Sales News

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Sales News: Protecting yourself and your home

Following the harsh winter, many Britons are now seeing the effects that extreme cold weather conditions have had on their property. Below zero temperatures can have an impact, causing flooding from snow and ice melt to burst pipes and cracked rendering. For many of us, our homes are our most important asset both in value and sentiment. So, with the stakes this high, hiring the right property professionals is important when fixing any winter damage.

 In mid-January 2015, Saga Home Insurance statistics showed an increase in claims by 60%, when temperatures plummeted and icy conditions struck due to the adverse weather conditions. It is not surprising that this can sometimes lead to cases where people have had to make quick, and sometimes rushed, decisions when deploying the services of property professionals – resulting, in some instances, in poor workmanship.

 At Your Legal Friend, we often see professional negligence claims against property professionals following a failure to comply with building regulations and other set standards – failing to complete the job within a reasonable amount of time, or failing to carry out the required works at a reasonable cost or at a standard below par. As a consumer it is important to remember that it pays to take your time and find the best tradespeople for the job.

To try and protect yourself from sub-standard work we advise all homeowners to carry out the following checks before undergoing any sort of home improvement:
• Check the tradesperson’s credentials. If a regulatory body exists for their specific area of expertise then check to see if they should be registered members.
• Do your online research and ask for references from friends, family and neighbours who have had similar work.
• Arrange a meeting with the tradesperson you have shortlisted, ask to see their documentation and check to see if their insurance is up to date. If they are reluctant to meet, or query why you wish to see references, warning bells should ring!
• Keep a snagging list to run through with your contractor and make sure to take photographs and keep a log of everything that is done, or not done, just in case things turn sour. Photographs are a clear record, and will show any damage or poor construction to your home.

Following these guidelines should stand you in good stead, but should something go wrong don’t hesitate to get in touch with a solicitor. If you have suffered financial loss or damage as a result of a property professional’s negligence, you may have grounds to seek legal action. Across the country there are specialist professional negligence solicitors who can offer advice. With many firms you are entitled to a free 30 minute consultation – this will help you to understand the process and the specialist solicitors will be able to advise you upon whether you have a claim for compensation as a result of a property professional’s negligence.

Pic: Shelley Naughton