Fixing the damage to one’s home or property from nearby construction is the responsibility of the owner of the property where the work is being done, a real estate law expert said.
As the pace of construction in the country increases, more property owners are contending with inconvenience and even damage to their own property from nearby projects. Realattorney.com founder Atty. Jojo Perez offered some guidelines for homeowners whose homes or property are damaged by someone else’s construction.
Perez said that who is directly accountable for damage to one’s house, vehicles, or other property depends on the agreement between the owner of the property where construction is taking place and the contractor doing the work.
“In my opinion, the homeowner is responsible for the damage to a neighbor’s property during a house construction except when there is a contract between the homeowner and contractor that exempts the former from any liability or damage caused by the contractor to third party during the construction period,” he said.
“Typically, the contractor is an agent of the homeowner in cases of the construction of the house and other improvements on the property,” Perez explained. “This is the reason why the homeowner is responsible for any damage committed by the contractor during the period of construction.”
Resolving the problem
Perez said the first step is to take pictures of the damage that occurred to document the incident.
The next step is to meet with the contractor and/or the neighboring property’s owner to present the photos and a written explanation of the damage with a request to discuss the solution to it.
“The best form of settlement will be one where the contract or the owner of the property who hired the contractor will correct, restore, replace or repair the damage caused, at his or her own expense,” he said.
Perez cautioned, however, “The common complication that happens is when there is a disagreement between the contractor and the owner who hired the contractor as to who will shoulder the expense required or necessary to appease the owner of the damaged property.”
If no agreeable solution is found, the owner of the damaged property can pursue legal action to seek redress, Perez said. The first step in that process, he explained, would be to have an attorney prepare a formal demand letter.
Perez reminded homeowners that in any incident, documenting in writing the problem and every step taken to resolve it is absolutely vital, not just for legal purposes, but for either the homeowner or the owner of the neighboring property to be able to present a claim for insurance coverage.