Compensation For Damage Is Not Always The Cost Of Repairs

In Breuer v Leccacorvi 2014 the judge had several matters to consider. One of them was whether the sum payable by a Building Owner to their Adjoining Owner for the damage their works had caused should be the actual cost of those repairs or alternatively the amount by which their property value had diminished as a result of the disrepair.

The Party Wall etc Act 1996 states at 7 (2) that ‘The Building Owner shall compensate any Adjoining Owner’ …..’for any loss or damage which may result’.  Hitherto it has generally been taken by practitioners of the Act that ‘compensation’ is calculated as being the cost of the repair works.

In this case The Adjoining Owner did not undertake the works. The judge took the view that in circumstances where the appointed party wall surveyors were unaware as to whether or not the Adjoining Owner  was going to undertake the works of repair, ‘the award should’ … ‘have been made in accordance with general common law principles on the basis of diminution in value’.

This case was heard in a County Court and accordingly the decision is not binding upon other courts.

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