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What should I do with this neighbour issue?

 
 
Moghyss
 
Reply Wed 13 Jan, 2021 06:19 am
"I have caused a neighbours property accidental minor damage(discolouration) they want the whole roof fixed, I cant afford to fix the whole roof and especially for something of this tiny matter."
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Type: Question • Score: 2 • Views: 184 • Replies: 7
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engineer
 
  2  
Reply Wed 13 Jan, 2021 07:50 am
@Moghyss,
You have to restore the damage. If you damaged a 10x10 section of the roof, you need to repair that. I can't imagine any scenario that you would have to replace the entire roof unless you damaged a major section. You will have to find a roofer that can match the color and style of the roofing material. What you can afford is not relevant to your liability. Arbitration might be what you need here.
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Linkat
 
  2  
Reply Wed 13 Jan, 2021 09:42 am
I say you get your own repairman or roofer and get an estimate. Sounds like he is trying to get a new roof out of you.

Take responsibility for what you did but nothing more.
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maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Wed 13 Jan, 2021 10:21 am
@Moghyss,
This is a classic negotiation. If this goes to court, there is a cost for both you and your neighbor (in risk, time and possible legal costs). It is in both of your interests to keep this out of court. So negotiate in good faith and welcome your neighbor to do the same.

Rule #1 of negotiation is that you need to be willing to walk away. In this case, walking away means letting your neighbor take you to court. Of course, if this happens, you want to document that you are trying to be reasonable because that will go before the judge.

What I would do...

1. Ask my neighbor to come up with a figure (in negotiation, you always want the other person to make the first offer).

2. If the neighbor is being ridiculous. I would say "that's ridiculous" and ask them to name a reasonable figure (from #1).

3. If the neighbors number is in the ballpark of reasonable, I would make a counter offer, with a polite argument of why this is reasonable.

4. If the neighbors number is reasonable. I would accept it. Case closed.

5. If the neighbor is being unreasonable, I would do nothing. Let him make the effort to take it to court. The only thing I would do is make sure I have in writing my attempts to reach a reasonable settlement.

6. Once the neighbor took me to court, I would seek legal help. If it is small claims court (i.e. the number is less then a couple thousand dollars) the legal fees would likely be low. You need a lawyers advice (paid for by the hour). You might not need a lawyer actually present.
Moghyss
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Jan, 2021 11:22 am
@maxdancona,
Hi so if I elaborate a little more, I'm building a 7m*4m concreate garage at the back of my house, I have a corner house and there is a house present behind my house, there is a boundary brick wall which separates my land and his building. When making the brick complex and applying fibreglass, the glue and residue spilt over to the neighbours flat roof. There is no structural damage, only visual discolouration of the felt. The neighbour now wants a full felt replacement which costs around £1,200. I have gotten a similar quote for the full replacement of felt on the roof but I'm not ready to pay for a full roof replacement since the damage has been so insignificant, I will however happily repair it but the neighbour isn't agreeing. Any advice?
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Jan, 2021 11:25 am
@Moghyss,
Get a repair estimate and offer that.
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maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Wed 13 Jan, 2021 11:33 am
@Moghyss,
Ok. The details are interesting, but they don't change anything. Either you are going to negotiate a settlement that is acceptable to the two parties, or you are going to go to court to resolve it.

He has made the first offer - 1,200.

You have made the offer to fix the roof yourself (which gives you negotiating leverage).

Figure out two numbers.
1) The highest amount you are willing to pay (the amount you think you are likely to lose going to court is part of this).

2) The lowest amount he would be willing to accept (the amount that he thinks he is likely to pay taking you court is part of this).

Make a counter offer of somewhere around #2 (you may factor in the actual cost of repairs to you actually offer). Be ready to accept #1 if it is on the table. He he never overs a amount under #1... off to court you go.

Hopefully you will end up agreeing on a figure between the two.
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maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Jan, 2021 01:32 pm
I was just thinking... the ability to pay does matter at least some times.

I do some work with immigrants. A while ago someone asked me to help an elderly woman who was being sued and didn't speak English. So I show up in court at her side. I was there as a translator (and moral support)... not as a lawyer.

But this was a poor old woman with no money and no idea of the process and no legal help. I would have helped her get legal assistance if I had known what I was getting into, but I was kind of caught off gaurd.

The the way the court works is they have a bunch of defendants come in all at once, and the bank lawyer (a lizard in a sharp suit) screws them one by one. So the lawyer comes and starts barking at her in English. She looks at me blankly. I start translating into Spanish. She responds to me that she doesn't understand. I respond with her situation.

The lawyer asks me if I am representing her. I say "yes" (because technically I am). He tells me I am not legally able to represent her. I respond... then you are screwed because you don't speak Spanish and I am all you have. (I am actually laughing at this point).

I explain... "look this woman lives in public housing and scrapes by on food stamps. Unless you want to be paid in food stamps, you are out of luck."

The lawyer is ranting at us. The old lady looks cowed, I am kind of smiling sarcastically The lawyer was really ridiculous, trying to bully her into I don't know what. A couple of time I just said "I am not going to translate that".

Then someone from the court came over. They call the lawyer off... there is a legal form for someone who can't pay their debt. The creditor ended up eating the debt.

The old woman went home happy (and cooked me a very nice meal).


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