrs Christie said: “It’s a lot of money to pay out but I have no sympathy for them and every sympathy for my client. Unfortunately, he had to face a hotly-contested legal battle with an insurance-backed company who seemed intent on raising every possible legal dispute and dragging out the case for as long as possible, despite the misery they were causing my client. Living in a house which needs extensive repairs for two years was very unpleasant for him and I was very pleased to achieve such a great result. The successful finding of professional negligence will enable my client to carry out the repairs needed and get his life back without having to go to court”.

Problems arose when the doctor bought a barn conversion which had undergone extensive renovations by the previous owner. In order to complete the purchase, his mortgage provider requested a professional warranty consultants certificate approving that the works had been carried out to a satisfactory standard and in compliance with building regulations. This certificate, providing the doctor and his mortgage provider with professional warranty cover for a period of 10 years from the date of the certificate. But on moving into the property, Sweeney Miller’s client found there were problems with the roof and guttering and the roof was leaking. The client had the roof inspected by two separate contractors, who confirmed roof repairs would cost in the region of £20k. Initially, the professional warranty consultant company denied liability. Then they requested the doctor provide expert evidence to prove they were liable. The resulting expert report from a building surveyor who reviewed the whole property revealed a large majority of the renovations works had not been carried out to the required standard. The expert identified in excess of £250,000 worth of rectifications works that would be needed. In effect, the renovations work which had been undertaken would largely need to be removed and redone. The professional warranty company obtained their own building surveyors report and eventually conceded that they would be liable for the significant rectifications works but then disputed the amount they would have to pay. They raised legal arguments about whether they should have to pay for the cost of the repairs or the diminution (decrease in value) of the property. Following significant argument about the value of the claim, the doctor eventually settled the claim for £190,000.

Mrs Christie said: “I’m delighted that Sweeney Miller was able to get such a successful result for our client. He had bought what was meant to be his dream home but had been unable to even fully unpack his belongings for two years because of problems with the house. It got to the stage where he dreaded going home and he could not repair it whilst the dispute continued. I am pleased the ordeal is now over for him and that he has the funds to ensure the house becomes the dream home for him that he originally intended.”

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